As we begin to look at prayer as intercession I want to begin once again with the foundation of all prayer: relationship.
The reason why I want to so clearly emphasize the importance of God as one with who we are in relationship is this: God is NOT some divine genie in a bottle who grants things to us. Most people know this and yet often prayers can become simply a sort of spiritual shopping list. When that happens we are moving towards treating the uncreated, eternal, glorious Father as a genie. The term ‘genie’ actually comes out of Islamic mythology and has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity.
When we speak of prayer as intercession we must always understand it in the context of speaking to the Lord, the living God of all creation. Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord have a personal relationship with Him; however even for those who have not yet chosen to follow Jesus, there is a dimension of relationship in prayer, since God is a living Father in heaven. When a person in a dire circumstance suddenly cries out ‘help God’, that prayer is heard by God who is alive and thus there is a relational component even to cry of the unbeliever!
I strongly encourage a relational posture when we intercede for someone else or an important circumstance. God already knows the need and in far greater detail than we do. We are not informing him of anything that he is not aware of. God has called us to intercession for two primary reasons:
- He wants relationship with us. He desires us to recognize our dependance on him and to understand that he is our Father in Heaven who loves to provide and give good gifts to his children.
- He wants to partner with us in the establishment of his Kingdom on earth. God could very easily act and respond to our needs without intercession but he has invited us to have a vital role in his Kingdom. Not only does he enjoy hearing our voice, he wants to act in cooperation with us. Scripture teaches that there are things that God wants to do and give to us, but he waits for us to ask. There really are things that in the divine economy we go without because we have not come before God and asked!
When we begin to understand these two aspects of prayer as intercession it changes how we pray. Coming before God who loves us, is eager to help us and give us good things is radically different than trying to pray when you picture God as distant, silent, potentially angry or irritable.
I want to challenge you to consider how you view God. What kind of ‘picture’ or mental understanding do you have of God when you pray? (Be honest with yourself; there is not benefit to offering ‘sunday school’ answers!)
Do you have a picture of a heavenly Father who enjoys the sound of your voice and is eager to partner with you in releasing his Kingdom on the earth? As we grow in this understanding it will significantly change the our intercessory prayer times.
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