Intercessory Prayer - What is it?

 Intercessory prayer is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another's case. One study Bible defines intercession as "holy, believing, persevering prayer whereby someone pleads with God on behalf of another or others who desperately need God's intervention."

Intercessory Prayer - The Biblical Foundation

 The Biblical basis for the New Testament believer's ministry of intercessory prayer is our calling as priests unto God. The Word of God declares that we are a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:4), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), and a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:5).

 The background for understanding this calling to priestly intercession is found in the Old Testament example of the Levitical priesthood. The priest's responsibility was to stand before and between. He stood before God to minister to Him with sacrifices and offerings. The priests also stood between a righteous God and sinful man bringing them together at the place of the blood sacrifice.

 Hebrews 7:11-19 explains the difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the priest. The Old Testament Levitical priesthood was passed on from generation to generation through the descendants of the tribe of Levi. "The Melchizedek priesthood" spoken of in this passage, is the "new order" of spiritual priests of whom the Lord Jesus is the High Priest. It is passed on to us through His blood and our spiritual birth as new creatures in Christ.
Prayers of intercession - Are there biblical examples?

 Prayers of intercession are to be offered on behalf of other people - your friends, family, co-workers, and so on. Do those around you have needs, concerns, or health problems? If so, cry out to God on their behalf. The Bible gives us several examples of intercessory prayer. Here are a few:

 One of the earliest examples of this type of prayer is found in Genesis 18 when Abraham pleaded with God for the well-being of the people of Sodom. Instead of being overcome with his own needs, Abraham prayed for those around him.

 Moses is also known for interceding on behalf of others throughout his life. In fact, Pharaoh requested that Moses pray for him in Exodus 8:28, "Pharaoh said, 'I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the LORD your God in the desert, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.'" Later in Exodus 15:25, Moses petitioned God on behalf of the Hebrew people: "Then Moses cried out to the LORD…" Moses prayed for others with urgency and boldness.

 Several of Paul's prayers of intercession are recorded in the New Testament. In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul prayed for the believers: "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."

 The church prayed fervently for Peter while he was imprisoned. Acts 12:5 says, "So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him."

 1 Timothy 2:1-5 exhorts us to pray for others: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

 Jesus is the greatest intercessor of all time! Here are some of His prayers:
• Jesus prayed for Peter - Luke 22:32 says, "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
• Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him. Luke 23:34 says, "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots."
• Jesus prayed for His disciples and for Believers throughout eternity in John 17.

 Is it a sin not to pray for people? 1 Samuel 12:23 answers this question, "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right."

 Do you spend time praying for others? Prayers of intercession are powerful! The Bible records that weather changed, people were released from prison, enemies were defeated, and so much more - all as a result of intercessory prayer!

Intercessory Prayer - Our Model Intercessor

 Jesus Christ is our model for intercessory prayer. Jesus stands before God and between Him and sinful man, just as the Old Testament priests did: For there is one God, and one mediator (intercessor) between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34). Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).

 Jesus brings sinful man and a righteous God together at the place of the blood sacrifice for sin. No longer is the blood of animals necessary as it was in the Old Testament. We can now approach God on the basis of the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross of Calvary for the remission of sins. Because of the blood of Jesus, we can approach God boldly without timidity (Hebrews 4:14-16).

 Jesus was an intercessor while He was here on earth. He prayed for those who were sick and possessed by demons. He prayed for His disciples. He even prayed for you and me when He interceded for all those who would believe on Him. Jesus continued His ministry of intercession after His death and resurrection when He returned to Heaven. He now serves as our intercessor in Heaven.

Intercessory Prayer - Effective Intercession
 In intercessory prayer, we follow the Old Testament priestly function and the New Testament pattern of Jesus - standing before God and between a righteous God and sinful man. In order to be effective standing "between" we must first stand "before" God to develop the intimacy necessary to fulfill this role. Numbers 14 is one of the greatest accounts of intercessory prayer recorded in the Bible. Moses was able to stand between God and sinful man because he had stood "before" Him and had developed intimacy of communication. Numbers 12:8 records that God spoke with Moses as friend to friend and not through visions and dreams as He did with other prophets.

