Summary: What is intercessory prayer all about?
Story: I have been asked to speak on Intercessory Prayer today.
If you ever have a preacher that you don’t particularly like – just ask him to come to a Family Service and talk about intercessory prayer.
Story: A friend of mine, Alun Morris once told a story of a very irreligious man, who he knew in Switzerland.
One Sunday he met him going to a confirmation service. And as the man walked in, Alun watched as he bowed his head for a minute standing in front of the altar. Alun was very impressed.
After the service Alun went up to him and said: I didn’t know you were that religious. I liked the way you prayed up there.
The man looked at Alun furtively and said:
Well actually I didn’t pray, I just counted from one to ten.
So what is intercessory prayer?
Richard Foster in his book entitled “Prayer” has this to say about intercessory prayer
“If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer. Intercession is a way of loving others.
When we move from petition to intercession we are shifting our centre of gravity from our own needs to the needs and concerns of others.” (Richard Foster: Prayer p.204)
Story: If you are getting bored of my sermon already - you can blame my Auntie Molly.
Auntie Molly was a Roman Catholic nun – in a closed Benedictine Order.
She habitually used to pray for my father and mother and my sister, Sue, brother Eddie and me.
As my father used to say – and I used to agree – “what a sad waste of a life.”
For 16 years of my life she faithfully prayed for me without apparently any result.
Yet in January 1972 – just a few months before my 17th Birthday, I became a committed Christian.
Auntie Molly’s prayers had been answered.
Today, my sister and I are both committed Christians in part because of Auntie Molly’s prayers.
Story: In 1940, General Sir William Dobbie was appointed Governor General of Malta – at a time when the defence of Malta (during the Second World War) was at its darkest hour.
The Italian forces had overwhelming superiority, both in numbers and firepower.
Malta was the key stop over for the convoys that went from Gibraltar to Alexandria in Egypt. The convoys that kept Montgomery’s 8th Army going.
Yet Malta never fell to the enemy – and for their
courageous stand - the whole island was awarded the George Cross.
Historians still cannot understand why the Italians did not take the island, given its strategic position.
Dobbie, a committed Christian, realised the weakness of his position and that God alone was “his present help in trouble”.
His first “Special Order of the Day”, defining policy governing the defence of the island included the following:
"I therefore call upon all officers and other ranks humbly to seek God’s help and then in reliance upon Him to do their duty unflinchingly.
(A Very Present Help – Sir William Dobbie p. 11-12)
Dobbie was a member of the Brethren – a free church and he was a great intercessor.
I went for a walk on Thursday night with the dogs