A Sacred Task
“Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34 NIV)
Our church receives prayer requests from all over the world, which we put onto prayer request cards that are handed out at our prayer meeting each week. As we get ready to pray for the needs expressed in these cards, I always tell the congregation that we have to treat each prayer request as if it were our own. It is a sacred task to join someone in praying for the petition that is on their heart, even if we don’t know the person. God knows them.
Intercession is actually touching God with one hand and touching someone else with the other hand. It is a selfless act, for we’re focusing away from our own problems to lift up someone else before God’s throne. And prayer is work; you have to have fervency, faith, and focus, when you pray for someone else’s need. You may not know every detail of that person’s life, but God is fully aware of the situation and can help us pray for them as if they were our own family member. And here is how solemn this act of intercession is: When we pray for someone, we are joining the Lord in what he is already doing, for the Bible tells us that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for the saints— and that includes you and me as well!
Jesus taught his disciples that they ought always to pray and never give up (Luke 18:1). Why? Because God answers prayer! And it doesn’t depend on how you or I feel when we’re praying for someone. God answers the prayer of faith. Don’t worry about your feelings; instead be concerned about the faith you have as you intercede on behalf of another soul— the faith that God is going to answer the petition of their heart and supply their need.
We also have the assurance, as we pray for others, that the Lord will cover us when we’re in trouble. “Blessed are the merciful,” Jesus said, “for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7). When we bless others, God extends his mercy to us and blesses us. And this is not just for individual believers. God blesses churches that are not just concerned about their own local body or their own denomination, but are concerned and root for and pray for other churches as well.
Let’s follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and lift up someone else in prayer today.
Read Romans 8:31-39.