In the Gap
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]W[/mk_dropcaps]hat I love most about prayer is how dynamic it is. I did not used to think that it was like this even a few years ago. My perception of prayer was there was some set recipe to it that required it to be a silent and somber experience. That has dramatically changed, especially over the last year. I have discovered a beautiful facet to prayer that I did not know existed before coming into a personal relationship with the Lord. Prayer is a way for us in or limited capacity to experience the power of a God who is outside of time and limits. Prayer believe it or not, is not just for our present moment, the potential of the future, but it can repair and restore how we view our past. But wait there is more… the reach of our prayers is not just for ourselves but for anyone we press in and pray for. Today I want to briefly share on intercession. That is the “christian-ease” term for praying for others in a position of need. How I best picture intercessory prayer is our prayers being like a bridge for those in need. We are the bridge for them to stand on to cross the gap of their situation/need to the presence and power of God. This is not to take away our personal responsibility to seek the presence of God, but is for those times when someone is physically, emotionally, or spiritually in a place of weakness where rising up in faith seems out of their capacity.
Intercession is a responsibility we carry as members of the body of Christ. It does not end only in stopping to pray for others, but helping provide a solution to their need by aiding in them coming into the presence of God. In Mark 2 there is a story about four men who lowered the paralytic through a ceiling into the presence of Jesus. It was the faith of the four men NOT the paralytic that brought him both forgiveness and the miracle. That story is a beautiful depiction of what our faith can do to bring radical healing for those around us. Like those four men we too are to stand in the gap, in faith, bring down the blessing of heaven to those who are not yet in a position of health to do so for themselves.
Health here does not only refer to physical health but mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well. Until you have encountered both the truth and the power of our God intercession is a challenge. You see this is not something that all falls on you alone. Your role when you intercede is to merely partner with the Lord. This requires you to assume the responsibility as a child of God to walk in the authority Christ has given you. Only then will your intercession be lasting in effectiveness. Why is that? Because any other way it becomes about your productiveness rather than the Lord’s presence, power and provision.
I love the picture the story in Mark 2 paints of this very truth. You see the four men did not only stop pray out of their own wisdom for the paralytic. They knew their productiveness that way would only bring temporary relief. Instead these men took the paralytic directly into the presence of Jesus by tackling the obvious problem first. They needed to get the man out of his current circumstances and into the presence of Jesus! They took action that served as a conduit for the power of God to flow, it was not about them but Jesus.
How many times do we assume the role of God in a situation or take the easy way out instead of standing in the gap to bridge the separation of someone’s life to the presence of God. Our role in essence is as an introducer. We invite others to come to the throne room of grace. After that it is God alone who does the saving, healing, restoring, empowering.
Intercession, while a responsibility we have in prayer, should never be our burden. Rather it is one way we allow the flow of God’s love toward us to flow out and into the lives of those around us. It is a way we can be obedient the commandment to “love one another.” Intercession therefore is not an option but a crucial part of our walk with God. I do not bring this up to shame you or bring condemnation to anyone. Rather, I want to highlight this truth because we have as a culture veered away standing up for each other in tough situations. We have adopted the ideal that “If it is not hurting anyone else than what does it matter?” The danger here is that we begin to see ourselves as disconnected entities from those around us. We then believe we can abdicate the responsibility to extend a helping hand when another needs it, much less take the time to pray or obey to intercede in a situation.
How do we change this? One person at a time. I am personally convicted in this to help people as the Lord leads to stand in the gap and intercede. Will you join me?