Your Equipping Skill: Praying powerfully for others
Prayer is our spiritual lifeline and the mortar that holds the brick of the Church together. Praying for others is true ministry-Intercession. Intercessory prayer is a gift to the Christian and a gift to the church. What happens when we just can’t pray?
We all have spiritually dry times. We have seasons when sin, shame, hurts and many other things can shut down our spiritual breath, which is prayer and cut off our conversations with God. This is deadly. We need someone to “stand before God in the gap” for others. (Ezekiel 22:30) We either need or need to be an intercessory prayer warrior.
The Biblical Greek word for intercession is ὑπερεντυγχάνω, the phonetic spelling: (hoop-er-en-toong-khan’-o). This is joining of two words. First, “huper” which beans to benefit, and “ent’-yook-sis” which is to plead, hit the mark, to make a petition in prayer. Joined together, it is translated “intercede” or to plead with God in prayer by faith for the benefit of others.
All prayer is a personal connection with God, but Intercession is also a ministry of the Christian community. From its foundations, the church has shared its burdens and prayed for one another. We print lists, make announcements, engage social media, and organize various other ways to connect emergency needs with the community. Text apps like REACH, WHATSAPP and others are incredibly effective to rally teams of intercessors.
BE CAREFUL! Medical information is still covered by HIPAA and confidentiality must be protected. It is so easy for these prayer tools to betray privacy or become a dumping ground for prayer requests that never make it to actual prayer. Worse yet, they can lead to gossip. Prayer lists and so forth require leadership and discipline.
Intercession is an important part of everyone’s walk as a Christian. Count it as a privilege to pray for someone else. Here are some basic truths.
- Ask for a trusted disciple to pray when you need intercession
- Be a trustworthy disciple that prayer when others need intercession
- Use prayer lists, call and text trees, and other media as Church-tools. However, lists aren’t prayers. Pray obediently and faithfully bring this need to God
- Pray in the name of Jesus-the name above all names.
- Pray by faith-expect God to move for others.
- Pray with humbleness-Praise God for answers, remembering that we just carry His mail.
- Pray with perseverance-intercession is never once and done.
- Pray with discretion-Intercessions that aren’t confidential are opportunities to share our prayers but keep confidences.
- Pray as a ministry-engage your local church family! Identify gifted intercessors and give them opportunities to care by sharing their gift.
How do you use your church’s prayer list? Our congregation has a primary prayer list printed in the paper bulletin. this is further reinforced by dedicated prayer ministers who receive emergencies and updates by text/email through the reach app. These are individual texts and not received as a group. Pastor and the prayer team leader are the contact points. This arrangement keeps responses personal and focused on the ministers praying rather than conversing. We do not put any detailed medical information in our texts Or on social media.
Our bulletin is arranged in three panels. One for has calendar events, another worship order and a third the prayer list. Some tear out the prayer list and put it in their Bible. Another prayer minister takes a picture and refers to on the telephone throughout the week. Updates and additional prayer requests or texted back and collected either as items for the prayer list or private intercessions.
A significant resource! “How to Pray” by Pete Greig is a practical and rich read. This book of basic skills is a prayer course with Youtube videos connect the reader to a larger world of “24-7” praying. It is also much more than the administration of a list! To pray for others from obedience is powerful for the faith of the sender too. The readings are accompanied by free online resources at www.prayercourse.org. Click on the “Tool Shed” and download number 10, “How to Maintain a Prayer List” for suggestions.
This post comes from a small group meeting of prayer ministers at Friendship UMC of Porter Texas. Here are some key verses collected by our prayer ministers. Pray for us and leave a comment so we can pray for you! May your life in Christ be rich, deep and rewarding with faith enough to share.
Bible Verses for Exploration:
1 Timothy 2:1 and following. Check out the balance of the types of prayer
James 5:13-16 A call to prayer for one another in suffering
Ephesians 6:18 A call to pray for all the Saints
Acts 7:60 Thomas praying for his murderers
Ezekiel 22, especially verse 30. God calling to those who would “stand in the gap”
Hebrews 5:7 Jesus himself offered prayers for others.
Isaiah 59:16 The prophet’s lament that there was injustice and no one to intercede
Matthew 18:19-20 Praying in agreement together, especially for sin issues.
Joshua 1:9 God is with the courageous wherever they go.
Ephesians 4:26 Don’t lose your power to anger
Hebrews 4:16 Pray confidently for mercy to find Grace at the Throne of God
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is central to prayer
1 Peter 5:7 Give God your anxiety
Philippians 4:6-7 You cannot pray from anxiety. Balance your prayers.
Psalm 3:3 God is your shield in prayer
Psalm 37:8-9 Don’t let evil people get into your prayer and make you angry
Psalm 55:22 Prayer to God sustains you
Psalm 120:1 Yes! God answers a distress call.
John 14:13-14 Pray in Jesus’ name!
Hebrews 1:3 Jesus is God’s radiant and forgiving light for us
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Prayer is a powerful weapon for the obedient disciple.
What are your guiding scriptures? Add them in a comment
(C) 2022, Rev. Alan van Hooser, “The Thoughtful Pastor”. All rights reserved. Including original photos.