For the first year of my relationship with God, I never spent more than 5 minutes praying for anything. It was beyond my capacity and spiritual attention span during that first year to be able to sit in the posture of prayer and position my heart towards something beyond the lens of my own well-being. I was focused on how I could gain, how I could grow in my relationship, and how I could grow in my calling. Now, these desires I had aren’t evil in nature at all. In fact, in some way I believe that these desires for holiness helped spur and expand my understanding of who God was. Yet, I realized that God made all of us to be able to fit in the mold of an Intercessor.
After a year, the Lord met me in a car ride as I was driving home from UCSB. Alone in the car, the Holy Spirit pressed deeply into my heart this question:
“Jonathan, will you consider the burdens of my heart before Your own?”
Oof. God pierced the core of my heart as I wept for the rest of the car ride, crying out to the Lord for more of His heart. I wanted to live out John 3:30 (He must become greater, I must become less) in my prayer life. That day a deep burning desire was birthed in my heart for a flourishing and explosive prayer life with God. The root of my soul cried out in triumphant joy as I understood that by His grace; I’m made able to step in the role of a spiritual warrior on the front lines of this war. My hope is that those reading this may also feel encouraged to dive deep into your calling as an Intercessor!
Intercession is a pleading and prayer of desperation unto God for the needs of others. It is a fiery cry to God where we refuse to let go of God’s promises and desires until we see them come to pass. Intercession is the resulting heartcry of those who have emptied out their own desires and traded them in exchange for the desires of God.
INTERCESSION - A GLORIOUS CALLING
Ever since I was a child, I had an innate desire for greatness. I wanted to be the best at any sports I played. I wanted to be the person who would hit the game-winning shot. I wanted to live my life as if an epic movie soundtrack was playing over it.
And God presented me that opportunity for greatness through intercession.
In Ezekiel 22:30, it says “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.” See, how greatness is measured in the kingdom of God is opposite of how the world measures such a trait.
God calls great the lowly and troubled soul spending hours in the prayer closet, torn over the weight of all the souls on his/her campus falling away from the Lord. God calls great the one who chooses to shut the door and flee to the prayer closet, turning down a potential hangout with his/her friends. God calls great the one who spends 15 minutes praying everyday for the salvation of his/her family, rather than the one who attempts and fails to spend an hour a week.
God is looking for those who would stand in that gap on behalf of something bigger than themselves. There is no qualification to being an intercessor. In fact, I want to believe and corporately say, BTM, you are ALL called to be intercessors. Yes. Every single one of us. Not just those who have flourishing prayer lives. Not just those who have experience with this. Not just those who pray nice sounding prayers. Because, God doesn’t measure any of these things at all when viewing our prayer.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Matthew 6:7
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:1-4
It’s time for us to stop measuring the power of our prayers based upon how holy we sound, how good we feel, and how emotionally torn we may look. Prayer is the combination of the perseverance of the human will and the impartation of God’s heart. The power of our prayers was designed to win the greatest spiritual war of all time. Your PRAYERS SHAKE HEAVEN!
So, brothers and sisters, continue to fight the good fight with your prayer lives. If you’ve tried to expand your prayer life and feel discouraged, take hope because God works slowly in molding our hearts. We have too many earthly and carnal temptations that we are exposed to on such a regular basis, hence why it may be difficult to sit still and pray. Take this moment to pray and consider a media fast or maybe even a Daniel Fast for the purpose of empowering your prayers!
Prayer makes a consistent reality what man-made ability fails to achieve on its own! It’s time to stop relying on ourselves for ministry, school, family, and work.