Intercessory prayer

By Dave Henning / September 24, 2016

“Intercessory prayer . . . acknowledges our inability and God’s ability.  We come with empty hands but high hopes.”- Max Lucado

Max Lucado begins Chapter 7 (“They Need Help”) of Before Amen with a three-part question.  What can you do when:

  • the challenge is greater than you are?
  • the hurt is palpable?
  • you feel helpless and impotent?

Pastor Lucado suggests turning to Luke 11:5-10, one of Jesus’ most intriguing teachings about prayer.  Luke’s account illustrates intercessory prayer at its purest.  Lack and boldness meet in a midnight request for three loaves of bread.

Most noteworthy, Max observes, Jesus never refused on intercessory request. Nor did He grow impatient at the sheer magnitude of those requests.  However, the Gospel of Matthew records one instance where Jesus grew impatient.  However, this was at the lack of a request (Matthew 17:14-20).

In Matthew’s account, Jesus’ disciples tried, but failed, to heal a demon-possessed boy.  When the disciples asked Jesus why they failed, He responded: “Because of your unbelief.”  In addition, Pastor Lucado presents contrasting definitions of unbelief and belief:

Unbelief– attempting to help others without calling on Jesus.

Belief– pounding on God’s door at midnight.  Doing whatever it takes to present people to Jesus.

It follows, then, that “intercessory prayer . . . acknowledges our inability and God’s ability.  Although we come to God with empty hands, we also come with high hopes.

In conclusion, Pastor Lucado exhorts us to stand up on behalf of those we love.  And yes, that includes those we do not love.  Furthermore, Max states, a bucket of prayer quickly douses the fire of anger.  Finally, Pastor Lucado reiterates the all-encompassing nature of prayer:

“Pray for those you love; pray for those you don’t. . . . Present their case to the Giver of Bread.  And bring a grocery basket.  God will give you plenty of blessings to take back to them.”

Today’s question: How have you utilized intercessory prayer during your desert, transition time?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The grace to remain strong”

About the author

Dave Henning

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