Many times, I have given you messages encouraging you to pray, but mostly I have encouraged you to intercede for others. Now, whenever I bring this up, I will inevitably receive emails asking, “How do I intercede for someone?” “How do I pray?” “What do I say?”
Well, Jesus actually tells us in the sixth chapter of Mathew’s Gospel!. So let’s take a look and see what we can learn.
“When you pray, go into a private room, close the door, and pray unseen to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you . . .” (Matthew 6:6)
Do see what He is saying? When you pray, don’t show off. “Go into a private room, and close the door.” Now, when you are an intercessor, you are not trying to impress anyone, including your God. There is a secret wrestling with Yahweh like that of Jacob and “some man.” An intercessor reaches out and touches the very face of Yahweh. I can’t explain it, but somehow we, like Elijah, are allowed to become a co-creator with the Most High who hears in secret and reveals His answer before the world.
“[W]hen you pray, do not go on and on, with empty phrases, excessively and strangely like the unbelievers do, they think their verbosity will let them be heard by their deities. Do not be like them.Your prayers do not need to be labored or lengthy or grandiose — for your Father knows what you need before you ever ask Him” (Matthew 6:7-8)
My friends, don’t go telling our Father what He already knows. I continually hear people describing the need, the person involved, what caused the problem. Every detail and person involved. Folks, He already knows all that. He knows what you need far better than you do. He knows what you really want and need. Our example is Jesus, and He often prayed all night, but His prayers were almost always intercession. The one time He asked something for himself in Gethsemane, His Father said no. This is also what happened to Paul when he prayed about his “thorn in the flesh.” What we need to understand is that the secret reward of the intercessor is the fact that they are being used as a channel for the Will of God!
“Your prayers, rather, should be simple, like this: . . .” (Matthew 6:9)
When Luke described this incident, he stated that the disciples had just asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray . . .” And this tells me that prayer is a holy art that we have to learn. It is also a precious gift He has given to us. And this is where we are given what we call, “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is actually a short prayer, it only has roughly fifty-four words in English and even less in Greek. Then, when you get to Aramaic, the original version that Jesus spoke, it may have been even shorter. But amazingly, it is a prayer that is known throughout the world. It covers every human need. It is prayed over meals, baptisms, gatherings of believers, at weddings and even at funerals.
In the “Lord’s Prayer,” the “I” of a prayer of petition becomes an “our” or “we” of intercession. It begins with the family circle and includes the world. There is not a single petition that focuses on self. In ever-widening circles, it embraces all of mankind. Amazing! We are not asking our Father to make us holy or to give us gifts but to use us as channels of His Grace. The Doxology proclaims, “for yours is the power and the glory forever and ever.” It ties everything together for this one purpose.
The amazing power of the “Lord’s Prayer” is its focus on Yahweh and Him alone. This is the miracle of miracles: God asks us to pray for Him! The power of heaven and earth can be shaken when a man looks to God! When Martin Luther looked at God and said, “Here I stand,” the church of Rome trembled! When Wesley looked at God, the world became his parish! When Moody, Edward and Whitfield looked at God, millions were converted!
Do we have the intestinal fortitude to humble ourselves and look to God alone? Are we willing to surrender ourselves to the guidance and infilling of His Spirit? Are we willing to shut out all other voices that will attempt to dissuade us from this task? If we are, we will discover the heart of what it means to be an intercessor, and our lives will never be the same again! Of that, I can guarantee you!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.