What is intercessory prayer? It is praying diligently for others. It is a Holy Spirit guided, petition to the Judge of the universe for help on behalf of someone else.
I. Why Prayer?
1. Prayer is the most effective thing you can do.
Effective prayer is communion with the Lord Himself. Let's face it. Most situations in life are beyond our control or ability. We need the Lord's help. The effective and fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Faith is built when we are placed in impossible situations that require us to totally trust God in order to survive. Communion with the Lord is what keeps us in faith. Faith is in the Spirit. True heartfelt prayer will keep you in faith. Many years ago, we had a lady in our church that was battling cancer. We'll call her Betty for sake of anonymity. We stood with Betty in prayer until the cancer went into remission. Then six months later she seemed to be slipping into doubt and fear and began believing that the cancer would come back. She had not been praying much. Her excuse was she had so much to do with caring for her children. The cancer did come back. We counseled her and got her praying more and back in faith. We also battled diligently and the cancer went back into remission in about six months. Then she slacked off on her prayer. She got back into fear and doubt and began to believe that the cancer would come back. The cancer came back a third time. I went to the hospital to visit her. She was watching soap operas. I told her if she was going to beat this she needed to turn off the T.V. and pray and get into the Word. We had been "praying our guts out" for this woman and she was watching soap operas. She was in such a state that her kidneys stopped functioning and the doctors said she was going to die. We and the church interceded diligently and she recovered and got out of the hospital. Still she would not pray diligently and continued to have episodes of fear that the cancer would kill her. The day she decided to stop fighting she wrote us a letter and said she was tire of fighting and she just wanted to go home. That same day, she took a turn for the worse and had to be taken to the hospital. Betty went home to be with the Lord that day. Prayer is so important. Lack of prayer can literally kill us.
2. Prayer is the doorway to divine guidance.
In Acts 9:1-12, immediately following his heavenly encounter with our Lord Jesus on the Damascus road, Saul (later to be called Paul) started praying for direction. When he was knocked down by the power of God and spoken to by the Lord, his first question was, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" How many
Christians do you know today that have really never seriously asked the Lord that question. They ask the Lord to do what they want rather than asking the Lord to reveal His will for their lives.
Paul receives step by step instruction in this chapter. If we would surrender to the Lord and ask Him what He wants we would receive His direction.
When I was a young Christian I was seeking the Lord to know His will for my life and He spoke to me by His Spirit and said, "Sell everything and become mobile" So, I told my wife, "The Lord has told me that we are to sell everything and become mobile. That was all the direction he gave me. Needless to say, she was not immediately excited about the idea. In fact, I think she thought I had gone off the deep end. We had just finished building our new Log Home on 11 acres in a beautiful little valley in Oregon. Everything was paid for. I had an electrical contracting business. Pam had her own hair salon. We were pretty well set, financially.
Although she was not too excited about the idea, she reluctantly agreed, and we put our house up for sale. We only put one two week ad in the L.A. times. We didn’t list it with a realtor. We didn't put a for sale by owner sign out. We didn't even tell our neighbors we were going to sell the house. Our area of Oregon was in a terrible economic downturn at that time. One realtor said that only 2% of the houses listed were selling in each month. The odds of our house selling were not good she said. Only one person called about our house from that L.A times ad. This man, who lived in Southern California asked some questions about the place and said, "This sounds exactly like what I'm looking for." The Lord spoke to me again and said, "that man is going to buy your house." I told Pam and she said, "Are you sure you heard God." I said, "yes, I'm sure." The man came to look at the house about three weeks later. He vacillated back and forth between our house and this other one. He went back to California . I continued to stand on the Word the Lord gave me. Then in a few weeks after he went back home he called me. He asked me how much do you owe on the house?" I said, "nothing, its free and clear." He said, that's the way I like to do business. I'll pay you cash for your place and he did. I found out that God is in the real estate business. Actually he owns the whole earth.
Throughout the entire home sale ordeal, I was praying diligently. Step by step the Lord led us to Bible College at Christ for the Nations institute in Dallas , Texas to attend Bible College . Our ministry was launched with prayer. It is sustained by prayer and it will continue only with prayer.
I''ll write more on prayer next week. For now, I want to encourage you to pray daily and pray diligently.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).
Prayer works. It works when nothing else will. Start your prayer life today.
Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mt. 26:40,41)."
Set aside an hour or more daily to seek the Lord in fervent prayer. If you have never prayed before start with even 30 minutes a day. After you establish a habit of daily prayer, increase your prayer time 15 minutes. Then after you are praying for 45 minutes a day for six weeks, increase 15 more minutes. Now, your praying one hour. You can increase it more and more as the years go by. In fact you'll get to the point where you'll pray continually.
Continue Earnestly In Prayer, Part II
Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains…"
Genesis chapter one, verses twenty-six to twenty-eight says that God gave man dominion over planet earth. Man was called to rule over the planet and everything in it, including Satan, disguised in Genesis 3 as the "serpent." The reason Satan used the serpent because the serpent was at that time a crafty animal. Satan had no physical body and he needed a body to use to speak through. Before the fall, Satan did not have a human body he could inhabit. Mankind (Adam and Eve) were walking with God and Satan had no place in them. So also when we walk with God totally, Satan has no place in us.
When mankind (Eve first then Adam followed) listened to Satan and obeyed his word in the garden, mankind gave his dominion of the earth to Satan. At that point Satan became known as the "god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4). The way man takes dominion back is by repenting of sin, receiving Christ, and then going over Satan's head to the God of the Universe. This is done through prayer.