 As New Testament believers, we no longer sacrifice animals as in Old Testament times. We stand before the Lord to offer up spiritual sacrifices of praise (Hebrews 13:15) and the sacrifice of our own lives (Romans 12:1). It is on the basis of this intimate relationship with God that we can then stand "between" Him and others, serving as an advocate and intercessor in their behalf.

 Peter uses two words to describe this priestly ministry: "Holy" and "royal." Holiness is required to stand before the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We are able to do this only on the basis of the righteousness of Christ, not our own righteousness. Royalty is descriptive of the kingly authority that is delegated to us as members of the "royal family," so to speak, with legitimate access to the throne room of God

Intercessory Prayer

We’ve often had the experience of witnessing the impact of a tragedy on others and having our hearts moved with compassion for them. We wish that their pain and suffering would just go away, but we are often unable to reach out to them directly for one reason or another. There is one way we can always reach out to others in trouble – intercessory prayer.

Intercessory prayer is petitioning God to send His merciful love and redeeming grace on the one we pray for. In the healing of the paralytic (Luke 5.18-26), we see the faith of several men who brought a paralytic on a stretcher towards Jesus. Since they could not get to Him because of the crowds that filled the house, they removed some tiles from the roof and lowered the stretcher before Jesus. Jesus not only forgave the man’s sins, He healed the man’s paralysis instantly, and the man walked home, praising God.

St James instructs us to pray for those who are sick, so that “the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5.15). We should not doubt the power of prayer; on the contrary, we should strive to pray as intently as possible, realizing that “the fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.” (James 5.16) He also explains the saving power of intercessory prayer for the one who prays: “whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5.20)

Praying together with others increases the power of our prayer for the one in need. Through the Communion of Saints, we have been granted the gift of the angels and Saints as intercessors to pray with us before God. When we pray with one another we also know that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18.20)

Our prayer of intercession should always be directed to Jesus, as He is the one who stands at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us (c.f. Hebrews 8.1). Jesus teaches us, as He did His apostles: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” (John 16.23)

Through the power of intercessory prayer, we can help those who have died, perhaps without the grace of complete forgiveness. We can also reach out to those who are not in touch with Jesus in their lives. Our Creator knows each of us intimately, and His Spirit is much more capable of reaching a soul in need than we ever could with our own feeble efforts.

St Thérèse recounts the intensity of her efforts to save the soul of a convicted killer through the power of intercessory prayer: “I longed at any cost to snatch sinners from the everlasting flames of hell… I heard much talk of a notorious criminal, Pranzini, who was sentenced to death… everyone feared he would be eternally lost. How I longed to avert this irreparable calamity! In order to do so I employed all the spiritual means I could think of, and, knowing that my own efforts were unavailing, I offered for his pardon the infinite merits of Our Saviour and the treasures of Holy Church. Need I say that in the depths of my heart I felt certain my request would be granted? … Pranzini had mounted the scaffold without confessing or receiving absolution, and the executioners were already dragging him towards the fatal block, when all at once, apparently in answer to a sudden inspiration, he turned round, seized the crucifix which the Priest was offering to him, and kissed Our Lord’s Sacred Wounds three times… After receiving this grace my desire for the salvation of souls increased day by day.” (Story of A Soul, A.5)

This poem expresses the power of interceding for one another in prayer:


Lord, hear my prayer for this poor soul
 In dire need of healing;
 Your divine touch could make him whole -
 Lord, heal him – I’m appealing!

Lord, hear my prayer for this lost soul
 Who has not known forgiveness;
 Reveal the mercy we extol -
 Lord, save him in your kindness!

Lord, hear the pleas of your children
 Entreating You in their need.
 We come before You, once again –
We trust in You as we plead.

As You prayed for us from the cross;
 Lord, lift us up — let none be lost!

Holy Spirit, please intercede
 For us before the Father’s throne;
 Do not forsake us in our need –
Take our petitions as Your own. Amen.


