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The Logic of Intercession

I don’t like to think about how many times I’ve told someone “I’ll be praying for you,” before only following through in a token way. And when I have prayed repeatedly for those I really care about– with no apparent results– I sometimes wonder why I don’t seem to be able to touch the heart of God.

All of these uneasy thoughts, however, still leave me wanting to pray more for others rather than less. And even though I admitted in an earlier post that I sometimes am unnerved by the thought that the prayers of others might be the reason for my higher thoughts and better moments, I am grateful for anyone who intercedes with the Father in my behalf. I also think I can see a logic of intercession that goes to the very heart of a relationship with Christ.

I wish you would test my thinking that,

Intercessory prayer is:

A sacrifice of faith especially when we don’t see any results. Could it be that, in those times– when we don’t see any apparent response from heaven– we actually have more of a chance to show our faith in the One who encourages us to pray for one another?

An expression of love even when we are lamenting the fact that we feel so helpless that all we can do is pray. Doesn’t intercessory prayer show that we are not just thinking about ourselves– but about one another– when we quietly, secretly, and sometimes publicly, pray for one another?

An offer of grace especially when we are inclined to thoughtlessly assume that people get what they deserve in life. Isn’t the gospel of Christ rooted in the belief that God wants to give us what we don’t deserve– through the sacrifice of Christ, through his prayers for us, and through our intercession for one another?

An affirmation of hope when those around us are in despair. Doesn’t intercessory prayer rise on wings of hope when it appears that all human options have been exhausted? Isn’t this the moment for which praying for one another means the most?

An awareness of interdependence when those who pray for others are, in turn, those who need the prayer of others. Isn’t such interdependence in prayer what we learn from the life of the Apostle Paul? He asked for the prayers of others (Rom 15:30-32) while also praying that others would have a growing sense of how much God loves them (Eph 3:14-21).

A discipline of endurance especially when we are inclined to think that, if God were going to answer our prayers for others, he would have done so by now. Doesn’t the Bible show that one of the things that pleases God is when his people don’t throw in the towel on their confidence in his love, his wisdom, and his perfect timing?

An anticipation of joy even though for the time being we are weighed down by our concern for others. Doesn’t the Bible show us that in our prayers for others we are asking not just for immediate relief, but for the joy of waiting together on the Lord– to give him a chance to show himself far more faithful, and good, and loving than we ever thought possible?

So now let me ask you. Do you share my struggle with intercessory prayer– and with a lack of visible results– while at the same time realizing that intercessory prayer is deeply rooted in the logic of faith, hope, love, grace, interdependence, endurance, and joy?

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7 Responses to “The Logic of Intercession”

  1. B Murphy says:

    You are spot on. I pray big bold prayers believing they are answered, wondering if I am crazy. With heart felt desire to glorify our Lord, I trust Him to be a good God all the time. My human mind is tempted to doubt and fear and I have to practice the logic of faith, hope, love, grace, interdependence, endurance, and joy.

    My friends say they can feel our prayers because their burden is lighter and easier to bear. I prayed for good health and after three years of asking and believing I am healed. I prayed to be delivered from smoking, it took 8 years but it happened. I prayed for my broken heart to be healed, and everyday new joy washes away the old pain. And we have had those prayers that are answered NO! only to receive an answer better than our little human minds can dream up for ourselves. My friend who was miraculously cured of stage 4 cancer wonders why me?

    God has a great big plan. Prayer puts the plan into action. Trust Him.

  2. hal.fshr says:

    A weekly devotional group of which I am part is studying Philip Yancey’s book, Prayer – Does It Make Any Difference? One thought that stood out to me in the study is that prayer is in the business of changing me more than always giving me the right outomes I have asked for. I think this idea resonates with what Mart has been saying.

  3. Gale L. Jarvis says:

    Good Morning everyone, Mart in the natural world there is no logic to intercesory prayer, but my life is centered around, and in living by faith.
    i believe when a person comes into my mind, that person has been placed there by the Holy Spirit, if i stop and pray for that person, God will reward me, but if i do not, someone else will pray for that person, that person needs help that i do not know about, but God does, and the Holy Spirit is praying for them, and desires for me to care for that person as He does, and join Him.
    Personnally i try to always ask the Holy Spirit to make the intercession for me, because i know i do not know how to pray for a person, or an event, i need the Holy Spirit’s help always in all things, Proverbs 3 : 5,6, is my way of life, continually asking the Holy Spirit to guide me many times every day.
    I know others are praying for me, and the Holy Spirit has shown me to tie the golden rule to every thing in my life, if i desire for others to pray for me, i must pray for others.

  4. drkennyg says:

    I agree that sometimes I pray very short prayers for those I promise to pray for. Lately I have been more aware of this especially when I think of the blessings I have received when I do trust in my Lord and Savior Jesus. I get scared sometimes and wrongfully think I am too much in charge. But when I give it to God it is where is belongs; this does result in blessed relief. There are those I pray for daily and regardless of any outcome (even if I can’t see it) I continue to do so. For example, my girl friend’s step mom died last year, but some of her children are in prison. Even though I don’t know them I still pray that God will touch their hearts and bring them to Christ.

  5. daisymarygoldr says:

    Ever wondered how Abraham might have felt when God destroyed Sodom…how David might have felt when God did not spare his baby boy…or Jesus Himself might have felt when the Father chose not to remove the cup He had to drink??? As Christians we do enjoy the privilege of ‘talking things out’ with our heavenly Father but we certainly cannot manipulate His will…we simply conform to it(Matt 6:10). The down side to being grown-ups is the lack of simple faith and the abundance of logic.
    Here is a cute one: A Kindergarten teacher asked one little girl what she was drawing. The girl replied,”I’m drawing God” to which the teacher replied, “But no one knows what God looks like.” Without missing a beat, the girl replied, “They will in a minute.”
    So, yes we do struggle with the results of prayer or the lack of it but we also relish every moment we get to pray(with a mature spiritual understanding) allowing God to shape within us a character rooted in faith, hope, love, grace, interdependence, endurance, and joy which is the measure of the full stature of Christ!

  6. angelamckelvey says:

    I’ve been praying for two years for a man whose face I’ve not seen in over a year. Praying for God to change his heart. Praying for God to bring him back to the fold. Praying for God to break down the walls behind which he has become trapped. The man is my husband. I intend to continue praying…continue believing…and continue trusting until God answers my prayers. His answer will always be better than anything I might come up with. I agree with Dale Jarvis–in the natural realm intercession makes no sense. But when what goes on in the spiritual realm becomes reality in the natural realm…oh, what a day that will be. God has heard every word and caught every tear. I expect His answer to come every morning!

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