Focal passage: Matthew 6:11b; John 17:11-23
“Sure, thank you for telling me. I will pray for you.”
How many times have we said this – including myself – and not actually done it? Though we may not practice it perfectly, we know the ministry of intercession through prayer can be powerful in people’s lives.
Charles Spurgeon said, “No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” Prayers of intercession can thus be a way to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).
As we’ve been studying prayer in the life of a disciple, we have learned to pray to God – to pray with power, and to pray about ourselves. Now, as we move to intercession, our hearts begin to respond to God and knit our hearts closer to those we pray for.
A great example of intercessory prayer is in John 17. Jesus prays for you and me (v. 20), clarifying that this, coupled with the Lord’s Prayer, should be a communal practice for all believers. Jesus prayed that His disciples would be “kept in your name” – an intercession of spiritual protection.
There are many obstacles to spiritual growth, so we must continually pray for protection (vv. 11-16). However, we must also pray for the spiritual growth of others (vv. 17-19).
Jesus prays for His disciples to be unified around the mission and to be sent into the harvest. I can verify personally, some of the best moments in ministry are watching God move others toward personal, spiritual growth. Lastly, we must pray for unity (vv. 20-23). This unity must be around the same mission and the same zeal for the glory of God!
Let’s keep praying! It is an honor to continually bring before Jesus people that we come in contact with, inside or outside of the church. Based on John 17, intercession becomes prayer to God for others’ physical and spiritual needs, for protection, and for God’s glory to show in their lives specifically.