Thursday, December 15, 2011

Prayer for Others

This last message in Min. David Pawson's series on prayer addresses praying for others or intercessory prayer.
  • When we intercede for others, we are completing a circuit between Heaven and earth for God's power to flow on that person's behalf.
  • Angels are also involved in the circle of power in intercessory prayer.
  • Why we pray for others.  Our motives for prayer can get so mixed up that prayer can be perverted by self-interest.
  • We also must be careful not to pray at others due to self-righteousness.  It can be easy to preach in our prayers at others who we feel are "not as spiritual" as ourselves. 

    SIDE NOTE:  Min. Pawson addresses by way of example here someone who may be unequally yoked.  He asks such persons to question the motives of their prayer for the unbelieving spouse.  Is it because you want to be happy? Because you want to have a "Christian" marriage?  Because you want things to be easier for you?  Those are selfish motivations.

    Once again, I can so testify to the truth of his words.  Before my husband came to know the Lord, I prayed for him to be saved out of similar soulish motivations.  God actually instructed me to stop praying for his salvation for some time while He worked on me in this area.  Then, when God felt that I could offer that prayer from a pure heart (one more concerned about my husband's well-being than my own), he allowed (rather He commanded) me to cry out for my husband's salvation.

    For those who are unequally yoked, Min. Pawson suggests that instead of praying for them to be changed, thank God for every good quality in the unbelieving spouse and pray for yourself to be changed.  Make the focus of your prayer that God make you a better husband or wife.  I think that is very sound advice.

  • Prayer is not a way to manipulate others or to get them to do what you want them to do (which is witchcraft by the way).  Prayer does not force a situation, but it does reinforce what God is doing.
  • There are only two proper motives for praying for others: 1) The Glory of God; and 2) The good of the other person.  To test your motives, ask yourself, "What would I be willing to lose to have my prayer answered?"
  • Who we should pray for. There are two groups of people there is no use in praying for:
    • Those who have died.  This is a pagan practice which has crept into Christianity.  The decisive period in a man's life is between the cradle and the grave.  We are judged for the things done "in the body".   Prayers of the dead for us and our prayers for the dead are ruled out by the word of God.
    • Christians who have so committed apostasy that they have committed the sin unto death. (I John 5:16).  
  • Scriptures indicate that we should pray for the following:
    • Our enemies.  Those who don't like us or those we don't like.
    • Workers for the Lord.  Pray that there will be workers and pray that the same will be bold & given a door of utterance by the Lord.
    • Politicians and government leaders
    • The physically sick
  • Let the Lord lead you about whom to pray for.
  • Never say, "I'll pray for you." and then don't do so.
  • What we should pray for.  What people want and what they need are two different things.  Don't pray for the symptoms, but ask God for wisdom of the cause and pray for that.
  • When praying for someone else, you are to seek to pray for their highest good.  This means that you might wind up praying for something that causes them pain or discomfort.
  • Ultimately, you need the Holy Spirit to reveal what should be prayed for others.
  • How we should pray for others.  We can make our intercession effective by praying more deeply (qualitatively), not by praying for longer times or with more people (quantitatively).
  • Deep prayer costs the person who is praying something.  The effectiveness of our prayer for someone else is in direct ratio to the cost.  This is why Jesus said that certain demons can only out by prayer and fasting; there is a cost in self-denial.
  • Prayer can be even more effective with physical contact.  Laying on of hands is not a symbol, it is a reality because power does flow through that way.
  • Just as virtue came out of Jesus when the woman touched the hem of His garment, real intercessory prayer will make you tired and take spiritual strength from you.  This is why it is important to pray that we be continually filled.
  • When you ask in prayer for somebody else, be prepared for God to tell you to be the answer to the prayer.  This is why each prayer of intercession should end with, "Lord, here am I."

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