Sunday, July 26, 2015

Intercessory Prayer can be an Important Aspect of ARCM

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you,
And you will honor Me.”
– (Psalm 50: 3. NASV)

“Hear my cry, O God;
Give heed to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to You
when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
– (Psalm 61: 1-2. NASV)

God has given us a valuable tool for communicating with Him. It is called prayer. Prayer is a way for us to make requests, praise Him and receive comfort from our LORD when we need comfort and strength. We can pray in groups, we can pray in our closet or quietly pray while sitting on a beach. In other words, we can pray anywhere and at anytime. 

Among the many types of prayers we can pray, is that of Intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is when we “press in” and diligently intercede for a particular person or situation before the LORD. We cray out for the Lord's help! Many times the Holy Spirit puts a spiritual burden on our heart for our mentee, for someone else that we know or for a particular situation that needs God's direction and help.Through Intercessory prayer we can take our spiritual prayer burden before the Lord; crying out for help and answers. 

Intercessory prayer has more depth and devotion than our regular prayers to God. It is a fervent diligent prayer in which we passionately pray "pressing in" to receive God’s answer to a problem or situation. Whether we are burdened for our mentee’s physical or emotional needs, or we are simply burdened about a negative situation in the life of someone we know, we can take our own spiritual burden or the person’s needs (even including the needs of our nation) before God; fervently, diligently and passionately praying for God's answer. But, we must set aside the time to pray and be willing to pray until we are prayed out!

Although we can say a quick prayer anytime, and God will hear it, Intercessory prayer is not usually quick. In fact, Intercessory prayer by its very name means we are devoting time to intercede on the behalf of another for a particular situation or need. Intercessory prayer, then, requires a greater amount of time to be set aside for this type of prayer. It is also usually not a prayer prayed in public, but instead is prayed in a quiet place where one can hear from God, as we prostrate ourselves before God interceding for another. It is through Intercessory Prayer that we cry out for the needs of others. God delights in showing His strength, compassion and love to anyone who is in trouble or who is facing a difficult situation. But sometimes the person in need cannot cry out to God, or the situation requiring prayer needs the dedicated fervent prayers of more than one person. This is when other Christians must step forward to cry out for that person or their needs through Intercessory prayer. 

We can see an example of the difference between regular prayers and what Intercessory prayers entail when we read how Nehemiah prayed passionately throughout an extended amount of time and with devotion, as recorded in the writings of the prophet Nehemiah. Nehemiah used Intercessory prayer when he discovered that the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed along with the Temple. Nehemiah was given a spiritual burden to pray for the problems surrounding the city of Jerusalem.

In chapter one of the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah says:

“I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. ‘I beseech You O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night.’”
 -- (Nehemiah 1: 4-6. NASV).

Notice that Nehemiah prayed day and night beseeching God to hear his heartfelt prayer about the restoration of Jerusalem. How many of us have ever prayed day and night about something that God has lain on our heart? Whether it is a problem or situation within your own family or the fact that your heart is burdened for a need or a problem of someone else's, we can certainly can do more than just pray for five minutes here and there. Moreover, Intercessory prayer should be something that we are willing to pursue when we are actively and relationally mentoring another woman. In other words, we should be willing to include Intercessory Prayer as part of our mentoring process. This means that we must be willing to take the time to go before God interceding on the behalf of our mentee. However, even if the person is not your mentee, God may place a spiritual burden on your heart for another Christian. So, whether you are burdened for someone close to you, your mentee, or someone you have not personally met, you can still intercede on the behalf of that person.

We are told in Galatians 6: 2 that we are to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Part of bearing another’s burdens is to commit yourself to Intercessory prayer when your heart is heavy for the needs of another. You should also thank God and praise Him for His actions and answers in regard to the needs of the other person. Moreover, you may find that God may work through you to answer the mentee’s problem. That is, you actually become part of the answer to the spiritual burden you feel for your mentee. First you are burdened for prayer, but then in the process God shows you how you can help the mentee. But whether you are part of the answer or God steps in to answer as only God could, you are not to be anxious, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – (Philippians 4: 6).

We must remember, though, that it is Christ who takes our prayer requests before the Father, and it is Christ to whom we are to address all our prayers. For, Jesus Christ is our Intercessor before God!  Moreover, Christ is always ready to receive our prayers. We just need to remember that we can go before God anytime through Christ, our Lord and Savior. In fact, there isn’t a time or place where we cannot pray to our Father in Heaven through His Son, Jesus Christ. Even knowing this, unfortunately, many Christians fail to understand the depth for which they can pray and the importance of their prayers for others.

Even though the Holy Spirit often prompts us to pray and gives us a spiritual burden for another or for a particular situation, we often take only a few minutes to pray, or we promise ourselves to pray at a later time; only to forget to pray. We are always in a hurry to get things taken care of and that includes praying. However, with ARCM, the mentor must not only be willing to pray at a moment’s notice but also be willing to pray for an extended time, if needed, to intercede on the behalf of her mentee. In other words, the ministry of active relational Christian mentoring requires commitment to the mentoring process and to the needs of the mentee, which also includes Intercessory prayer needs as well.

There are so many different things for which we can pray. We can pray for strength, health, happiness, protection, financial help and so much more. In fact, there isn’t subject about which we should be afraid to come before our Father in prayer, as we go through Jesus Christ, the Son. God is waiting for your prayers. For God is delighted when we acknowledge His strength and power after we have acknowledged to Him that we cannot make it in our own strength. We glorify God when we acknowledge that we need Him! We glorify Him when we come before Him through His Son, our Savior and Intercessor, Jesus Christ. 

Christ is part of the Great I Am. He is the Great Intercessor! He is our Savior and Lord!  Do you know Him? If not, NOW is a good time to get to know Christ!  Just call upon His Name and repent of your sins. Then believing that Christ is the risen Son of God who can cleanse you of all unrighteousness, ask Him to cleanse you and come into your Heart. You Can Do it! Then go and tell someone that Christ has “Saved” you! Be sure to also make time to pray to God, praising Him and glorifying Him even as you communicate your needs.  He will hear you and answer you!

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