INTERCESSORY PRAYER

Intercessory prayer invites us into God’s care and concern for us, our families and friends, and the entire world. No concern is too trivial for God to receive with loving attention. However, intercession is not a means of manipulating heaven into doing our will. Rather it is a way we become aware of God’s desires for others.


SCRIPTURE:

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Romans 8:27)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  (Philippians 4:6)

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”  (Ephesians 6:18)


INTERCESSORY PRACTICES INCLUDES: 

  • Participating in prayer meetings.
  • Contributing to prayer lists, prayer chains.
  • Praying for the world, for peace, for God’s kingdom to come.
  • Praying for personal concerns, tasks, transactions and relationships of friends and neighbours.

‘HOW TO” TIPS

  • Treat intercessory prayer as intentional effort and set aside time to pray.
  • Pay attention when people come to mind as it may happen for a reason and talk with God about them.
  • Use a newspaper or a new website to pray for the world.
  • Create weekly prayer lists of people or activities and let God lead you in prayer.
  • Create a neighbourhood prayer chart to help you visualize your neighbours who share your immediate community.
  • Identify serving or retired military personnel to pray for.
  • Make a journal of people close to you and include their photo and some details and commit to pray for them. Enter your prayers under their name in your journal.  

There is hope

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
   Psalm 46:1


Does anyone feel troubled by what is happening in the world? Do others feel that the world seems to be slipping faster into chaos? When we went to bed last night it was very possible that our thoughts were on something senseless that happened near us or to someone in the world.  Violence, which already rules our TV and movies, is filling the hearts and minds of more and more people who respond to any perceived offense with an extreme brutal response. Sadly, there was much cruelty to reflect on before our heads hit the pillow last evening and it may have been difficult to fall asleep without being concerned for our communities.

Trouble followed us out of the Garden and Cain’s hostile response to his brother’s worship is a reaction that has played out time and time again throughout history. As society continues to use the media to trample on individual beliefs. Fanatical components of our communities who, out of misplaced loyalty to a faith, bring suffering to those who allegedly offend them. God’s message to seek Him for strength during times of trouble is the solution to the worries caused by watching the world live. Only He can protect us from the troubling evil that wants to consume us.

It is very difficult to ignore what is happening around us but there is a need to block it out for a few minutes, spend some time before God. There is a need to speak with Him at this moment and be reminded that He offers hope. There is a requirement to bring an unbeliever known to us before God and ask that His saving grace reigns in that person so that they are not overtaken by the evil that is all around us. It is also the time to pray for our circle of believing friends asking God to remind them that He is their refuge and hope.

TOE TAPPER

“And David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets”  1 Chronicles 13:8


When I was young, school dances were popular, yet I never went to one. It was not as if I was not allowed to go, I was afraid. I had danced with my sisters and mother but I’m certain they were not playing waltz’s or even Ukrainian tunes at a school dance. Even if they played those tunes, I still would not have gone because I was afraid; afraid of what people might say. I did not have the courage to commit myself to truly enjoying the music. I liked music and even played several instruments and whenever I heard a tune I liked, I’d tap my toes and sometimes drummed the beat on my lap with my hands. But, I never got up and danced, I never allowed myself to feel the music with my whole being.


Are you, as a declared believer a toe-tapper and not fully engaged in your experience with Jesus?   


Some believers are willing to sit back and watch what others are doing, and even join in a little, but if truth be known, they are afraid to let Jesus fill their being. They are afraid to jump up with raised hands and declare Jesus is their Lord because of what friends, or colleagues or neighbours might think. They are afraid to examine the call of a disciple, the call to be a follower of Christ and take their faith outside their front door and show it to a world eager to dance for Jesus.

With the help of my then girlfriend – now wife, I overcame my fear of dancing. When I have danced, friends have joked they thought they were going to have to come to my aide because they believed I was having seizures when in fact I was experiencing the joy of music. With the help of the Holy Spirit I have found, we don’t need to be bystanders watching others enjoy an experience with God, but we can, like David, let ourselves feel the joy of the Lord.

Are you willing to ask yourself “am I holding back from experiencing God with my whole heart, my soul and my mind?” Would you ask God to release your will, so it can be in tune with His? Will you choose to dance in celebration for the Lord?

DEVELOPING PRAYER LISTS.

Prayer lists are very helpful when seeking to intentionally spend time with God.  They can be developed over the day or the week.  When developing a prayer list, it is helpful to think of our three main prayer focuses.

IntimacyFocuses on giving your love and devotion to God.

  • This type of prayer includes worship, meditation on the Word (pray-reading it), and fellowship with the Spirit.

PetitionAsks for God’s blessing on your personal life and ministry.

  • Pray for a breakthrough in our inner man (heart), circumstances (physical, financial, relational), and ministry, that God’s power would be released through our hands, words, and deeds. 

IntercessionAsks for God’s power or justice. for others: (people, places, strategic issues).

  • Prayer for people and places: Individuals in ministries, marketplace, and government, and for the destiny of ministries, cities, or nations.
  • Prayer for Strategic issues in society: Government (elections), oppression (human trafficking, abortion), natural disasters (hurricanes, droughts), diseases, etc.


