by Dane Massey
(Dane Massey is the former Pastor of Mulvane Christian Church. He is now in ministry in Houston, Texas.)
Matthew Henry said it best, “When God intends to bless His people the first thing He does is set them a-praying.”
Prayer. Intercessory prayer. Our Father desires it, our Savior deserves it, and we, our neighbors and nation desperately need it in these troubled times!
John Wesley said, “God does nothing without prayer and everything by it.” D.L. Moody said, “Every great work of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.”
We know these things to be true, yet prayer seems so elusive, so hard to maintain, sporadic, without passion, without endurance, and quickly put out like a flickering flame in a cold, dark and dreary mist. It sputters to life, flares up for moment with great promise, but quickly dies back.
Think about the sacrifice, the cross, all that it says and all that was accomplished there. The sacrifice is not only the basis for our forgiveness it is the ground for our intercession!
Consider what the Lord promises.
“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence
And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62: 6-7 KJV)
Matthew Henry was right. God sets His people to prayer. He is the initiator of true prayer.
He places His watchmen where He wants. Why upon the wall? Because He intends for them to see the danger afar off. Why? So they can persistently, passionately, and persuasively plead with Him. This is His doing, His idea!
True prayer begins in the heart of God, descends to the heart of the intercessor by the Spirit, and returns to the throne of God in the Spirit through the blood of Christ. The prayer is merely the conduit.
So what does the sacrifice, the Cross, have to do with prayer, real intercessory prayer?
Everything! If I desire to truly enter into intercessory prayer I must begin where intercession begins and ends, the Cross!
This is what true intercession looks like, where its plea begins, where its passion is sustained, where its perseverance is fueled, its promise ignited.
My intercessory plea has nothing to do with what I need or desire. It has to do with God’s will, His desire.
My plea is calling God to the great truth that this is what He gave His Son for. This was His and His Son’s heart before He ever created, for Christ was the “Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”
He created knowing, allowing, (and already in His heart) making provision for sin. He intended to demonstrate His great love and to bring glory to His grace through His Son on the cross.
Intercessory prayer is bringing the lost, the hurting, the bound, the poor, and the oppressed before His throne and pleading the blood, the death of His Son over them.
These are why Jesus died! He was wounded for their transgression, He was bruised for their iniquities, His stripes were for their healing, He was manifested to destroy the work of the enemy, He came and died that they might be set free.
Can such a view of the cross not keep us on the “wall” of prayer day and night? Will it not make us give the Father no rest until He glorify His Son and fill the earth with His glory?
This is true intercession! This is the prayer the Father desires to hear, will hear, and will answer!
This is where the great battle of the ages is waged. This is where the enemy of the souls of men is engaged and here is where he trembles!
How dare we show up at the cross with our “grocery list” and a weak, apathetic plea?
Father teach us to pray! May we meet at the throne of the cross this week!