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-- © GodSpeak International 1999 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>
Editors: Paul Cummins

Prayer-School Course #5

A Spiritual Checkup For Intercessors

Lesson 2

Understanding Personal Prayer and Intercession
By Teresa Seputis

What do you think of when you hear the word prayer?

Here are some of the more common answers I get when I ask this question:

What do you think of when you hear the word "intercession"? Is it a subset of the above? Here are some more common answers that I get: Prayer and intercession encompass all of these elements, but

Prayer is NOT just Asking God For Things...
Prayer is Building A Relationship With God

Prayer Means Building Relationship With God

Someone once described prayer to me as a one way phone call.. yeck! They explained that in prayer, we talk to God, tell Him our needs, share with Him the needs of others, etc. How would you like to receive a phone call like that? Where someone calls you, talks at you without letting you get in a word edgewise and then hangs up? You would not enjoy that very much, would you? Do you think God enjoys that type of interaction with us?

Rather, God wants our prayer time to be two-way, to develop a place of intimacy with Him. Look at it like "building a relationship with God." Now, any time we want to build a relationship with someone, this involves spending time with that person. The same goes for building a relationship with God. He is our Heavenly Father. Just like earthly fathers love to spend time with their kids, God enjoys spending time with us. We don't have to be phony or "on our best behavior" to spend time with God.. instead we can be real. He knows what we're like ... and He likes us anyhow!

Romans 8:14-16
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out "Abba Father!"
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are Children of God.

Gal 4:6-7
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

John 15:9-11
9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
11 These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

We have to be practical in how we begin building relationship. I once knew a person who decided to set aside three hours one day to seek God. So he blocked off the time, went to his prayer room, sat down and waited for God to meet him.. and waited and waited. He checked his watch.. only 10 minutes had gone by. The next three hours were the most miserable of his life.. he never knew three hours could take so long and he was never so bored. By the end of his grueling ordeal, he was convinced that prayer does not work. The problem was that he has set too big of a goal.. his expectations and practices were unrealistic.

Hopefully none of you have ever had dates like that! Hopefully you have never had "prayer experiences" like that either. But if you have, put it behind you, draw up a clean slate, and let's start over.

We know that when we first start building a relationship with someone we tend to have shorter meetings and we tend to have well defined activities. Perhaps we start with a brief phone call. Or perhaps we catch lunch or a cup of coffee together and chat briefly, or take in a movie... as we get to know each other, then the relationship builds. There is more common ground and we begin to know how the other person thinks, what they like, what interests them, etc. At some point we become so close that we can just sit and "do nothing" together and be comfortable. Or we grow so close that we can spend hours and hours together and not feel bored or strained or stressed. That is because we put in the time together and build a good solid relationship.

This is how we build relationship with God.. Gradually, spending time together and building relationship. If you have not spent any intimacy time with God before, start with something small and manageable... like maybe 15 minutes twice a day.. and then build from there. Get to know Him, find out what His opinions are on various things (the bible is a great guideline and launching pad). Ask Him questions, invite Him to speak to you about your own life and relationship with Him. Invite Him to show you your misconceptions about God and invite Him to transform you.

In prayer, You don't just talk to God, He talks to you too

God will expose areas of your life He wants to change. He will bring them to the surface and make you aware of them. When this happens, the enemy will try to jump in and tell you that you can't approach God because you are not holy enough. That is just a lie designed to divert you from this process with God. Don't believe the enemy lies. Rather, believe what God says on this topic:

Ro 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Is 43:25
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us form all unrighteousness.

Heb 10:22-23
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled form an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Understand that there is a difference between fearing God and being afraid of Him. Fearing God is a reverent respect for Him, it draws us to Him, makes us desire to do things to please Him. Fear of God drives us to God on His terms, we desire to do things His way. On the other hand, being afraid of God pushes us away from God, it makes us want to avoid Him, to run from Him, to be afraid that His desires for us are unpleasant, etc. We are not to be afraid of God, but we are to fear Him.. to respect Him and desire to please Him and to be willing to do it "His way".

Now, what is Intercession?

According to the Revell Concise Bible Dictionary:

"Intercession, addressed to God, is prayer for another person, usually to obtain God's help. Intercession is embedded in the concept of the priesthood, especially the Role of the High Priest -- Heb 5:1 'Every High Priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins'."

We are admonished to intercede for each other in the NT:

1 Timothy 2:1
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--

James 5:16:
... Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

If we feel called as intercessors, we are in good company, because Jesus intercedes for us. First, His death on the cross was intercession for us:

Isaiah 53:12
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

After rising from the dead, He continues to intercede for us:

Hebrews 7:25
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Romans 8:3
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

And The Holy Spirit Also Intercedes For Us:

Romans 8:26,27
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

So, intercession is "agreeing with God for his perfect will on behalf of others." God reveals His will in two ways:

  1. the bible
  2. the Holy Spirit speaks to us and leads/guides our prayers
From the bible, we know that:

If you are a bit stuck on how to pray for someone, then look to the Bible for God's will for that type of situation and pray that over them. You can never go wrong by praying in agreement with scripture.

However, intercession is also being led of His Spirit to find what He desires to do in a given situation.

So How Do we Pray Effectively? First build that intimacy with God through personal prayer. Also, learn to pray together corporately.

Next week we will look at a model for personal prayer and intercession, and we will also look at a model for praying together effectively.

[Please Note:
This is intended as a discussion series. Please feel free to send your discussion (comments or questions) to prayer-school@godspeak.net. We will have online discussion each week. These discussions will NOT be put on the course WWW page.]

-- © GodSpeak International 1999 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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