I wrote about prayer before, but I wrote about personal prayer. There is another type of prayer we call intercession, praying on behalf of someone else.
We can intercede and pray for others based on our right standing before God. When we talked about prayer before, we talked about being able to approach God with confidence because of our oneness with Jesus. He is alive in us, and the perfect Son of God can certainly go and speak with His Father.
We may have friends and family who are not saved. They need someone who will pray on their behalf. If you ever want to be encouraged to pray and trust God in prayer, read a biography of George Muller. He was famous for praying and believing for the answers to all of his prayers. He kept a list of people he was praying for to be saved. They all came to Christ. Some took decades and decades, but God answered all of his prayers. Pray from the standpoint of your relationship with God and He will hear you. A good Father would not ignore His own child. We have this great promise in Scripture.
1 John 3:22 (NLT) And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.
When you walk blameless before God (Lesson 61), you know that you are in relationship with the living God. When you are living in relationship, then you are loving God and receiving His love. When you are close to God, your desire is only to love and please Him as He desires. When we pray for others, we need to pray out of that heart of love, love for God and love for others. Not like Martha, who went to Jesus and commanded Him, “Tell my sister to help me!” That’s not how we talk to God. That’s not what we pray for. If we need help, we ask God for it and let Him figure out the best way to get it to us.
When we pray for others, we don’t try to direct their lives. We are not to play God with their lives (or our own). But we can give the people we love to God. We can ask for their salvation if they aren’t Christians. We can ask for help for them. We can ask for the things they need. We can ask for their growth in getting to know God. We can pray for their protection. We can pray for grace and favor on their lives. We can pray they would fulfill all the good works God has prepared for them. We can pray they come to their senses! We can pray what is on our hearts for them, but we need to always give them over to God to care for and not try to take His place in their lives.
We can intercede for ministries and churches. They are run by people who need prayer support. Their leaders are targets of the enemies of God. Pray they overcome temptation. Pray they hear the word of the Lord and have the faith to step out in obedience. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Pray that they would live to please God and not man. Pray that their pure motivation would be loving God and loving others.
You can intercede for nations. Pray for your nation, your leaders. Pray for the laws of your country. Pray for God’s word to spread and for God to be honored and exalted.
1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Pray for all the saints around the world. Pray for perseverance. Pray for God’s true word to be taught in their churches. Pray that God would open their eyes to where they are missing the mark and to bring a revival of righteousness to the nations. Pray for hearts devoted to God alone.
Colossian 1:9-11 We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.
Pray. Pray believing. My personal translation of the end of James 5:16 is this: the person working away at prayer accomplishes lots.
Here’s a bit of Moses’ story to send you off with. God had determined to destroy the Israelites. God had a plan. Moses changed it. Prayer has an impact.
Exodus 32:11, 14 But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?” And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
Some of you have been given the gift of intercession by the Holy Spirit. When God shows you something about someone, it’s to help you to pray for them. It’s not to share with others or to talk to the person about. Pray. Let God deal with it.
Lesson Point: Praying for others is one of our privileges as a Christian. We have the power to impact the lives of others for their good. It’s something anyone can do.
Challenge Question: Is there something you aren’t praying for because it seems unfixable or too big a problem? Ask God to help you find the prayer of faith. You can also ask God to bring to mind anyone or anywhere or anything He wants you to be praying for.