I was talking with Sarah on Saturday night and the topic of intercession came up (as it usually does in conversations that I have). My passion was stirred, her concern was voiced, and we ended up in a very good discussion of what intercession really is. Why do we see this type of prayer–any type of prayer, for that matter–like a monologue with a Supreme Power who’s supposed to know everything anyway? Why does seem like, as one person has put it, as if we tell God the things that He tells us to tell Him? It all seems so…unnecessary. And boring. And a waste of God-given time, talent, and resources.
But what if this isn’t what He had in mind at all? Could this possible be our failure to grasp something much greater and more profound? Something that, in the heart of God, could be used to touch not only others in our community, but possible God Himself? Yes, Sarah and I exclaimed in agreement. You see, the motivation for a praying lifestyle isn’t the answers we get to those prayers. “What?”, you say to yourselves. “Why take the time?” “Shouldn’t I just get busy doing good, spreading love, and all that other Christian stuff we’re told to do?” Yes, I say, but there’s so much more to it all if we would just take the time to get in touch with God.
I submit to you that the motivation for intercession, supplication, meditation, and all the other forms of conversing with God is to touch God Himself. We don’t want to just give lip-service to His goodness, His awesomeness, His glory. We don’t just want to settle for an answered prayer and then be on our merry way. We want to touch transcendence. We want to encounter the Holy One, and be changed in the process. We want to know what Jesus thinks about us–how He feels about us and how much He enjoys us.
I picture two people together on a park bench. One is weighed down with his thoughts, emotions, and other burdens of life. His friend comes along and strikes up a conversation, but the topics all revolve around around himself. He never bothers to ask his friend what seems to be troubling him. There’s no hint of sensitivity or sympathy. Oh, how the second man could be a striking picture of me!
Now, some will argue that God is not weighed down with troubles, cares, or emotions. But I find these to be the very same who have never asked the Lord for what’s on His heart. They are more concerned with telling us what they think God should be like. Well, I profess an Almighty God who is not only full of joy and happiness for all that He has made, but also One who feels every trouble of His beloved ones and even the groan of the entire creation as it reels under the weight of sin. Is this not perhaps worth being in touch with? The God complete in perfect knowledge and wisdom all the while feeling all that goes on?
And so, in meditating upon this, prayer can be seen as coming before the Lord to get a sense of what is on His heart. Then, after receiving the impartation of His emotions, we then speak out what action is required to change the world around us. It’s His perspective being made a living reality through His grace and power. Assuming to think and speak for God without this humble posture is nothing less that self-promotion and self-worship. And the world doesn’t need what I think it needs. It needs His answers to His prayers.
The best case for a life of intercession comes from Jesus Himself. The Scriptures say, “He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercessionfor them” (Hebrews 7:25). The Bible puts our salvation (our healing, wholeness, holiness, deliverance, among other things) into the hands of a Man who lives a life of vigilant watch. Who is better connected to our needs as they truly are? Who better, then, to imitate in this lifestyle of devotion? Amen.