Intercessory Prayers: Trust & Confidence (7/7)

Intercessory Prayers: Trust & Confidence 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. [1 John 5:14-15]

Faith and trust are the foundation of intercessory prayers. We believe that God has the power to answer prayers, that praying is the appropriate means of obtaining God’s favor.

The first stone in prayer is confidence. He who would pray must first believe. [Martin Luther].

Faith is not based on dogma or defined by theology. On the contrary, rituals and doctrines are demonstrations that document faith. Moving our body to bow before God and training our intellect to recite memorized phrases do not provide the certainty that intercessory prayers require.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, which is moved and carried about by the wind. Therefore let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is inconstant in all his ways. [James 1:4-8 (DRA)].

Emotions & Intercessory Prayers

To come before God to plead as a disinterested, self-serving advocate is totally ineffective. Intercessory prayers require that we be fervent, passionate and anxious in petitioning.

Hear my prayer, O LORD, listen to my cry for help; be not deaf to my weeping. [Psalm 39:12 (NIV)].

Tearful supplication clothes our entreaties with anguish. Tears and weeping show our total dependence on God. Our plea is not based on any merit or rational argument. We rely totally on the great mercy of our Lord.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. [James 5:16 (KJV)].

Our sorrow flows from spiritual pain that comes from our love of God and of our fellow human being. When our compassion and piety generate spiritual pain, we can be certain that God will respond

Having established a permanent connection to the Divine Presence, we do not experience doubts. Our certainty flows from a continual remembrance of God. Our inner faith is insulated from worldly disturbances.

The confidence we have in our intercessory prayers depends on our connection to and relationship with God. It functions in a spiritual dimension and is an emotional condition that we neither understand nor control.

Whoso intercedes with a good intercession shall receive a share of it; whosoever intercedes with a bad intercession, he shall receive the like of it; God has power over everything. [Quran 4:85].

Compassion of Intercessory Prayers

Compassion is a second essential element of intercessory prayers. Sharing in suffering defines compassion. It embodies emotions that God has imbued with power to elevate prayers.

The royal way to enlarge personal grace is to pray for others. Intercessory prayer is a means of grace to those who exercise it. We enter the richest fields of spiritual growth and gather its priceless riches in the avenues of intercessory prayer. To pray for men is of divine nomination, and represents the highest form of Christian service. [Edward M. Bounds, Weapon of Prayer, Ch. VI].

We pray for our family and friends, for those ill or in danger, but also for our enemies and for those who have died.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people … [1 Timothy 2:1].

Imagine yourself being in someone’s prayer. Imagine being not just in their thoughts, but in their supplications, their worship, their sincere petitions to God.

Only when we have the courage to cross the road and look into one another’s eyes can we see there that we are children of the same God and members of the same human family. [Henri J. M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey]

Our compassion houses pity, commiseration, empathy, sympathy and kindness. It is a vault for heartfelt awareness of another person’s pain and a vehicle for our strong desire to relieve it.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received t, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. [Mark 11:24-25 (ESV)].

The God-given energy of compassion elevates our thought process far beyond intellectual dimensions. We soar into the spiritual realm of angels and saints, whose intercession finds ready access to the Divine Audience.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience [Colossians 3:12 (ESV)].

Praising and Thanking God

Our intercessory prayer should begin and end with praise and thanks for God. Praising God is a prayer, in itself, and part of our unceasing life of worship.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God [Philippians 4:6 (NIV)].

Alhamdu lillah means “All praise is due to God,” and corresponds to the Hebrew phrase Halelu Yah (Hallelujah). It is a phrase always on the lips of a believer, but particularly valued when petitioning God.

More than mere words, praising and thanking is an attitude. It is a  state of mind that has absorbed the Divine Reality and is no longer distracted by transient illusions. Being always in a state of gratitude — wherever we are, whatever we are doing — keeps us connected to God and to the miraculous power of prayers.

… I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth [Psalms 34:1].

To get even a slight glimpse of God’s mercy as a result of our supplications is a great privilege that deserves everlasting gratitude. When we experience such a blessing, we fall prostrate in adoration and praise God. We raise our arms proclaiming God’s glory and magnificence to the world.

As we thank and praise God, we discard our usual self-centered perspective and acknowledge the marvelous works that God brings forth in our life. Praising God humbles us, yet it also elevates us to  a domain available only to those who come with humility and are grateful.

… they will say: “All praise is due to God, who has caused all sorrow to leave us: for, verily, our Sustainer is indeed much-forgiving, ever-responsive to gratitude…” [Quran 35:34].

Our response to whatever good we think our prayers accomplish must be to proclaim God’s grace and mercy, and must be filled with praise and thankfulness.

I will extol thee, my God and my King, and bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day I will bless thee, and praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.  [Psalm 145:1-3].

We praise and thank God for allowing us to petition Him at all times, for being ever-present to hear our supplications, and for accepting our intercessory prayers.

I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. [Psalm 118:21 ].

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