Here are some thoughts from my latest column at Patheos about why and how you should intercede in prayer for others...
It’s like when the doctor asks, “Tell me where it hurts?” All the patient has to do is point to the boo-boo. Intercession is like that…. People don’t have give a lot of elaboration, they just need to point and say… “This…”
“He’s sick and waiting on the lab reports...”
“I need a job…”
“He got arrested…”
“I’m getting a divorce…”
“We lost the baby…”
“I might have failed my class…”
“My father is dying…”
“My son is in the military…”
“I hate my coach…”
The interior logic of intercession leads to love. For some people, that might be an unintended consequence, but the law of love is always within the will of God.
So, this is only advice I can give: When you choose to actively pray for someone, prepare yourself to love him or her. If you already love someone, prepare to love them even more. And if you pray for someone that you do not love or like -- be it a difficult boss, an annoying relative, or someone who has trespassed against you -- prepare to see signs of love or peace breaking through, even when you’d rather resist. You might not see changes in that person or their circumstances, but you will soon find that you cannot pray for someone in a detached way. It will move your heart in ways that might be surprising and sympathetic, especially if it leads to forgiveness, or freedom, or healing.
I think that is exactly why Jesus asked his followers to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. (See Mt. 5:44.) He knew that intercession builds bridges between the painful stuff of earth and the mighty throne of heaven. Intercession works reflexively to benefit both parties, building a spiritual connection, a relationship woven invisibly by the Spirit.
Intercessory prayer, the practice of standing in the gap between what is seen by our earthly clay and unseen behind heaven’s veil -- be it for a few minutes, hours, or even years -- is a sublime gift weightier than worldly measures. It is an entering into God’s economy and surrendering to his channels of grace.Read the whole thing here.