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The Mystery of Intercession

Why, at unexpected moments, do I have a profound sense of the Lord’s presence? Why do I wake some mornings with a song of praise and worship running through my mind that seems to have come out of nowhere? Why after times of discouragement does my heart turn back to Christ?

The thoughts are my own. But where have they come from? Am I enjoying this sense of God’s presence because of my own initiatives, or because someone has prayed for me?

Sometimes these thoughts unnerve me. I waver between faith and doubt, somewhere between gratitude and insult.

Do I want to enjoy the presence of God as a result of someone else’s prayers? How can I rely on someone else’s prayers and at the same time acknowledge responsibility for my own relationship with the Lord? Who gets the credit? Who’s in control? What value is there in my own choices if my very consciousness is being shaped by others’ willingness to bow their head before the Father in my behalf?

Then I doubt my doubts. If my own heart struggles with the thought of intervening grace, do I yet understand what first moved my heart to hear and believe? If I am irritated by the implications of grace, what hope do I have apart from the kind of intercession that brought Peter back to faith? (Luke 22:31-32). If I’m focused on being the source of my own goodness, what hope do I have apart from the prayers of people who lift me to the One who has freely given me everything I have? (Ephesians 3:14-21).

Life in Christ is a mystery. We are responsible for our own actions, while being assured that we do not love, obey, or trust God apart from the undeserved prayers and help of the Lord, His Spirit, and His people.

He has made us interdependent on one another, dependent on Him, and hopeless apart from that for which we can take no credit. He has urged us to share in one another’s growth and joy by holding one another up before His throne of grace.

Our flesh longs for merit. Our life depends on grace.

Once the ripples of our questions and the waves of our doubt reach the shore of God’s goodness, they find solid ground. There we realize that virtue is found not in initiating love but in receiving it; not in believing in God, but in believing Him. All that is of merit flows from His favors received– and who knows– to what extent from the prayers of friends, or strangers, in Jesus’ name.

Am guessing I’m not the only one who has such thoughts. Can we talk about?

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11 Responses to “The Mystery of Intercession”

  1. brownsfan1642 says:

    Honesty is always a little unnerving. We want everything to be neatly packaged and easily embraced—or rejected. But, since our God is greater than our imaginations, He constantly deals with us in surprises that catch us off guard. His grace is sufficient—even when I want to go it alone on my own strength. Thanks for honestly wrestling with the mystery, Mart.

  2. hal.fshr says:

    In our discussion on the mystery of intercession, I am reminded of Peter being freed in answer to prayer.

    “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church”(Acts 12:5).

    Yet when Peter actual was delivered from prison through the intervention of an angel, those praying had trouble beleiveing it.

    “And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!…” (Acts 12:13-15).

    Intercession carries with it surprises.

  3. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Morning everyone, Mart i believe exercizing the mind through being transformed into Christ’s image is one of the most rewarding gifts God gives us to recieve.
    Honesty, this is an absolute as far as God is concerned, God knows us, better than we can ever know ourselves, whereby i believe i need to try to be honest with everyone that comes into my life, as well as being honest with myself.
    i believe i need to pray for others continually as the Holy Spirit directs, and then ask the Holy Spirit for His intersession concerning the matter, and i try to always ask for His will concerning the matter to be done, knowing i do not know how to pray.
    One of my desires is when this life is over, that not only will my children know that being a person of integrity, and loving everyone God puts in our lives is the life God desires for us to live, but others will know love for others is the fulfillment of all of God’s laws, being honest is one of the signs of love.

  4. yvetterjh says:

    It does my heart glad whenever I find myself mysteriously in the presence of God. Those times I have not initiated. For it is in those times that I feel that God is thinking of me. It is those personal moments that He feels so intimate. Similar to when you receive flowers by surprise, for no known reason. Flowers on their own are great, but they are even better, when you realize that someone is thinking of you.

    As we know it is sometimes a struggle to walk the righteous road, mainly because of our own trespasses, and during those times my heart needs to be reminded that it is worth it all. When I am being too stubborn to seek the Lord myself, I am glad that He puts it upon someone else’s heart to do it for me.

    Intercessory prayer is something I have linked together with that “insignificant shiver” that comes across your body for no obvious reason. In my mind, I cannot explain it; therefore I attribute it to God’s grace. I imagined that God is anointing me, strengthening me, or providing for me whatever I need, at that moment. Maybe someone is praying for me at that moment. Maybe they see a struggle that is before me that I have yet to know. They send the prayer up, God approves it, grants it, and sends it down in the feeling of a shiver.

