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Archive for April 12th, 2009

Praying Down the Kingdom:

The Prayer of Intercession …   by Jorge Madrid Sr.

(Posted with author’s permission)

Moses in Intercession

Moses in Intercession

There are forces of darkness in the spiritual realm that actively oppose any effort to bring people into the Kingdom of Light. Occasionally, when we pray the prayer of petition and don’t receive answers it is sometimes due to the opposition by the forces of darkness. Again, if we ask for discernment in such cases, the Lord will reveal to us the existence of such opposition. In such cases, our mode of prayer needs to move from that of petition to that of intercession. The prayer of intercession brings to bear the forces of Heaven to break the power of resistance that the Love of God and His Kingdom of Light might be made manifest in this world (eg. Daniel 10:12-13).

From what I now understand, I see that my prayers prior to my spiritual revitalization were merely like self-centered whimpers to God to provide me some necessity or to help me in some life crisis of the moment. Occasionally I would pray for someone near and dear to me out of the human compassion I felt for his or her plight. But it never occurred to me that God had in mind a greater destiny for our prayers, a destiny that involved God wanting to use our prayers to bring His Kingdom to manifestation. After all, I thought, God is sovereign and he is working out His plan for this world through whatever process that He wants and we fallible humans mainly just tend to get in His way.  It did not occur to me that since we are the Body of Christ and since the Son always completed what He saw the Father doing, we also must be about bringing to completion His saving work in this world. This work cannot be accomplished without prayer because it is through prayer that the Lord reveals to us what He is about, namely, the bringing forth of His Kingdom.

The bringing forth of His Kingdom is very much likened to a human birthing process where after conception and a gestation process of nine months a new human life is brought forth to this world. Similarly, after Jesus’ Ascension, the word of God took seed in the still disempowered, but expectant, group of disciples and after nine days of intercession and travail the Lord brought forth from the community a fully empowered church, His Body in this world.

This process of intercession is still the means God uses to bring forth spiritual life. Paul, in exclaiming to the Galatians, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19), indicated that once again he was in intercession for them that they might be brought to spiritual maturity in Christ. Similarly, comparing intercessory prayer to wrestling, he tells the Colossians that, “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured”(Col. 4:12) .

Unfortunately, for the most part, the average member in the modern church does not relate to true intercessory prayer because he or she does not know what it means nor have they ever seen it practiced. The most they can conceive of is some sort of prayer of petition, which may have to be repeated, over and over again. We need to understand that the prayer of intercession is to the prayer of petition as an Olympic cross-country race is to a morning jog.

To the Galatians, Paul uses the terms of a woman’s travail to convey the intensity involved in the prayer of intercession.  For a woman who has given birth knows exactly what travail means and can relate to that. In today’s modern environment the “travail” of intercession has more meaning for women than for men. For that reason women are more open to intercessory prayer than men because they can relate directly to the birthing process. Paul, in addressing the Colossians, attempts to convey the process of intercession to men by the use of the term “wrestling”. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul also refers to intercession when he says , “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”(Eph. 6:12) .

Intercession is a mediation between God and man. As such it can only be undertaken under the High Priestly role of Jesus the Messiah. For He alone is the One Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5) .  However, when Christ became our life, we also took on His priestly role as it applies to our responsibilities in life. For instance as a husband and father I have been given the role as “priest” for my family. In that role it is my privilege, nay, my obligation, to intercede for my family. Paul as an apostle of Christ exercised his priestly role by interceding for the churches he planted. Similarly, when the pastor of a church senses that there is a need to bring spiritual revival to his community, he has the privilege of praying down God’s kingdom through the prayer of intercession. He can delegate this privilege or gift to any person or group he chooses. Usually a group is selected because deep intercession is spiritually draining and the members of a group help to sustain one another in intercession.

Besides praying for guidance for the pastoral team, such a group first begins by praying for a spirit of intercession to come on them so that the Holy Spirit praying through them can intercede for the new work. The Holy Spirit responds by placing a prayer burden on the group so that they identify themselves personally with what God wishes to bring forth work from this effort. The Holy Spirit leads them in identifying the major obstacles that need to be submitted to prayer so that these “mountains” can be moved to ensure the effort’s success. Each member of the group becomes so personally identified with their intercession that they continue praying individually even during their daily activities. Each time the group meets the members share their prayer experiences and the leader coordinates the praying to focus on what the Spirit is leading the group to pray during each particular period. As the prayer achieves successes in the spiritual realm, the Holy Spirit lightens the prayer burden until final success is achieved. Although the results of the intercession may not be immediately evident, the prayer participants know that the battle has been won and move on to other prayer assignments.

Of course, deep intercession may take many forms depending on the circumstances. For instance when the Israelites sinned against God and God wanted to destroy them it was Moses who stood in the breach to keep God’s wrath from destroying them (Ps. 106:23) . When the armies of Israel were facing an implacable foe such as the Amalekites, Moses, Aaaron, and Hur interceded to God for victory (Ex 17:10) . When Israel was in captivity and their fate was uncertain was it not Daniel who interceded for the nation ? In His High Priestly prayer Jesus interceded not only for his disciples but also for all those who believe in their message . Whatever the case, we dare not undertake any spiritual endeavor without some level of intercessory prayer. How can we fulfill our destiny to be the channels by which the Lord brings His Kingdom into manifestation if we ignore the very tools he gave us to accomplish His work?

Today the Lord is again saying, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none” (Ezek. 22:30) .

I pray that all of us may be called to intercession so that we, as a Kingdom of Priests (1Ptr. 2:9), may pray down His Kingdom into a world that is in dire need of His Peace and His Love! Amen.

(excerpted from “Thy Kingdom Come”  by Jorge Madrid Sr.; © 2003 Madrid Family Trust, all rights reserved)

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