St Thérèse of Lisieux, Story of A Soul

The Mystery of Gods Will

There is still one question we need to answer as we look at the call to intercessory prayer: What about prayers that never seem to get answered? Related to this is the age-old question that even shows up at various points in the Bible: Why is there so much suffering-especially among those who are trying to obey the Lord? Why does God let good people die young? Why does he not intervene and stop all the abortions or put an end to war and genocide? We can look at passages like Psalm 13 and Habakkuk 1:1-3 for examples of how even the holiest of people-prophets and psalmists-puzzled over these questions.

It’s pretty safe to say that there is no simple answer. If there were, people wouldn’t still be asking it so persistently. But even as we admit that there is a mystery here, we should not conclude that intercessory prayer is useless, or worse, that God is too remote to care about us. He wouldn’t have sent his Son to die for us if he didn’t care. The witness of countless saints and biblical heroes tells us that we should always pray when we face difficult or challenging situations. But it tells us also that our prayer should not be limited to asking God to take away the problem or to demand the solution that we think is the best one. Rather, in our intercessions, we should also ask God to soften our hearts and help us stay open to the mystery of the way he is at work among us.

In our world, the word “mystery” usually means a riddle that needs to be solved, as in a crime novel or a crossword puzzle. But this isn’t the kind of mystery we mean here. Rather, mystery here speaks about God’s eternal, all-encompassing plan and purpose. It has to do with a plan from our heavenly Father that is so vast that we cannot possibly grasp it in its fullness. It is something that we will never figure out-but something that God can reveal to us a little bit at a time.

So when we face a trying situation or dilemma, we should continue to pray for healing or a solution. But we should also ask God to shed some light on the mystery behind this situation and to give us the grace to embrace his plan, whatever that may be. We should always keep our hearts open to the Lord and repeat the words of the psalmist: “I trust in your faithfulness” (Psalm 13:6).

May we never limit God or tell him exactly how he should intervene! Of course, we should feel free to tell him honestly how we feel about a puzzling situation-even to tell him what we wish he would do for us. But we should always make our prayers with the humility of children, acknowledging that our vision is clouded and our knowledge is limited. It won’t be until we are with the Lord in heaven that we will see the whole picture and understand exactly how “all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28). In the meantime, our best response is to pray fervently and to try our best to follow the Lord and live in his love.

We Can Change Lives! In all of our intercessions, be they for the sick, for an end to war or abortion, for the church, for healing in a marriage or family, or for our loved ones to come to know the Lord, we should never be anxious. Instead, let’s follow Paul’s exhortation: “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God” (Philippians 4:6). He is all-powerful, but he is also all-wise. And that means that we can rest in his provision, even as we try to work through difficult, challenging situations.

As we “stand in” for others and intercede, we will see our Father working powerfully among us. As incomprehensible as it sounds, we can change people’s lives with our prayers. It may not be exactly as we would wish, but we should know that whenever God’s people turn to him in prayer, he works marvels. So let’s never go a day without lifting up the needs that are on our hearts-both the large, global crises and the small, personal ones. He is a loving God, and he will hear and answer us.

Some of the most important passages in the Bible are the most frequently overlooked. The result is that Christians often don't know things they should know to be effective as Christians. This is particularly true of knowing how to pray, particularly in knowing what the Scriptures tell us to pray for when praying for ourselves and others.

I John 5:14 & 15 tells us one of the most critical guidelines for getting our prayers answered. We must pray according to God's Will. It follows logically that if we pray for things that are taught or shown by example in the Scriptures, especially in the teachings of Jesus, we are going to pray effectively.

In I Timothy 2:1-5, Paul makes it clear that we are to make a priority of praying for others. But what should we pray for when we do?

The following Priorities of Prayer are all clearly shown in the New Testament. With the exception of #2, they are not part of the mainstream of Christian prayer, at least not in most churches. But they are things we should make a regular discipline of praying for, for ourselves and others. Again, pray them for yourselves, and for others, individually and as a group.