When developing a prayer list, it is helpful to understand that there are three main prayer themes.

We ask for the gifts, fruit, and wisdom of the Spirit to be released in each prayer focus:

  • Gifts of the Spirit: God’s power and favour being released.
  • Fruit of the Spirit:  God’s character formed in us or others.
  • Wisdom of the Spirit: God’s mind or the spirit of revelation imparted.

God is seeking you.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day”.  John 6:44 (NIV) 


Many people have heard about heaven and hell. Some don’t know that God only allows those who believe and accept Jesus’ truths will spend eternity with Him. Some don’t realize that no matter how loving God is, some will not be in heaven with Him. God introduces us to Jesus through the nudging of the Holy Spirit who then guides along a path that allows us to understand Him. The Holy Spirit plants thoughts in our minds and sets up circumstances where we can hear about Jesus. If we choose, He will take us on a path that will lead us to become followers of Christ. We are helped on this journey to God if we allow the Holy Spirit into our daily lives.

We can’t do anything to influence God’s decision to offer us the gift of eternity, other than wait as unworthy recipients.  It is by His grace and not our efforts that we are drawn to Him.  God chooses us and the Holy Spirit nudges us with thoughts of intentionally seeking God.  How we respond may negatively affect our eternity, but it will not stop God from pursuing us.

God allows us the freedom to pick and choose our life path, including choosing between the path that leads to Him or one that takes us away from Him. However, His desire is that we all come to Him and until our last breath, He will pursue us. Some have been drawn to the idea of Jesus but do very little to seek or worship Him beyond anything requiring minimal effort. Weekly or bi-weekly attendance at church, occasional conversation/prayer with God, and minimal or no time in scripture will not help the follower know God. These spiritual practices introduce us to Jesus truths. They don’t make God love us more nor give us entry into His family, but through these practices, God’s grace reveals His will and His purpose for our lives.

The topic of what it means to be a Christ follower can be tricky and often leads to difficult conversations. However, it is very important that we think about our relationship with God. We need to ask ourselves some questions about our beliefs, attitudes and behaviours so that we don’t fool ourselves into thinking we made it into heaven only to find out “we didn’t”. There will be a time when God finds us and starts to prompt us to seek Him. We can resist and hold out but when He gets a hold of us and we intentionally seek Him, we won’t worry about where we will be spending eternity, we will know.

ASK (when we pray)

Some scriptures that supports why we should ASK when we pray


Proverbs 10:24, James 5:16, 1 John 5:14-15, 1 John 3:21-22, Psalms 145:19, Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24 and John 14:13.

Also 1 King 3:12 “I will do what you have asked.  I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”

Choose Jesus.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26-27



Scripture tells us that there are things that are detestable to God. Proverbs 16 shares a few: a lying tongue; a heart that devises wicked schemes; a false witness who pours out lies; a person who stirs up conflict in the community to name a few. These actions are contrary to our Holy God. We are told to be holy like God is holy and therefore we should hate those things that God hates. We should avoid a lifestyle that includes these activities and not associated with people who actively engage in these activities. We should choose God before people even if they are our family.

Jesus’ statements in Luke 14 appears extreme; you must hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters. However, please note that He is not advocating hatred. He is asking us how far we are willing to go to be His follower.


Jesus is against all things that offend the Father and so He asks can we be offended by the things that offend God?


Would you leave a job that actively provides a service or product that contributes to the moral decline of our society? Would you walk out of a movie that is full of vulgarity, violence and nudity? Despite your best efforts to share Jesus with your family, would you avoid them if they openly mocked God and purposefully sinned against Him? Jesus does not want us to abandon anyone just because we have a difference in theological opinion, worship style, or even belief. He does challenge us to ask ourselves are we willing to choose Him over everything else.

The Holy Spirit is a significant force in this world affecting the lives of the believer and unbeliever. He guides and encourages those who believe and offers grace to those who do not. He will be with us if we are in a situation where we must choose and so we need to be able to recognize His prompting. Prayer is what keeps that connection open as during prayer we share specifics of our hearts. Without prayer, we will not recognize when God is answering. Without communicating with God, we will not be able to distinguish between coincidence and an answer to prayer.

Prayer is needed in the event that we are faced with   a choice. Jesus wants us to choose Him, but if a scenario ever crops where we think we must choose between family and Jesus, we must pray so we can control our emotions and our tongue and go to God and seek His wisdom. We also must pray that when we are asked, we accept God’s way, no matter how hard it may be. Taking up the cross is not meant to be easy, but it is meant to be rewarding.

Choose Jesus.

A PRAYER TO HELP YOU START

Sometimes we are uncertain what to say to God regarding those around who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Maybe this little prayer can help start the conversation. Identify the name to go in the blank and talk to God about them often.


PRAY FOR THOSE YOU KNOW WHO DO NOT KNOW JESUS AS THEIR SAVIOUR.


