Years ago, when I had half the number of children I do now, I sent the kids into their rooms for nap time. I felt led to enter into a time of intercessory prayer, but quite frankly, I did not feel like it. I was tired, and it was an uncomfortably hot summer day. However, in obedience, I entered my room and began to ask the Lord what to intercede for.
Initially, there was just silence, and I was tempted to just turn on the television. But, I asked again, “Lord, what should I be praying for?” And the Lord responded, “What do you want?”
Even though I knew I heard Him correctly, I was dumbfounded. What do I want? Up until this day, I thought prayer was just about me asking for whatever the Lord wanted to give! Or, it was just me rambling on about what I needed, hoping one or two would “make it” to God’s throne room. I didn’t think that what I wanted mattered. Little did I know, the Lord was teaching me a life-changing lesson that afternoon.
After exploring my heart, I realized that there were, indeed, things in my heart that I wanted God to address. I wanted peace and unity in my church community. I wanted protection over the missionaries I knew. I wanted provision for my children and so on.
As I began to pour the desires of my heart out to the Lord, I felt the anointing for intercession upon me. I felt empowered, not drained. I wasn’t checking the time to see how long I’ve been praying. Rather, I became lost in His Presence, and felt that I truly had an audience with the King of Kings.
I’ve been an intercessor for quite some time, but it wasn’t until this day that I became an effective one. It was because I ceased to pray religiously and began to pray intimately.
Intimacy is the fruit of two people who both trust that they mutually care about each other’s desires.
Nothing is more intimate than when Jesus says, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 15:14).
Talk about a command! Anything, Lord?
First of all, to truly understand this verse, we must be mindful of Jesus’ audience. He shared this command with His friends who obeyed Him because they loved Him. They obeyed Him because their love for Him went as far as to caring about what He desired. In turn, He asked His friends to pray for the things they desired, in His name.
Too many Christians rob themselves of the pure joy of prayer because they just see it as a religious offering to God. They see it as giving when all He does is take. Therefore, it becomes too easy to approach prayer as nothing more than a draining chore.
However, prayer is not just a doing. Rather, it is a meeting.
It is not just a discipline. It is a joy.
All children of God are invited to partake in this joy, and the coming posts in this Soul Food series will explore the practical steps in doing so.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)