“The danger here is that [intercession] can quickly become a Hallmark moment that sounds nice but has no real meaning. But being present to the Lord is vastly different from sending thoughts to someone. What we find in Scripture provides us with a more compelling reality.”- Kyle Strobel
“For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.”- Colossians 2:5 (ESV)
Kyle Strobel concludes Chapter 9 of Where Prayer Becomes Real as he comments on the apostle Paul’s presence to his churches. Hence, Kyle notes, Paul remained present with his churches in spirit, even when he wasn’t present in person.
Therefore, intercession provides one way to enter into the communal reality of the Christian life. To embrace that unity means we accept the call to be bound together in love (Colossians 3:14). Furthermore, Paul points to a fundamental aspect of the Christian life needed for intercessory prayer. We must enlarge our hearts to make room for one another.
Consequently, Kyle stresses the importance of intercessory prayer:
“The truth of who we are in Christ and what kind of closeness available in the Spirit confronts the belief that prayer isn’t very meaningful. Few people would verbalize this, but many of us feel it. Prayer can seem like the literal sense of ‘the least I can do.’ . . . sometimes it feels like the smallest gesture. But intercession is no mere gesture. Intercession is a prayer of faith, and we are present to another to carry them in the Spirit to the Father. . . . We are with them in the intercession of the Son and the Spirit and are partaking of their praying. This is not merely a nice idea; it is a bold ascent to the throne of grace in the prayers of faith.”
In conclusion, Kyle underscores, we must do one thing to truly embrace the vision of intercession. Allow others to intercede for us. Because it’s so difficult to enter into another’s struggles while burdened with our own.
Today’s question: How do you avoid turning intercessory prayer into a Hallmark moment? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Where Prayer Becomes Real