1. Pray for the Forgiving of Sin.

It is notable that in the Lord's Prayer, the only petition that has a qualification attached to it, and the only one that Jesus comments on at the end, is the prayer for forgiveness of sin. This tells us that this is very important. The clear implication of what Jesus said is that we won't get our prayers answered unless we forgive those who wrong us. This, again, is one of the most important forms of obedience, and one of the most significant manifestations of Christian love. But there is a greater dimension to this than just our forgiving those who wrong us. And it is at the very foundation of Biblical intercession.

In John 20:23, Jesus made a statement to the Apostles that has enormous significance, but, as stated above, it has often been overlooked

"Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them;
 and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

Jesus was telling them that they had the power to forgive sins! This is the basis for the Catholic idea that the priests have the power to forgive sins. The difference is that in Christ, all true Christians are priests. But how do we do the forgiving of other people's sins?

One of the main functions of an Old Testament priest was offering sacrifices for the forgiving of other people's sins. We as priests can do the same thing, but we do it through intercessory prayer. This is illustrated directly I John 5:16, where we are told to pray for anyone whom we see committing a sin "not unto death". It is a matter of debate just what the phrase "sin unto death" means. It may apply to any sin that constitutes a capital offence under the Law of Moses. Or it may mean any sin that has directly fatal consequences, like suicide. It follows that we should pray for the forgiving of any sin that does not meet these criteria. In fact, since we don't know exactly what the "sin unto death" is, it is likely that we can pray effectively for the forgiving of any sin but suicide.

This type of intercession, in the case of the unsaved, does not guarantee salvation to the person prayed for, but it removes the obstacle of guilt from between the sinner and God, and opens the sinner up to the working of the Spirit.

This idea of praying for the forgiving of the sins of others among Christians is also mentioned in James 5:15 where it is linked to the ministry of healing. Here, we have the idea of healing the spirit before the healing of the body, as in Matthew 9:2-7.

Prayer for the forgiving of sin is the very foundation of intercessory prayer. Pray this for every person you pray for.

2. Pray for Healing and Deliverance

This, as stated is the one thing that many Christians do pray for. It is a fact that we have a Scriptural obligation to pray for the healing of the sick. But there are errors made in this way. Contrary to what has been taught, it is not necessarily God's will to heal in the case of every sickness. God sometimes uses sickness as a form of discipline among Christians. Paul testifies to this in II Corinthians 12:7-10. This writer knows that this is true from personal experiences. Telling someone that it is absolutely God's will to heal them of whatever may be putting a snare in front of them that could destroy their faith. Pray for the sick, but don't tell them they will absolutely be healed. Let them tell you when they have been healed.

On the other hand, healing can be the Lord Jesus' "calling card"; that is, it is His way of getting people's attention and letting them know He's there. This writer knows of cases, one dramatic one in particular, of people who got spontaneously healed through the power of Christ, and yet no one was apparently even directly praying for them. There have been cases wherein such healings started people who were rebellious or indifferent to the Gospel on their way to salvation.

We should also pray for deliverance, and this does mean freedom from bondage to demonic forces. There are over thirty references to demon possession in the New Testament, and casting out demons was a major part of Jesus' supernatural ministry. This can mean only two things: either demon possession and oppression was far more common in Jesus' day than it is now, or it is much more common today than we realize. The latter possibility is the likely truth.  If a person has what we would call an "emotional disturbance" or is "mentally ill", this writer has substantial experience to show that the problem in many cases is demons, coupled with the person's sin.   Don't be led astray by false teaching that denies the reality of demonic forces. If we pray, as above, for healing and the forgiveness of sin, we should also pray, especially in such cases, for deliverance.

Finally, don't be dissuaded from praying for the sick, and this includes the "mentally ill", by apostate teaching that either says outright that God no longer heals, or gives lip service to the idea that He does while telling you not to expect it. God promises it, howbeit with conditions. So do be diligent in praying for healing and deliverance.

3. Pray for Protection from the Evil One

Jesus ended the Lord's prayer with the petition that we would not be led into temptation, but delivered from "the evil one" - what the original Greek really says. He prays the same basic thing in His Pastoral Prayer for his disciples in John 17:15. But beyond reciting the Lord's Prayer, how often do Christians pray for this, either for themselves or for others? RARELY!  Jesus teaching and example show that this is something that should be a regular part of our prayer lives. This writer does it daily, again, for himself and others, and is of the opinion that it has brought him much concrete blessing.

