The Powerful Prayer of the Intercessor

H.B. London Do you remember when Jesus spoke to Simon Peter and said, "Simon, Simon, Satan demands to have you, to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail" (Luke 22:31-32)? Jesus became an intercessor on Simon's behalf.

Who intercedes for you? For whom do you intercede? Someone has said, "Praying for others is one of the best ways of loving people." I agree. When we pray for others, and others pray for us, several things happen:

  1. We become interdependent. We develop a sense of responsibility for one another that is awesome in its power. We take our relationships very seriously.
  2. We make God's resources available to others. The liberating, healing power of the Almighty God flows out to those about whom we care.
  3. We put the needs and hurts of the other individual into perspective. We understand more clearly the plight of another.
  4. We develop a spirit of hope and optimism. When we are lifted or lift another into the hands of God, we feel at peace because we are convinced God can conquer anything.
  5. We sense "belongingness" and significance. To say to another, "I am praying for you," is the sweetest sound imaginable — especially to a pastor from a member of his flock.
  6. We determine to do all we can to help be an answer to our own prayers. We do all in our power to become "laborers together with God" (1 Corinthians 3:9).
  7. We are obedient to the will of God, especially in the area of faithfulness. He desires to give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11).

The prayer of the intercessor cannot be restrained from the palaces of kings, the hovels of the poor, the homes of pastors or the habitat of a troubled teen. Intercessory prayer can penetrate even the most formidable strongholds of pain, sickness, discouragement and challenge.

I wonder why, with all of this power at our disposal, we do not pray more or seek to encourage others to pray for us. Paul wrote to Timothy, "I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone" (1 Timothy 2:1). And the prophet Samuel said, "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you" (1 Samuel 12:23).

Of course, there are times when we feel frustrated in prayer. We are only human. But we should never deny that the prayer of the intercessor is powerful and projects faith and love. The Psalmist says, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him" (Psalm 37:7). We must never doubt God's timing.

Picture two rooms separated by a wall. In one room, there is a person in need and, in the next, there is God. As an intercessor in the hallway, you can see each of them. The wall might be sin, unbelief, sickness, a spirit of bitterness or even discouragement. But you, the intercessor, can literally reach around the wall, taking the hand of God and the hand of man and putting them together. That is why the great men and women of prayer say the prayer of intercession is the greatest of all prayers.

Who prays for you, my friend? I have a colleague who prays for me every day by name. I am blessed. What an awesome gift God has granted me.

I love you, pastor. I pray for you. I value you more than you will ever know. Like Peter, Satan wants to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith would not fail.

Taken from Pastor to Pastor newsletter, June 1995.
Article copyright © 1995, Focus on the Family.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Dr. H.B. London is the vice president of Pastoral Ministries for Focus on the Family and the author of numerous books on and for pastors. He served as a Nazarene pastor for over 30 years in several churches in Oregon and California. He and his wife, Beverley, live primarily in Colorado Springs, Colo., and have two sons and four grandchildren.