What Is Intercessory Prayer

I want to invite you to join me in being an interventionist--to join in on the ongoing healing of the world.

At Rethink Church, we like to provide spiritual practices that connect our souls with the world around us. One way is through a practice known as intercessory prayer.

What does that mean?

Well, intercessory prayer, really simply described, is offering a request for God--generally on behalf of others.

So really, it’s praying about the needs of the world around us. Sometimes we do that for our selves like “God, here’s what I hope for today…” Sometimes we pray on behalf of someone we love, like “God, give comfort and relief to my sick friend…” Sometimes our prayers are for groups of strangers.

Now, you may have more questions. Particularly, you may be asking “If God is all-seeing and all-powerful, then why would I need to pray in order for God to do something?” That’s a great question.

A similar one might be “If God is so good, then wouldn’t God be in action already?”

Totally valid question.

I think we need to admit that our prayers generally do not change God. Rather, our prayers change us.

There was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, and theologian named Blaise Pascal. He lived in the 1600’s… and seems to have been one of those people with just immense mental capabilities. In thinking about the effects of prayer, this scientific thinker said,

“In calling us to pray for one another, God has extended to us the dignity of becoming causes.”

Our prayers are not without effect. Prayer is an activity of alignment… it aligns us to God’s hopes and heart, it helps us to see how we may be involved in the world around as God’s agents in the world.

So intercessory is not some throw-away, give-it-to-God and leave-it-alone kind of thing. Intercessory prayer is meddlesome. It exposes us to how we can be in action on God’s behalf.

This is how prayer builds relationship. God’s goal is loving relationship--both in having a relationship with us… and also with us having loving relationships with one another. 

When we do intercessory prayer, we are coming alongside God in the activity of building loving relationship. There’s power in that.

I tell you what, the most meddlesome of intercessory prayers might be a line we likely pray all the time: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

This line isn’t some kind of acquiescence to just letting things happen however they’re going to happen. Instead, this is more like an invitation where we open ourselves to being co-workers alongside God.

If we really mean that we want God’s will to be done, then we have to agree to work with God in accomplishing that. 

So let’s start with that dangerous little prayer as we begin this week of focused intercession. 

God, may your will be done today… in me… with me… 

[Posted by Rev Ryan Dunn, July 19, 2019]