“We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,” Colossians 1:3
The prison epistles of Paul reveal more about an intercessor than a prisoner. Many have counted his prison years as wasted time, but Paul invested them in prayer.
Imprisonment drove Paul to his knees. What others saw as a disastrous interruption to Paul’s calling, he received and perceived to be a Divine appointment. In prison Paul found a new level of freedom. His body was shackled, but by praying in The Spirit, his heart was free to communicate with The Father, on behalf of The Body of Christ. Prayer didn’t prepare Paul to be a better preacher. It made him an intercessor.
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” Oswald Chambers
Over the years, men have placed great value on preaching, but God places his highest value on prayer. Preachers who value the sound of their own voice, over hearing the voice of God, may not run out of words, but they won’t speak with authority.
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Martin Luther
In Paul’s letter to the Church at Colossae, prayer emerges as the dominant pre-occupation of his life. A similar theme is expressed about his life, in his intimate letters to the churches of Ephesus and Philippi. In praying for others, Paul did not miss out on the blessings of God. Men and women of faith have never been short-changed by spending time with God in prayer. They have found it life-changing.
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking, and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.” C.S. Lewis
Writing about prayer, reading about prayer, studying about prayer may inform a person about intercession, but they do not give a person a heart for it. Paul wrote about his prayer life, after he had invested years of standing in the gap for others. Hearing the needs of others was a call to battle for Paul. He had the heart of a prayer warrior. Those who have such a heart are drawn to intercession.
“Prayer is where the action is.” John Wesley
Paul was never more grateful for answered prayer, than when it arrived in the lives of others, as a result of his personal intercession for them.
Parents understand intercession, and have personal passion for this kind of prayer. When their children are safe and secure, parents are at peace. While their little ones are out of their eye-sight, they are still on their hearts. If their children are in danger, parents have restless hearts, and sleepless nights, but they are rarely prayerless.
“No place is closed to intercession…There is no power on earth that can keep intercession out.” Richard Halverson
Note to self: With books on prayer increasing every day, check for tear stains and blood stains on the manuscript. Avoid ghost written books on prayer. Read books written by men and women full of the Holy Ghost. Ghost-written words may contain truth, but fail to release Holy Ghost power. Only go to war with field-tested weapons.
Giving thanks and answered prayer are so closely aligned, they appear inseparable. Nothing improves a prayer life or grows a prayer meeting like answered prayer. Prayers solely invested in one’s own survival begin to sound like the annoying chirp of a parakeet. The pre-concert warbling of a diva preparing for the spotlight has a similar sound, “Me-me-me-me.”
“Four things let us ever keep In mind; God hears prayer, God heeds prayer, God answers prayer, and God delivers by prayer.” E.M.Bounds
Intercession begins with the letter “I”, but that is where the focus on “I” ends. Intercession starts with “I” but finishes with “U.”
“…praying always for you.” Philippians 1:3
From the moment genuine intercession begins, it focuses on others, expects results, responds in gratitude, gives God the glory and it never ends. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!