Gracious Lord,

I know your desire is that all your creation accept and receive the gift of salvation. Sadly, many don’t accept for whatever reason and I think _________ is one of those who does not believe in the truths Jesus shared. I bring _________ before you now and ask that you convict ________ so that your name is on __________ mind. Holy Spirit, you helped changed my mind about Jesus and I ask that you do the same for __________. Bring someone to _________ so as to help them understand that Jesus, the son of God, came into this world to show how to live it to the full and how to find the Way to God.

Lord, use me wherever you can to help __________ accept you. AMEN

Troubled world

 

How was your week? Was it going well until you read the news headlines that pointed out the many troubles of this world? Were you worried about the cat and mouse game played by two superpowers playing, “intercepting aircraft”? Did a leader’s threats to economically punish an already economical unstable country cause you to wonder, “Will we be next”? Did you have to speak to your child or grandchild about being rude to their friends only to read, that some world leaders thrive on this behaviour? It is very possible that this week you had wondered, “could the world get any worse?”.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 16, we can find the conversation Jesus had with his disciple concerning the future. He knew that within a few days he would be arrested and crucified and wanted to forewarn and prepare them for that event. He told them things would get worse and so, be prepared. Those listening could not help but wonder, “how could it get worse”? They were already living in troubled times under Roman occupation. There were groups trying to overthrow or disrupt the Romans who retaliated in a brutal fashion and no Jew was exempt from their wrath. All knew of the areas in the region where you could walk roads lined with their countrymen hanging from crosses. They were heavily taxed, and economic relief was only a dream. People worked long days without getting ahead and if they dared venture out at night, there were bandits waiting to beat and rob them. As the disciples listened to Jesus suggesting it will get even worse, it must have been difficult to imagine as they already thought life was as bad as it could get.

Many woke today feeling that the world is rapidly spinning out of control and we are helpless to do anything about it but try to survive. It is easy to give up, hide and fear the world we live in. But Jesus said He came not to condemn us or judge us but give us life to the full. He said He can make it better no matter what is happening around us. When he told his disciples about the troubling changes He also offered them hope. The hope that He will keep His promises, including sending a comforter to help us overcome the anxiety and anger associated with the ugliness of the world. The hope that Jesus offers us peace when we gather on Sunday mornings and sing songs that praise Him and when we sit broken hearted by the bedside of an ill relative. He encourages us to accept His offer and to share that hope with others by telling them about our story with Jesus.


The Apostle Paul tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippian 4:6-7.


Jesus ended His conversation that night in prayer. He prayed for the events about to unfold in His life. He prayed for the future of the disciples and He prayed for us, those who will believe without seeing. He clearly sent a message that there is power and comfort in prayer and when we are facing our troubles, we should settle ourselves in prayer.

Despite the trouble people encountered during Jesus’ life, they still found comfort in worshipping God and participating in temple life. That is where our comfort lies, gathering together to worship God, being in fellowship with other believers, taking time to acknowledge God each day and spending time in prayer for each other. Don’t let the troubles of this world rule you but let the Saviour of the world comfort you.

Fig Leaf

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so, they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” Genesis 3:7


Our problem with self-esteem began in the garden immediately following Adam and Eve’s decision to eat the fruit contrary to God’s instructions. Prior to this incident Genesis 2:25 tells us that “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame”. However, as soon as they sinned they were overcome by their insecurities and dressed in fig leaves thinking they could hide their disgrace behind these leaves.

Today, we live in a world where image is pushed as being important. Not only is people’s physical appearance valued but so is worth to the world. It is suggested we must drive the correct car, live in the proper neighbourhood, have a prestigious job, have a trophy wife or husband, and possess all the entertainment toys necessary to show the world we are happy. The pursuit of the world’s image destroys communities, families, and individuals. People struggle to be satisfied with what they have because they are made to feel they deserve more. As such, mental health, financial, and health problems are on the rise.  People try to face the world with a fig leave on in the hope of hiding their secrets. They try to hide that they are constantly angry, have an addiction, are jealous of other’s lifestyles, or maybe have a problem with pornography. They put on an image they think is protected by that fig leaf and play a game where they pretend to be someone else even knowing that their secrets may be destroying their families, their relationships with others, and their mental health.

God helped Adam and Eve with their fig leaf issue and clothed them, protecting them before sending them into the world (Genesis 3:21). He did not give us clothing as an adornment to feed our human vanity and frivolity. He dressed us out of love because he knew our vanities and insecurities would overtake us. He dressed us in protective clothing to remind us that He knows all about us and wants to be there for us. He gave us access to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, so we could talk with them about our fig leaf issues. And, God also gave us each other and reminded us that we should take our insecurities to one another, so we can defeat its negative hold on us. There is great healing value in speaking with someone else who can help you remove your fig leaf so the real you can face the world.

Adam did not spend time in the garden lifting rocks and logs so as to impress Eve with his muscular body and Eve did not think about enhancing her image with high heels, tight leggings or makeup. They were created to be content about who they were to themselves, to others and to God. God blessed us with individual personalities, characteristics, gifts and talents so that we can contribute to the world around us and be a blessing to others. Set aside your fig leaf and be whom God created you to be. “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you” (1 Peter 5:6-11 Message translation)