I want to encourage you to continually pray.
This is how we take back dominion. As you may know our nation is in a moral crisis. I say "moral crisis" because the root problem of America today is not the
economy, or the political situation, as dire as it may be, but the root problem of this nation is immorality.
We can trace the economic situation to sinful and greedy practices of mortgage bankers, corporate executives, and corrupt politicians. The political candidates we choose reflect the moral values of our society. The majority have become immoral. Even those who profess to be Christians, no longer stand for Biblical values. Many Christians do not adhere to sound doctrine.
Religious deception is everywhere. There are fewer churches that really preach the pure Word of God.
The prophet Hosea said of his generation: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. 7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. 9 And there shall be, likepeople, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. 10 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD. 11Whoredom and wine and new wine take away (enslave) the heart (Hosea 4:6-11 KJV).
The leaders we elect are a reflection of the morality of the people. We have immoral leaders because the people want it that way. "Like people like priest."
It is not God's best that we have political leaders that sanction the murder of the unborn and embrace the homosexual lifestyle. That is man's will. God doesn't strip man of his free will, and make him a mindless robot. Some people think that everything that happens is "God's will."
They are deceived. God is not the author of evil - Satan is.
Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.
Here are some more good reasons to pray: (I gave you two the week before last – was out of town ministering this past week)
3. The Kingdom of God is brought forth in your life.
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers
violence, and the violent take it by force (Mt. 11:12).
This is why it is so vital that we pray, like we have never prayed before and pray continually. Your prayers cannot force others to do your will, but your prayers will accomplish a great deal. God will move on your behalf and the Kingdom of God is asserted. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman avails much. James 5: 16.
4. Prayer is the greatest privilege of the saint.
Prayer gives us an audience with the God of the Universe. It connects us with heaven. It brings us into communion with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords our Lord Jesus Christ. What a great privilege. The world would consider it an honor to meet with the president, or prince Charles, but we have one far greater than some national dignitary. We need to appreciate the great honor it is to stand before the God of all creation.
5. Prayer is the master key to the impossible.
Every miracle in the Bible was the result of Prayer. In each case someone had been in communion with God. The 10 plagues would never have been poured out on Egypt if the Israelites had not cried out to God for deliverance. The Red Sea would not have parted had Moses not been the strong man of prayer that he was. The walls of Jericho would never have fallen down without Joshua's prayer life being what it was. The apostle Paul could never have done the mighty miracles he did had he not prayed.
I will write more on this important subject later. For now, I have to get to prayer myself.
Nothing is impossible with God when we pray diligently and fervently.
Continue Earnestly In Prayer III ( Col. 4:2)
Greetings once again; I hope you had a great Mother's Day. Prayer is the most neglected Christian Discipline, yet the most vital. The enemy opposes prayer more vehemently than any other activity of the believer. This is proof positive that it is the most effective thing you can do. Here is a brief review on the
reasons we need to pray as the Word admonishes us:
1.Prayer is the most effective thing we can do.
2.Prayer is the doorway to divine guidance.
3.Prayer brings the kingdom of God into your life.
4.Prayer is the greatest privilege of the saint.
5.Prayer is the master key to the impossible.
Now let's move on in our study of prayer.
6. Prayer provides us access to the throne of Grace.
We definitely need grace. Grace is not only God's unmerited favor, but His divine enablement. Grace is the Lord's help in time of need.
Heb. 4:16 states: Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Prayer is how we boldly access that grace. Unfortunately many people only pray when they need help, and usually as a "last resort." If we have revelation of our need for continual revelation, divine guidance, and wisdom, we'll pray all the time.
Now when the Children of Israel complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched" (Numbers 11:1,2).
The moral of the story is, don't make the Lord angry at you. If you do, call an intercessor. Intercession saved the lives of many in Israel that day. Moses often prayed on behalf of Israel and stopped the hand of God.
7. Prayer keeps you from temptation.
Our Lord Jesus said, "Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The Spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak" (Mt. 26:41).
After almost 22 years as a Sr. Pastor, and counseling hundreds of people, I can assure you, only those who pray diligently and daily ever get the victory in their area of weakness. Prayerless people are powerless people. Those who don't pray will not have the Spiritual fruit of self control necessary to resist the repeated temptations of the enemy. When someone drops their guard against the enemy, through a lax prayer life, it is only a matter of time until they fall back into the same old sins.
8. Prayer inspires confidence.
When a wife sees her husband praying it builds her confidence in her husband's leadership in the home. When a church knows they have a praying pastor, they are more secure in his leadership. Even the ungodly respect a praying church more than one that doesn't.
9. Prayer draws the attention of heaven.
In Acts 9:11, The Lord spoke to Ananias and told him to go seek out the Apostle Peter. The reason the reason the Lord spoke to Ananias is because Peter was praying. The Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold he is praying (Acts 9:11 God's wake up call). Prayer gets God's attention. The prayers and Alms of Cornelius ascended up to heaven and moved God to send Peter to preach to the gentiles ( Acts 10:4).
When we pray God moves and answers our prayers. There is no greater force in the universe than prayers offered unto God in faith. Prayer can change the destiny of a nation, city, or family. It can bring forth the impossible.
I trust you have been blessed with this teaching. I want to encourage you fresh and anew to pray and believe. Your prayers do have power.
Bishop Darrell Ellis
Anointed Word International Fellowship