May 27 I Thursday
2 Chronicles 1-3
“On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favour granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”—2 Corinthians 1:10-11
How often do we pray for others? Oswald J. Smith acknowledges the ministry of intercession is anything but easy. His book, entitled I Have Walked Alone with Jesus, contains daily devotions. His entry on January 1st reads:
“Intercessory prayer is without doubt not only the highest form of Christian service but also the hardest kind of work. To the person who is not an intercessor, such a statement seems absurd. Prayer to most people is looked upon as an easy occupation. Difficulties are unknown. But that is because they know nothing at all of the ministry of intercession. Their prayers for the most part are centered upon themselves, their loved ones and their own personal interests with an occasional petition for the perishing world…Their prayer life is spasmodic. It is considered a side issue and is readily neglected if other things demand attention. Such a person is in no way affecting the kingdom of Satan. Hence prayer, so-called, is easy.
But the Christian who enters upon the ministry of intercession will pass through a very different experience. Satan will do everything in his power to hinder and obstruct. There will be a conscious realization of his presence and opposition…Then, too, discouragement will cross our pathway…We pray on for a certain time and then because the answer does not come, we grow discouraged and give up.
Thus Satan uses his most successful weapon against us and breaks down our determination to become intercessors. Then, when all else has failed, he will burden us with Christian work... Satan would rather have us work than pray anytime. Full well he knows that prayerless work will be powerless and fruitless. Hence if he can keep us busy so that we do not have time to pray he will have accomplished his purpose.”
Intercessory prayer is work, a battle against Satan. Paul tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but…against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms….pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:12, 18). All of Paul’s prayers on behalf of others were for things only the Holy Spirit can give. The world we live in today desperately needs the work of the Holy Spirit. We can tune in to the news on any given day of the week and have plenty of reason to make the ministry of intercession a must in our lives. From the heart and hub of our prayers and alignment with God, we are able to minister to the world.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I am saddened by the strife and suffering in this world, and ask for discipline in making far more time for the ministry of intercession. Thank You, Lord, as You answer and grant favour.