Prayer can be defined as ‘simply asking God to do for us – or for others – what He has promised to do if we ask Him.’
One Study Bible defines intercession as holy, believing, persevering prayer, whereby someone pleads with God on behalf of others who desperately need God’s intervention.
Are you a prayer intercessor? Oswald Chambers describes intercession or intercessory prayer as putting oneself in God’s place by seeing a person or situation from His perspective. In other words, we see the outcome that God would desire, and we petition God that He would bring about the desired result. We’ve often heard testimonies from Christians who believe that their conversion was the result of prayer.
Andrew Murray said ‘intercession is the chief element in the conversion of souls’.Charles Spurgeon said that many people give up on souls they consider ‘spiritually’ dead’, or those they assume will never be saved. But he cautions that we should never give up until they are confirmed by a physician to be physically dead.
George Muller, was a prayer intercessor. He was a man of great faith who prayed for 52 years for some of the people on his prayer list until most were eventually saved during his lifetime. And others were saved after his death.Concerning intercessory prayer, Sidlow Baxter stated that ‘men may refuse our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments and depise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers’.
We see many examples of the results of intercessory prayer in both the Old and New Testaments. James describes Elijah as a ‘man subject to passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months’. And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain.
.Another great account of intercessory prayer is found in Numbers 14, where Moses stood before God, and pleaded for God to withold His anger and not destroy his murmuring and complaining people. We know that God answered that prayer and spared the people. And of course the greatest example of intercessory prayer was, and still is Christ. Jesus spent a whole night in prayer before choosing the twelve disciples, and before He preached the Sermon on the Mount. And we are told in Romans that He still makes intercession before the Father’s throne on behalf of His own.
I’d like to finish with a true story.About 20 years ago, in the small city of Almolonga, Guatemala, several believers and pastors began to unite in prayer and fasting for their region. At the time the city was plagued with prostitution, drug and alcohol addiction, bloody violence and murder, widespread corruption, and idolatry – it was a city in need of divine reformation.When the body of Christ began to make their stand against these things through intense prayer and fasting, they slowly saw transformation take place in Almolonga. Drug cartels fled the city, prostitution rings were dismembered and governmental leaders came to the Lord. Within a short amount of time the church exploded. It is reported that as many as 92% of the Almolongan population became Christians.But not only did the church thrive, so did the land. Crop production increased dramatically. The Lord healed the land as well as the people. This is just one example of what can happen through intercessory prayer. Should we expect less today?