Intercessory Prayer and the Community of God
By: Nicole Schrader
Prayer. As a kid, I stared up at the ceiling above my bed and talked to God. I had no exposure to the God of the Bible but instinctively I knew I could cry out to Him and He would hear me. I knew He loved me.
We love because he first loved us. I John 4:19 (CSB)
Intercession. My Yiayia was a Christian and prayed in Greek—I’m sure she prayed for me. Our neighbor was a pastor at a non-denominational church and his daughters were my friends in elementary school—they told me they prayed for me. In high school, my Christian friends prayed in early morning Campus Life meetings—after I accepted Christ they told me they had been praying for my salvation.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. James 5:16 (CSB)
Salvation. Throughout my life, whether I was aware of it or not, people loved me enough to pray to the Lord on my behalf. These people of God desired the lost to be found, the blind to receive sight, and the slave to find freedom in Christ. I thank God for rescuing me from the darkness I lived in, the hopelessness I felt, and the sin that defined even my best intentions. He has rescued me from darkness and transferred me into the kingdom of the Son he loves. In him I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14 (CSB) Praise the Lord!
Now, I spend a good portion of my devotions praying for those I love. I tell them I’m praying for them. Sometimes they even ask me to pray for them. Lately, I’ve been bold enough to ask them if I can pray with them. When we pray, we stand together before the One who moves mountains!
What happens when God’s children pray?
…the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. Romans 8:26 (CSB)
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27 (CSB)
Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Romans 8:34 (CSB)
In his book, The Folly of Prayer, Matt Woodley writes—
God is a loving community—Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The Trinity constantly prays, and when we pray we join them…prayer brings us to the center of the Trinity’s redemptive work: the Cross. At the Cross, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit display costly, creative and redemptive love for the world. At the cross, I was reconciled to the Father through the work of the Son in the power of the Spirit who makes me a new creation.”
Woodley concludes the chapter on Prayer as Love with these words:
Prayer is a powerful ministry
Prayer is healing
Prayer is our invincible weapon
Prayer is a countercultural and radical act of love
Prayer is the balm that heals our broken world
Prayer is nothing but love!
(Woodley, Matt. The Folly of Prayer: Practicing the Presence and Absence of God. IVP Books, 2009.)
Prayer is a powerful ministry because we pray to Jesus, our holy Priest/King. Prayer is healing because through it we have access to the Creator of the world. Prayer is our invincible weapon because it connects us to the Almighty Father. Prayer is a radical act of love because we pray to the Lover or our souls. Prayer is the balm that heals our broken world because we pray to the One who sacrificed His life to give us eternal life.
Intercede in prayer for those in your life because prayer is nothing but LOVE!