Summary: Dealing with the meaning of true intercession.
Praying for Other’s
The Power of Intercessory Prayer
Philip Yancey in his book on prayer tells of a young American soldier in Iraq who learns that his wife back home has advanced cervical cancer. Doctors gave a bleak prognosis. In desperation he sent an urgent email to his church with the request that everyone in turn forward his prayer request to every praying person they knew.
The email said, “Pray and forward. It only takes a second to hit “forward.” Please don’t delete this, your prayer can and perhaps will save her life. Please pray and ask everyone you know to pray for the HEALING of Cindy, removal of the cancer in her body so she may enjoy all that life has to offer, and continue to be the wonderful mother to our 5 year old son.”
Yancey goes on to ask, “Does prayer operate like a pyramid scheme – the more people who pray, the more likely the answer? Does a sick woman with who happens to have praying friends stand a better chance for recovery than an equally deserving person who does not?” [Philip Yancey. “Prayer: Does It Make a Difference?” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006) p. 301)
Intercessory prayer is one of those subjects that the more we think about the subject the more we may have to change the way we view praying for others. Tonight I want to deal with three things concerning
“Praying for Others – The Power of Intercessory Prayer.”
First, The Meaning of Intercession
First, let me say that there is a difference between praying for others and real intercessory prayer. While all intercession involves praying for others, all praying for others is not necessarily intercession. You will just have to take my word for it for now, but I hope by the end of the message I will have explained why that is true.
“Intercession, is by nature, where an individual positions themselves between two parties – one with a need and one with the answer – and seeks to bring the two parties together.” [Tom Elliff. A Passion For Prayer. p. 124]
God has given us a biblical pattern for inter-cession in the life of Moses. You may remember that we dealt with some of this earlier in the year (2009) in our study of Exodus (#23) where we examined the elements of effective prayer.
If so you probably remember that while Moses was on the mountain with God a tragic sin was taking place in the valley below. Moses was so long in return-ing that the children of Israel assumed that he would not return. Their leader has seemingly disappeared, and they began to doubt God’s presence and power – which all most defies explanation. The fiery cloud still hung over the camp. They were still eating the manna that God provided every morning. But the people were tired of waiting on Moses.
[During Israel’s stay at the foot of Mt. Sinai, Moses had ascended and descended the mountain numerous times, where he entered into God’s presence to receive instruction. In Exodus, chapters 20-24 he received instruction on how God was to be worshipped. And on one occasion Moses stayed for forty days and nights during which time he received instruction for construction of the tabernacle (Ch 25-31). It was sometime during this period (Israel already had the Ten Commandments) that Israel grew restless.] The Israelites responded by asked Aaron to make them a visible representation of God in the form of an idol.