    I welcome the prayers of the righteous for it avails much. And I have learned to look for God in the mystery of His being. I believe that there is sooo much about Him that we do not know. I don’t think that we have begun to scratch the surface of how big He is, or how He chooses to operate. So when I think about my big, loving, intricate Father I am thankful that I am even included in His unknown.

    I have tried to map out my own salvation, and walk according to my choices and it did not work. I agreed to let God the Creator who knows all, give me whatever I need to get to where He wants me to go. If that means riding on the prayers of the unknown,or allowing the unknown to ride on my prayers, then I will relax, enjoy the ride, and thank God for the journey.

  5. zionscornerstone says:

    I identify with what you’re saying and this is a great issue to call to the table. I often times feel a joy or song in my heart for what seems like no apparent reason but probably is from the prayers of another. And I too sometimes feel doubtful of whether I should accept this gift or joy given to me. I felt an overwhelming peace and joy when I prayed for a sister in the Lord that I cared for and felt in response a peace and joy maybe from her prayers for me.
    I do know that God wants our response to be positive and accepting of the joy and peace and praise. He gives after all that we may bless others. And The Holy Spirit is the other praying for us(which is the Lord) or it may be the Lord in heaven praying for us. Thanyou for getting me to think about this. God bless you Mart and all of you. -Darren

  6. poohpity says:

    What I like most about this blog is the openness and honesty about our human condition. It really helps other believers to share what we go through so we do not feel alone. When other believers are not honest about doubt, waking with a song in our heart, feeling the warmth of the presence of the Lord and failing then starting over, we feel alone in our struggles. Reading the Bible cover to cover many times, it is written to show us we are not alone in our circumstances it is history that we blow it and God holds out his loving hand to us to help us get through this roller coaster of life with Him in control. We in our finite knowledge have ruined so much of the beauty around us especially to OTHER human beings.

    It would be nice if we were interdependent but so much human trauma has happened people really do not understand the concept. It would also be nice if we would allow people to be themselves. God created each of us to be unique and when we come together we form the body. EACH in our imperfect way come together to have one purpose to point the world to God and not to US. The trouble comes when we look to our selfs and not to God. Easy to say yet hard to do.

  7. daisymarygoldr says:

    Its funny ‘coz I just feel the opposite about Intercessory prayers. It’s a great feeling to know that we are not alone…that we are being prayed for…and we have the unlimited grace of God to lift us up at every stumbling step. After all its not the power of the prayer but the power of God that enables and strengthens our Christian walk. God might choose to answer the interceding prayer in His way. Therefore, the ultimate ‘credit’ goes to God and not the interceding prayer. We are certainly indebted to Christ and the Holy Spirit for their intercessory work in a Christians’ life. We also feel grateful about others praying for us and should use every opportunity to intercede for others. In doing this, not only are we being obedient to the priestly calling (1 Peter 2: 5, 9) but it also allows us to love and care for each other. It is our Heavenly Father’s desire to see His divine love work in us and then permeate throughout the Body to others as well. Otherwise, we will become self-centered/self-focused/self-confident/self-sufficient Christians and this totally defies everything that pertains to ‘Love God and love your neighbor as yourself’!

  8. Aries says:

    I myself believe that there are always somebody praying for us out there. And when we are in the presence of God, we are connecting each other somehow.

    There is a time when I feel overjoy, and praise the Lord. And there is a time when I feel I got to pray for something though sometimes I don’t know what. God works in mysterious way. :D

    Well that what I believe.

  9. infiniti07 says:

    Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
    The apostle Paul tells us that when we place Christ in the center of our lives, his presence is vital within us and He delights in interceding in our lives when we long to have Him influence our lives. As well, if our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ is ignited with our interest in each other, we can know that others will pray for us knowingly for a situation and at other times, lift us up to the Lord who knows everything that occurs in our lives. We can be assured that all those who are in Christ and have a direct relationship with us, will together with His Holy Spirit, work to for the good of those who love Him (Ro 8:28)

  10. bibleteacher3 says:

    Mart, I am grateful to you for this article. I have been wondering about the songs that fill my head when I awake in the morning, and have not been able to determine why they have become such a present part of my awakening everyday. Sometimes they are songs I have not heard or sung for a long time, however, they are always songs of worship. I accept your summary of this special event, and can only comment that I am very grateful to you for helping me to determine that it is a foretaste of glory devine.

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