This week we’ve been meditating on putting others first, and the Lord led me to focus on my intercessory prayer life.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.Philippians 2:3-4
My Reflections on Intercession
I asked the Spirit to search me for ways I need to be better at putting others first. Is it in deed? In service? Is it monetarily?
He answered with “prayer.” That stumped me a bit, because I’ve never felt I have the spiritual gift of intercession. Of course I pray for people, but I wouldn’t have thought that would be the answer for me to love people better. I’m more of a “let’s have coffee and talk” type supporter.
But prayer lays the emotional and spiritual groundwork for service and sacrifice–doesn’t it? When you’re in prayer for one another in your inner room before you meet, your heart comes in-line with God’s view of each other. He establishes His love in the spiritual realm, and then you build upon that in the physical world.
There are a lot of resources out there about prayer and intercession. And as I’ve mentioned, I’m far from being an expert. But I’ve tried many things, and I can share with you what has worked and what hasn’t . . . and what I think the Lord is telling me to improve on.
What hasn’t worked–Intricate Plans
Complicated prayer lists: These are structured forms (whether I made it or someone else did) with a place for the name, request, date and an “answered prayer” section. I know these work really well for some people, and I see the value in them–that’s why I’ve tried it so many times! But I can’t remember to go back and fill everything in. And I get bored reading down a list day after day.
Set time of Day: Many people incorporate intercession in their morning prayer time. This comes and goes for me depending on how much I need to talk to the Lord about myself–that may be selfish, but true. I simply run out of time. And it also begins feeling like one more thing to check off my list.
Two Categories: I have a simple book by my prayer chair with two categories: friends/family and requests. I pray over these two categories very differently.
Friends/Family: I have about 20 people/issues on the first page of my booklet that I pray over every day. For my kids and husband, I choose scripture verses to pray over them. I change those out as the Spirit moves me–usually when they lose their freshness and become rote. For the rest, I simply hold an image of each person, couple, or family in my mind and offer them up to the Lord. I allow the Spirit to search and guide me as needed. This is always part of my morning time.
Requests: I keep a list going of requests, and mark them off as the Spirit leads me or I hear of a resolution. The thing is, I don’t actually pray over every single one in one sitting every day.
I could be wrong . . . maybe that’s what you’re supposed to do, but that becomes legalistic to me.
Instead, I find ways to bring them with me into my day and lift up prayers as I go. Very often, I write them into my planner or find a connection in my own life to trigger a reminder. For instance:
- If someone has a stressful meeting coming up, I put it in my planner to pray for them that day (or the day before).
- If someone is struggling with a teenager, I pray for them when I see my teenager.
- Pain in their foot? I lift them up when I put my shoes on.
- And I always pray immediately when I first hear of the need.
It can be a lot to remember, so keeping a list is important, and I check it every day for a refresher. But I’ve found the key to my consistency is simplifying and bringing them into my day.
What I Need to Improve
I have a long way to go on this journey to being a good intercessor! These are the things the Lord has laid on my heart:
Prioritize: That secondary list of requests needs to be better attended to. I think the rhythm of it works well for me, but I need to make sure it remains a priority and not an afterthought.
Additions: I feel the Lord is asking me to add more people to that first page of family and friends.
Quiet: The Lord is directing me toward more silence on behalf of people before I jump in with their needs. Just like I do for myself, I need to allow the Spirit more time to intercede on their behalf.
Love with Prayer
I may not be a gifted intercessor, but I’m a wife, mother, friend, ministry leader, and team member. I have a lot of people in my life whose needs I want to humbly put before my own. Sometimes that’s through service, through time, through encouragement, or through giving. But always, it’s through prayer.
I’m always looking for new and better ways to pray . . . I’d love to hear yours!
I’d love to hear what you’ve been meditating on this week. Were you focused on our weekly verse? Or did the Lord lead you somewhere else?
Feel free to comment here or in our Facebook group.
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