2014-08-07 - Intercession
Originally Published 1999-04-08
1 Tim 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
The old joke goes, "What do you call 200 congressmen at the bottom of the ocean?" The answer, "A good start." There is something to laugh about there. There is also something to think about, and perhaps even to cry over. Many people decry the failure of moral leadership in our nation. While there is truth to the accusation, the angry eyes and accusing finger might be pointing in the mirror back at us.
We are instructed to pray for all men. Those around us need salvation, encouragement, correction, health and a myriad of other things that we could spend days listing. In short, we all have needs. From the lowest to the highest, our resources are not sufficient to cover all the cracks. If we look at our own lives, not all that closely, it becomes evident to us that we are insufficient in many ways.
A prayer for a better job, a petition for a sick child, spouse or friend, thanks for a financial need met - we can share in all these things. There is a rich blessing in praying for others, or intercession. There are some who are called to the task and others who exchange requests with one or two friends. We have our own prayer ministry for those who have the time and the desire to serve in this way. Even prayer for our own needs is important. While it is true that He knows our needs, He wants us to ask. It is just another way for us to spend a little time with Him. And He loves to pour our His blessings on us.
Mal 3:10-12 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. 11 "Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes " says the LORD of hosts. 12 "And all the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land," says the LORD of hosts.
God literally dares Israel to see if He will not do as He promises to pour out blessings they can hardly imagine on them.
Paul specifically mentions 'kings and all who are in authority'. We blame our leaders for the situations we find ourselves in from day to day. The accusation can be made equally at us if we fail to intercede for these people. In America, we elect many in authority ourselves. They are there by our own hand and we will not support them with prayer. We place them in a position that exposes them publicly to difficult decisions and thorny situations and then complain rather than pray for them. We act surprised or indignant when they turn out to be made of the same dust of the earth as ourselves. The irony is staggering. Whether you agree with their politics or not, if we have any hope for a 'tranquil and quiet life', it is in praying for our leaders. If you don't agree with them or didn't vote for them, I would say it is all the more reason to pray for that leader.
Start by humbling your own heart and pray for the leader who causes you the most consternation. Add others as your time and desire permit. Pray for each member of your immediate family. Hook up with a close friend and exchange a request each. Pick a time when you can pray together - even if you are in different places. Help each other to be consistent. Don't labor over this time, unless you feel the need to do so. You may soon be surprised by the amount of time that flies by in intercession.
Lord Jesus, Give us hearts to be men and women of prayer be it short or long. Fill us with the desire to change our leadership, families and world through intercession. Guard our times of prayer and please help us to be consistent in that time. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.