Pentecost: Myths About Intercession (Part 4)

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I once had this powerful, provocative dream. I felt compelled to share this with many in my community. They all agreed that perhaps if we were truly moved upon by the Holy Spirit, we would be moved out on His mission. According to scripture, He is the sending agent!

Disclaimer: This isn’t a story or discussion about being “slain in the Spirit” at all, but a dream that is representative of God’s persistent call on my life to move with AND beyond the confines of faith communities and the buildings in which we gather.

Imagine this for a moment. You’ve been praying for an elderly relative of a co-worker battling with cancer whom you’ve never seen. Suddenly you recognize her as though you’ve seen her in a picture. She’s sitting up a few pews in front of you.

Everyone is praying. These images keep happening. Local ministers have come periodically to announce new needs but the people are steadily rotating.

There’s someone whose soul you’ve been praying over for years, then another and another. Suddenly it hits; you are all in a prayer meeting that never ends!

You’ve heard about the Moravians; but this is it come to life, in your own hometown. The place isn’t flooded with people but rather the presence of God. People in smallish groups come and go.

Suddenly you are praying so intently that from a seated position you feel as though you are floating. You are totally conscious but, Boom! You hit the floor and a great light is opening up to you. You feel like maybe this is what Jacob and Paul must’ve experienced.

You realize you’ve been asleep and the thud wakes you up even though you haven’t moved. The lights and images leave. Your eyes are now closed.

Still the voice, not audible but somehow not totally internal, continues. As you hear commands from God to carry out His Great Commission, you have fallen back asleep. Then your spouse wakes you up in the midst of your crying and praying.

Prayer is simultaneously the most important activity we can be involved in and the impetus for more activity.

This is all the more true of intercessory prayer. But what if Intercession isn’t prayer alone?

Sounds: The Clanging of Plowshares

The third myth is that Intercession is only prayer. In fact, it is a type of prayer which is why we have the term intercessory prayer. But this is too small a vision of what biblical Intercession is really all about.

Intercession is not prayer alone!

There can be a tendency to be content praying for the lost without ever reaching out to them. Sometimes we think if we’ve wailed, snotted, crawled, and bawled to the Lord loud and hard enough that God is as content with that as we are.

Silence: Folded Hands Don’t Plow Well

This is how Jesus lived. He prayed often but he followed in obedience with his whole life all of the time! He was and is the advocate.

James is pretty blunt about this in James 2:14-20.  We might not often think of this passage as relevant to intercession but it’s because of our fallacy in thinking intercession is prayer alone.

This is similar to the way we so often misunderstand and misrepresent Worship as music and singing, when really it’s a lifestyle. Prayer is a lifestyle. Intercession is a lifestyle, one that grows as we do in Christ, looking more and more like Him. This is not according to our own standard and measure though.

Symphony: Being Before Doing

Don’t get me wrong! We need more intercessory prayer! We need more prayer.

There are actually false teachers out there who would say we don’t need to depend on God through pray when it’s actually the MOST important thing in our life. Pray for, before, in, and through all things, always, at all times! Don’t shy away from calling that false teaching because it’s contrary, that is against (anti-) Christ.

Jesus teaches differently. He stops and teaches by example how to pray (The Lord’s Prayer). He even used parables to teach about prayer (Luke 18). He never said to rely on yourself or on your title/position. He required you give all that up like He did. We have to stop splitting our lives into Sunday and the week, from pray and worship to work and family.

Here’s an half hour topical sermon by Robert Morris (Gateway church), built on a word study of the word Intercession throughout scripture. He gives some practical helps and stories. He also touches on Trinitarian Intercession.

Can you envision Jesus at the right hand of the Father? He’s not just whispering is He? For God to see Jesus and His righteousness when he looks at us, surely Jesus is doing some gesturing.

I can see Him displaying his scars to the Father. I can hear Him crying out the way He did here on earth.

We must be lifting up Jesus this way. He must be crying through us to the Father. The Spirit must be working through us, recreating, restoring!

Faith in action is where long haul people remain. It is the path we must walk in. Help us to walk in truth, Heavenly Father, by the mighty power of your spirit in Jesus’ name, amen.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. meeshim says:

    This was interesting for me to read as someone who feels called to be an intercessor. I had never thought of intercession as “more than prayer” before. I really enjoyed the Robert Morris sermon about intercession as making an intersection between people and God. Just as Jesus interceded for us by taking action and being that bridge, we also must be a bridge between people and God.

    1. Carey Kennon says:

      James, I have enjoyed all of your articles about Intercession. you emphasize some important points. Prayer is talking and walking with Jesus. And in intercessory prayer, we bring not only ourselves, but others and their needs before Him. We are earnestly asking and expecting His answers, to move and change things according to His will. Everyone can enter into this and should. Blessings to you!

  2. I absolutely agree with you and thanks for sharing this on my blog. You are right about intercession not being prayer alone (funny how our blogs have similar look 🙂 ). I’d love to read more from you. God bless you!

  3. RJ Dawson says:

    Thanks for the visit, James. There is much to be known about prayer in general and intercessory prayer in particular that is otherwise not known. As anything else regarding real Christianity, it depends on real discipleship. As you have stated, prayer, according to Paul in 1st Thessalonians 5:17 must be “without ceasing,” or in other words constant and continual, or in further words, as part of an ongoing life of spiritual discipleship in that prayer is not merely a spiritual action but a lifestyle.

    Prayer has an objective. We should all know that at least someone was engaged in intercessory prayer on Peter’s behalf when he got his get out of jail free card, meaning that if one is given a specific mission of prayer one must pray until the purpose for the prayer is achieved.

    Speaking of James, it should be obvious that not only faith without works is dead, but prayer without faith is also dead. Why pray if one does not believe God will answer the prayer? Faith in prayer is the initial legs of prayer.

    Be blessed.

    1. Thanks for all of that points! I was blessed by you through them.

  4. Good stuff brother!
    We are to pray as we go:
    “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and SENT THEM on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.
    And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore PRAY earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
    Luk 10:1 — Luk 10:2

  5. Pray for, before, in, and through all things, always, at all times! I agree.

  6. greggordon says:

    Brother James,

    As you acutely share that Jesus depended on His Father in prayer constantly, this is the goal of all believers, we are not all called to intercessory prayer continually as some are, but we are called to have a relationship with God in prayer always.

  7. James, nice write-up!

    Ephesians.6:18 emphasizes [all kinds of prayer] and supplication in the (Spirit) which shows us that there are different kinds of prayer including; intercessory prayer, meditation, worship…. to mention but a few. Thus, limiting oneself to only one kind of prayer can be helpful but not as effective as what James.5:16 calls the effective fervent prayer!

    1 Thessalonians.5:17 instructs us to pray without ceasing- meaning: prayer (all kinds of prayer) should become a lifestyle to every believer in The Lord Jesus Christ!
    I am not talking about just praying once in a while, or when in trouble BUT ALWAYS because prayer can be in worship, praise, a song, meditation, supplication…..as led by the HolySpirit! Remember, those led by the Spirit are the true sons of God [Romans.8:14]

  8. ptl2010 says:

    James, The more I read, the more this series of your blogs resonate with me.

    I reckon prayer intercession as pressing in, in prayer … Asking till we receive for He taught “ask and it shall be given you” .

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