I remember the teacher we had in our D.T.S (click the link to find out what that is) mentioned how this is a literal standing between God and the world or person or people. So you, in a sense, are trying to bring God closer to the person/people by standing in the gap and pulling, pushing etc them closer as much as possible. It takes effort to do that. Which is why intercession should never be taken lightly. The synonym to this word is intervene (to occur or be between two things; mediate).
The next time you pray for someone or a group of people, keep in mind that you are doing more than just praying on their behalf. You are bringing them towards God to the best of your abilities. It’s not easy carrying someone on your back or shoulders for long distances, especially when climbing hills! I like to picture it like that so that when God moves on their behalf, I can feel like I crossed a huge milestone!
Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian. —Andrew Murray
I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.—John Wesley
“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.” John Brunyan
Prayer is earthly permission for heavenly interference– Myles Monroe
I love this. I was really moved when I heard it:
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Imagine being in battle and the enemy is invading your camp and tearing everything apart! To stand there and do nothing but simply watch (what was part of a huge part of your life, as) it all gets destroyed-valuables taken and very special and important people kidnapped (if fortunate)-is a tragedy too hard to bear. Where was/is your heart? Where was your mind? What were you feeling? Pain? Anger?
The value of prayer
I remember a teacher at a seminar I went to saying that people very often tell you that they will pray for you when you ask them to and end up, 9 times out of 10, not doing it. It’s both funny and sad, but more sad than funny.
Solomon was praying for God’s people, Israel, with regards to protocol (behaviour, procedure, attitude, the right way to do things) in the Temple he built. He asked God, in great detail, to be pleased with their offerings and also when they obeyed (observed and faithfully kept) His commandments, laws, precepts and statutes. Another request he made was for God to pardon and forgive any sin they would commit, both knowingly and unknowingly, should they realize it and decide to repent. This is how God responded:
2 Chronicles 7:14
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
Taking prayer (intercession) seriously
One thing I love to say is: If you put so little heart into your prayer, you can’t expect God to put much heart into answering it.
I see prayer and intercession as part of giving and receiving. What you give God (as far as your heart is concerned) is what He will give to you (in response to how you approached Him). God will move in your life (give attention to your words, actions and whatever you need Him for at any time and any place) proportionate to the depth of the relationship you have with Him!
Let those words sink in. Personally the best example I can give is Job:
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who [reverently] feared God and abstained from and shunned evil [because it was wrong].
His sons used to go and feast in the house of each on his day (birthday) in turn, and they invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
And when the days of their feasting were over, Job sent for them to purify and hallow them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed or disowned God in their hearts. Thus did Job at all [such] times Job 1:1, 4-5
This was his habit! His habit translated into his character. It became a part of him. It wasn’t custom anymore. Watch what happens as a result of this continual practice:
Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job [reverently] fear God for nothing?
Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. Job 1:9-10
All he did was pray for his children! Even if they did right in the sight of the Lord, just to make sure that they remained that way, Job prayed for them. Pay very close attention to this as I finish this post:
After the Lord had spoken the previous words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has
Now therefore take seven bullocks and seven rams and go to My servant Job and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept [his prayer] that I deal not with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; and the Lord accepted [Job’s prayer].
And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:7-10