Intercessory Prayer – What is intercessory prayer?

Prayer is a personal thing, how each of us do it will reflect our character and the unique way that God made us. In many places the Bible talks about prayer, but today I want to focus on what is intercessory prayer. A phrase sometimes people frown at or misunderstand and consider that intercessory prayer is something some super holy people do. The reality? We are all intercessors! I hope to share with you today how you can be encouraged about intercessory prayer and understand what it is.

Let’s start with prayer itself.

Prayer is our ability to talk to God, to invite him into our day to day lives and express what is on our hearts. It’s recognising that you’re just having a conversation. But this conversation is with someone who not only cares about you deeply but wants the absolute best for you no matter what.

Prayer is something that is also put on a pedestal, and we are led to believe that we need to do it, say it, act it in a certain way. It took me many years to recognise that prayer is about how I live my life with Jesus, not how someone else does it. The Bible gives us the tools we need, most importantly the Lord’s Prayer, as our anchor and springboard to create our prayers. When we can grasp how simple prayer can be in our life, we can begin to understand about what intercessory prayer is.

Two people facing each other joining hands in intercessory prayer.

Do you pray for others?

The dictionary describes the word ‘intercessory’ as having the function of interceding. Interceding is about acting or interposing on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble. Think about when you pray, what do you pray for? Are praying for anyone else at all? Then you are interceding and creating an intercessory prayer!!

Ezekiel 22.30 is a great place to look at this in more detail. It says –

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

Ezekiel recorded these words from God. God went looking for someone to stand in the gap for sinful Jerusalem. This is a brilliant example of what we can do in our own lives. Do you need to step into the gap when someone else can’t?

I love thinking of this as an image of shields. God’s armour is there to protect and ground us. The shield may offer some protection on its own, but when it joins with others it’s a mighty force. As we step out to pray for others, we are strengthening that shield and choosing to put on God’s armour.

Stop wondering what intercessory prayer is. You are already doing it. Those times you say you’ll pray for someone; you’re stepping in and strengthening that defence. Don’t be disheartened, be encouraged that you are already an intercessor!

A group of dancers reaching with their arms up all close together.

How can I deepen my understanding of what is intercessory prayer?

For this last bit I wanted to help demonstrate ways that you can be an intercessor when responding to scripture.

The Psalms are packed full of references to prayer. As this month we are focusing on the Psalms, I wanted to share some verses that specifically reference prayer and how they could help you be an intercessor!

Psalm 4.1 – Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

The key themes here that you can pray into someone for are – comfort to know that God is there, peace and trust that God will carry them through their distress.

Psalm 66.20 – Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

The key themes here that you can pray into someone for are – praise that God had heard their prayers and that God’s love is bigger than they know.

Psalm 141.2 – May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

The key themes to pray for someone here are – that the Holy Spirit will have the freedom to work in the areas that it’s needed and that the person will be thankful with how God is working.

I do hope this encourages you in your prayer life and stepping in the gap for others. Some of these blog posts might also be useful to you.

Intercessory Prayer – When prayer becomes a habit

As I was thinking through how to share about today’s topic, I was aware that we all come from varying backgrounds. We have all learnt or been taught in different ways, and various aspects about prayer will speak differently to each person. We all love Jesus, which in turn means we love His word. In His word it tells us simply how we should pray. It is our human nature that stops us from doing it so simply! During this blog post I want to encourage you with how you are already experiencing prayer. But if you feel like you are stuck in a rut hopefully these thoughts will help you to realise how prayer becomes a habit in a way that’s unique to you!

A quiet prayer space.

Let’s begin by looking straight at Gods word –

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,’”

Matthew 6.9

One very restless night this week when my mind wouldn’t settle and I just couldn’t get to sleep I started to think about this verse. Particularly the phrase ‘Our Father’.  What a clear statement it makes before leading into the Lords prayer, about how we should be ready. It’s doesn’t say that for prayer to become a habit you need to gather this, do this, say this etc. It simply says ‘Our Father’. Or, come Father come. This was the bit that sat in my head that night I wasn’t sleeping. When I was asking God, how do I share about when prayer becomes a habit. Is prayer a habit of mine? The answer was ‘yes, because you welcome me.’

Heart shape on floor with ribbons. Person praying.

Say His Name

Think about those times when you’ve needed your mother, father, or someone else close to you. What have you done to speak to them? You’ve called them by name and then shared with them what you wanted to.

Prayer isn’t some fancy thing that has to be done in a specific way. It’s a normal way of creating a conversation with someone, that someone just happens to be God. You don’t have to put a wall in between, remember the veil was torn down so now we can just talk to God. Our conversations allow us the opportunity for us to give our time to him. But often we have this preconceived idea that prayer has to be set up in a specific way for us to access it.

The reality is just about saying.

Our father.

Our father we welcome you into what’s happening right now.

Our father please help me right now.

Our father I give you praise for everything that has happened today, thank you.

Whilst it might seem a dramatic thing and a really hard thing to say that you can create habit from prayer. But if think of all the things that you do without thinking they are habits. Think about when you recall lyrics from worship songs, when you recall scripture, when you recall conversations with friends. They’re all things that have imprinted on your memory. Then just remember how you go about your life and you share your faith. That is a habit, it might not be a habit like we think habits are. But actually when prayer becomes a habit, it’s the ability for it to be a natural part of your day to day life. It’s the natural conversation between you and God it’s the chance just to say hello and welcome God into what’s happening.

The River of Peace. Blue material along floor inviting you to rest and pray.

So my biggest thing that I wanted to share with you about when prayer becomes a habit is…

When prayer becomes a habit you feel at peace. Peace because it isn’t something that you’re striving to do that’s unnatural, it’s something that’s natural to you so it doesn’t have to be set aside at specific times in the day. There’s a place for that don’t get me wrong, but actually the ability for prayer to become a habit involves us having the openness to allow God into every part of our lives. To share that throughout the day acknowledging him in those things as we go.

Not convinced that prayer is a habit for you? Try saying ‘Our Father’, or ‘Come, Father Come’, as you go about your day-to-day activities. Or when you hit those hard points in the day. You don’t have to say anything more. Just those two or three words!

These other posts might prove useful exploring prayer and everyday life:

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when prayer becomes a habit pinterest picture.