Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chapter Eight- Intercessory Prayer

                                                Becoming A Woman Of Prayer-Online Study

Chapter Eight-
Intercessory Prayer
(Becoming A Woman Of Prayer, © Cynthia Heald, June 2005.  Used by permission of NavPress, all rights reserved.

"Make this your common practice; Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with."

How apropos is it that our study today, the day after the presidential election, is on intercessory prayer? On a day when a large portion of the posts, articles and statements made have to do with the celebration or the disappointment with the outcome and the absolutes being claimed for or against our re-elected president, I feel it's very timely. While I don't agree with many of the politics our President supports, I feel no fear because a.) I exercised my right to vote and more importantly b.) I put my hope, my faith and my words, not in a man but in my God and how He commands me to respond and live. In light of any result, Scripture calls us to pray for our government and leaders. This is intercessory prayer. 

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." - 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-2 (NIV)

The Equipped Intercessor. (1)

You may feel like you are ill-equipped to pray for others because you are too "broken" yourself. You may pray more for others that spending time seeking God's face for yourself. God already provides so much through prayer, isn't it ridiculous to think we can only do one or the other? 

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."  -EPHESIANS  6:10-18 (NIV)

Any strength we pray for comes from our God. He reminds us that this is war and He tells us to suit up with His truth, His gift of salvation, His put on HIM for our defense. How does that happen but through prayer...? Praying on all occasions...for all the Lord's people. He covers our brokenness and our failures with His armor He provides. Then asks us to pray for each other. 

The Committed Intercessor. (2)

Paul prayed fervently for the Church as a whole and for specific churches. 

"Paul did not pray that they be spared suffering. Nor did he request that material wealth be added to their spiritual zeal. He said nothing about illness, or healing or better jobs, or any of those things for which we pray and ask others to pray on our behalf. Such requests are not always inappropriate, but we see that Paul considered spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and enlightenment of greater value." 
-C. Samuel Storms (3)

Cynthia points us to John, Chapter 17 where Christ prays and intercedes on our behalf. We've already learned that the Spirit also intercedes for us. Our God himself, is committed to the good work He began in you (Philippians 1:6). Cynthia challenges us to pick a person and commit to pray for them (4)...I would add that you write down each person that God brings to your heart that needs prayer. That can be for prayer for salvation, for wisdom, for strength, for a tangible personal need and pray over it at least once this week and aim for once a week. If this feels too overwhelming, then do this...when God brings someone to your mind...pray for them, right then. When you promise someone you will pray for them, do it right there on the spot. I know I am guilty of promising to pray...then forgetting. I don't want  my words to be false empty promises. God's promises aren't empty...His promises are true.  

Maybe you've experienced a time when someone prayed for you and you were given strength or wisdom or provision that you needed. Maybe you haven't. Are you committed to a body of believers or an intimate group of people that would even know how to pray for you? Do you have people who will hold their Shields of Faith over you in your life? Are you equipped? Are you committed? We've been learning about prayer...are you practicing it? If we believe God's words to be true, if we believe He is capable, why DON'T we pray? 

This weeks challenge: 
Pray, when God brings someone to mind, in real time. 
Pray for our country. 
Find women to connect with and share your heart with people you trust. I was challenged lately that "confessing our sins to one another" is more than just confessing our sins, it's revealing how we struggle, that we struggle and that we are "not ok" when we are "not ok". News Flash: none of us are "ok". We all need Christ. Every. Single. Day. So we pray to gain more intimacy with him and on behalf of each other. 

Lord Jesus, Thank you for making us "ok" before the Father. Thank you for providing an intercessor on our own behalf and for loving us so much to be our Provision, our Sustenance and our Savior. Forgive me for my history of good intentions with no actions. Lead me Lord, to pray for your people, to pray for the lost and the hurting and to offer them over to YOU for YOU ARE GOOD. YOU ARE GOD. Give me the eyes to see the need, hears to hear the the hurts and a heart that gives love and mercy that flows from You! Teach me to be more vulnerable. Teach me to pray and live honestly and openly. To God be the Glory, now and evermore.... Amen

**See the previous post for a schedule for the remainder of this study and a preview into January 2013!

(1-4) Becoming A Woman Of Prayer, © Cynthia Heald, June 2005.  Used by permission of NavPress, all rights reserved. 

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