I wonder how many people never realize why a blessing came to them—that’s one of the mysteries of intercessory prayer. People praying for other people, who may have not prayed themselves, and blessing happens.
I think it’s interesting to read what Mark 4:36 says, “Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him (emphasis mine).” This is the beginning of the story about when Jesus stilled the sea. Typically we look at the disciples and their reaction. Or, we look to Jesus and his calming of the storm. We don’t, however, notice that there were other ships with them. We don’t realize that since there was this horrible storm, they suffered in it as well. The other ships not only suffered, they benefited from Jesus calming and may have never known how the calming came about.
Here they were, boating on the Sea of Galilee, and when the storm came down so violently, they were also tossed by the waves and in danger of being drowned. Then, when Jesus said, “Peace be still!” and there was a great calm, they enjoyed the benefit of the calm.
They felt the peace of God without knowing how it came to them. They may have wondered if it was an answer to prayer, but whose prayer?
They may never know and likewise, we often don’t know who is praying for us and what blessings we receive as a result of someone’s intercession for us. That’s the power and the supernatural mystery of intercessory prayer.
S.D. Gordon (1859–1936) was a popular writer and speaker. In his book Quiet Talks on Prayer he wrote, “Communion and petition fix and continue one’s relation to God, and so prepare for the great out-reaching form of prayer-intercession. Prayer begins with the first two but reaches its climax in the third. Communion and petition are self-wide. Intercession is worldwide in it’s reach . . . the heart of the true follower has caught the warm contagion of the heart of God and reaches out hungrily for the world. Intercession is the climax of prayer.”[i]
From the days of Abraham forward God’s people have interceded for others. Jesus prayed for others and he taught His disciples to do the same—even for their enemies. The apostle Paul encouraged intercessory prayer for others. In fact, if you do some digging you’ll find that of all the prayers in the Bible, a large proportion of them are intercessory.
Our takeaway from this is easy—devote a significant amount of our time in prayer for others. While we can dedicate some time to our own needs, as James Hastings wrote, “It would seem that while all prayer is welcome in heaven—all true prayer, that is—a special welcome awaits the prayers we offer, not for ourselves, but for others.”[ii]
Will you join me in intercessory prayer? Will you give more of your time to pray for others than yourself? It’s easy, here’s a partial list of prayer needs:
- The sick hurting in our midst at Grace Chapel
- The city, county, state and national leaders
- Your neighbors and their salvation, or rededication to Jesus
- The local church and the church around the world
Join me in praying for others and discover an essential key to experiencing God more closely.