The Bible tells us that the devil "walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). We are told to "resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 47). How do we resist him? One way is the use of the Scriptural rebuttal, "The Lord Jesus Christ rebuke you, Satan!" (Jude 19) It may sound nutty to some readers, but it works! Another way is simply to pray for protection. There are several Scriptural prayer - related verbal images of divine protection, angels encamping around whomever, a hedge being built, shielding, or simply "keeping", which is in the sense of watching over whomever for purposes of protection. Regardless of the verbal imagery used, prayer for divine protection is answered with divine protection. Pray for it, again, for yourself and for others. Do it daily. The devil doesn't take vacations.

4. Pray for Sanctification

There are a number of Scriptural synonyms for the sanctified state: holy, righteous, Christ-like, godly, etc. Whatever term your use, this is something that God wants to be true of us. Sanctification is the process of becomingly increasingly sinless and righteous in our thinking and our behavior. It may come suddenly, in a crisis experience, through infilling of the Holy Spirit, or gradually by spiritual growth from study of the Word, prayer, and experience in Christian living, or both. Either way, it must happen if we are to become what God wants us to be. And either way, it requires our cooperation.

There is a subtle but serious error that has been frequently taught in some churches relevant to sanctification It is the idea that says that "holiness is not so much the absence of sin as it is the presence of the Holy Spirit". The problem with this is that it allows for the continued presence of sin in a person seeking sanctification. But since when did the Holy Spirit keep company with habitual, willful sin? NO! Holiness is both the absence of sin and the presence of the Holy Spirit. You can't, in the long run, at least, have both sin and the Spirit.

So we must pray for true repentance, and the true anointing of the Spirit for any and all Christians that we pray for. Including, of course, ourselves. Pray that every Christian will be given the discernment to know what sin he has in his life that he needs to repent of, and the grace to do it. Pray that every Christian will have a desire to be holy. Pray that every Christian will want to be truly filled with the Holy Spirit and really be like Jesus.

5. Pray for Unity among the Saints.

We are commanded, as in Ephesians 4:2, to be constantly working toward unity. In John 17:21, Jesus prayed for unity among Christians, for the purpose of convincing the world of the truth of the Gospel. Yet this is one of the New Testament teachings most flagrantly violated in contemporary Christianity. Increasingly so!!! According to the Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia, there are over 25,000 different Christian sects and denominations in the world. Compare this to Islam, our most dangerous enemy, spiritually, and the source of much present persecution, and more than that, terrorism. There are only six forms of Islam of any importance. That is because of a doctrine of Islam that says, "There is no disagreement in Allah". Biblically, there should be no disagreement in Christ, but at the intellectual level, the Christian world is dominated by disagreement. This happens to be a pervasive sin condition which is one of the reason why most Christians will not be ready for the Second Coming.

If Christians had the kind of unity that Muslims have, we could take over the world spiritually, culturally and politically in a generation, without a shot being fired. We could, in theory, bring about a Millennium without there having to be a Great Tribulation first. But because of our failures generally, and the lack of unity in particular, we won't. The Tribulation will happen.

We should be constantly praying for unity among Christians. We should pray that all Christians would put the love for one another that we are commanded to practice (John 13:34 & 35) above their doctrinal differences and agree in Christ. We should also be praying that Christians who are offended in any way by their brothers and sisters would practice the kind of from-the-heart forgiveness that we are told to practice (Matthew 18:33-36) and seek reconciliation. Above all, pray that all Christians would really unite in prayer.

Uniting Christians in prayer, by the way, is one of the main purposes of this Ministry.

6. Pray for Preservation.

It is debatable whether or not a Christian can lose his salvation. But one thing the Bible makes very clear is that there are rewards that go to some Christians and not to others. It seems obvious that many Christians will wind up in heaven "scorched and smelling of smoke", which is to say,  "saved so as through fire"  (I Corinthians 3:11-15). Again, the Bible tells us that the our enemy, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour. It is, again, debatable whether he can cause a Christian to lose his or her salvation, but he can certainly chew up a Christian's life, to the point of turning it into a living hell, and making a Christian totally ineffective, or worse, in his or her witness. And of course, to the point of causing the Christian to totally turn his or her back on the Lord. He has done it to many.

