Lack of intercessory prayer can also lead to divine reversals. At a dire point in Israel’s history, God looked for an intercessor among them who would “build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so that [He] would not have to destroy it.” But God found no one He could count on that day, so He said, “I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger” (Ezekiel 22:30–31). If God had found an intercessor to stand in the gap that dark day, the future of Israel would have been different. Today, there is no such lack. There is an intercessor who stands in the gap pleading God’s mercy for a sin-ravished world. That intercessor is Jesus Christ, and we stand with Him.
Intercessory prayer is cooperation with God. He chooses to have us cooperate with Him in order to bring His plans for the world to complete fruition. God could bypass us humans if He chose to do so. He is sovereign, almighty, and all-wise. He doesn’t need our permission to act. But He has chosen to bring us in on the process and has prepared us to be intercessors through the work of His Son and His Holy Spirit.
Intercession is not optional. It is of extreme importance. Ole Hallesby is correct in calling prayer “a labor for which there is no substitute in the kingdom of God . . . the most important work we have to do.” Later he underscores the effectiveness of prayer saying, “God takes immediate cognizance, therefore, of man’s prayer in his government of the world. Something does take place as a result of man’s prayer, which otherwise would not take place. In fact, as we have seen, man’s prayer is one of the most effective means by which God directs the world forward towards its goal, the kingdom of God.”
–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend.
Sovereign Lord, You have made a way for one as insignificant as me to join You in Your kingdom work. Because of Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, my prayers matter to You. May I faithfully stand in the gap for those people, situations and nations You place upon my heart…and may I continually be willing to cooperate with You in this divine partnership!
Praise him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before his presence with exceeding joy. Give thanks that God has preserved you through many physical and spiritual dangers. Confess a specific fault that you want God to remove. Commit yourself to courageous endurance in the way of Christ. Ask for undying hope in the Lord and a renewal of strength that you may soar on wings like an eagle, may run and not grow weary, may walk and not be faint (Isa. 40:31).
Ask the Lord to send the power of his Holy Spirit upon all the missionaries of your church and to give them the strength, courage, health, support, and spiritual gifts to be fruitful.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend, is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.