Intercessory prayer as a daily practice - 9 July 2018

Hennie Symington

 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me … John 17:20

A Christian community that does not regularly engage in intercessory prayers, i.e prayers for others, and for one another will not thrive. For when I pray for others, regardless of how much trouble they cause me or despite my disapproval or even hatred of them, praying for them allows me to see the face of Christ in them. In the face of the pardoned sinner, we see one for whom Christ had died. In the words of the great theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "without facing that reality or truth of our Christian faith, there can be no reconciliation."

One cannot pray enough for the world in which we live. As Christians, we are not strangers to praying for others. In fact, our childlike prayers consisted mainly of: “and Jesus, please bless the those who are not as fortunate as we are, and please bless grandpa and grandma …” and, as we grew older, we prayed for the authorities that rule the land, we pray for the community, and pray for war and strife to cease.

One of the great intercessory prayers in the Bible is that of Moses where he intercedes for the children of Israel at Taberah (Numbers 11:1-3). The name means “to be consumed by fire.” If it were not for the intercessory prayer of Moses the nation of Israel would have been consumed by fire from the Lord as judgment for the people of Israel’s constant complaining. Moses reminds us of the Lord Jesus Christ since he prefigures the “one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus”(1 Timothy. 2:5).

How does intercessory prayer aid us as believers?

Intercessory prayer not only benefits the one who is being prayed for, but also enables the prayer-giver to purify his thoughts. Reflect on your prayer life. Have you ever prayed for anyone with whom you were in a conflict? If so, what happened as a result of your prayer? Did it change the way you thought about that person? Do you regularly reflect on your own motives and behaviour in regard to others? Search your heart and be honest with yourself.

Prayer: Lord, so often our prayer life is centered upon me and my own. How small of us, Lord to think only in terms of our own needs, and how great of you to extend your love and mercy to all of creation. Amen

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