If every person, in the United States, at least, who has ever said the "Sinner's Prayer", or otherwise sought to become a Christian, were now living a victorious Christian life, the Christian Faith would dominate the U.S. in the ways mentioned above, rather than being increasingly scorned and persecuted. The situation is probably the same in many other ostensibly Christian nations. The sad truth is that there are many, too many, people who having once come to Christ, have at some point later, for whatever reason, fallen away. Either they have turned their backs on the Lord completely, or, while continuing to profess faith in Christ, are living lives that are a testimony against, rather than for Him. Sometimes this begins with a Christian yielding to the most simple and seemingly innocent of temptations. The fact that this is happening stresses the need for prayer for preservation. Pray that all Christians will be "preserved blameless" (I Thessalonians 5:23) in their walk, to the point that they will be with Jesus where He is in eternity (John 17:24).

7. Pray for Justice.

All of us are aware of situations involving injustice. Justice in many places is lacking toward Christians. Anything unjust in the way of human actions is an abomination to God. Permitting ongoing injustice within a state (politically speaking) is one of the practices most likely to bring God's wrath. God is a God of justice. Prayer for justice is one of the types of petition frequently demonstrated in the Book of Psalms.

In any situation where you know that injustice is being done, especially in the case of the persecution of Christians, pray for justice to be done, tempered, of course, by God's mercy. Justice can be prayed for in any situation where injustice is happening. It is one of the kind of prayers that the Bible promises will be answered quickly (Luke 18:1-8).

In this context, remember that in terms of interceding for our fellow Christians, there are no greater needs for justice than those who are being persecuted. Remember also that the good we pray for others will come back to us. If we don't want to feel the fire of persecution, then we should be diligently praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters. For protection, preservation and justice, in particular.

8. Pray For Spiritual Enlightenment

First, understand that this is not about enlightenment in the New Age/Eastern Religion sense. That kind of enlightenment is a deception. There is, however, a kind of enlightenment that all Christians need. More than that, this kind of enlightenment needs constant renewal. Paul mentions praying for this enlightenment in Ephesians 1:18:

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints".

This prayer is for an opening of one's awareness by the working of the Holy Spirit. This awareness includes realizing who and what we are in Christ. It is becoming conscious of the power that is available to us. It means being aware of the presence of Christ in our lives, and the truth of His promises. Beyond that, it is knowing what God expects of us as Christians and how we should go about fulfilling His expectations.

This also includes being aware of all that God has done for us. It is all too easy for Christians, even ones who have been close to God, to forget or never even realize all that God has done for them.

The reason that some Christians fail is because they have never acquired this kind of enlightenment. Or maybe they lost it as a result of habitually yielding to certain temptations. Again, it is something that every Christian needs. It is something that we should pray that God would give to every Christian, and in an ongoing, ever increasing way at that.

Finally, we should never make the mistake of assuming that we are personally so enlightened. Rather, we should always view this enlightenment as something we need. It is something in which we must grow, and, again, it must be continually renewed.

A final note on this: The Pastoral Prayer of Jesus for His Disciples in John 17 gives us an example of a final priority in our prayers. Jesus did pray for Himself in the Prayer. In fact, He did it first, in verses 1- 5. Then He spent the next 21 verses praying for His Disciples. This tells us that it is right to pray for ourselves, and it is alright to pray for ourselves first. But we should devote the majority of our prayer time to praying for others. And since we are not Jesus, when we pray these prayers for our fellow Christians, it is a good idea to pray for ourselves and others simultaneously. In other words, as Jesus showed us in the Lord's Prayer, substitute "us" for "me" and "them". We should all be intercessors. This is not something we should wait for the Lord to "lead us" to do. He does not have to "lead us" to do it. He has commanded us to do it.

The Value of Intercessory Prayer
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