Today’s Scripture: Genesis 18:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:1; James 5:16b
There is a distinct difference between praying and interceding. In fact, the apostle Paul differentiates between requests (needs), prayers (wishes or desires), and intercession (intervening and falling in line with God’s will). We list prayer requests in church, small groups, and prayer chains. We pray for specific needs, like “Dear God, I really need a job. Please help me find one.” Or “Father, please heal Susie’s grandmother.” Prayers can be quick but effective. Intercession, however, takes time and effort.
The root meaning of intercession means to “hit the bulls-eye.” Biblical intercession centers around waiting upon the Lord to learn what hits the mark, the mark being His will. One Bible scholar describes intercession as the intersection between heaven and earth as it reflects the Lord’s specific will. Intercession is not the tool in and of itself. Instead it is what guides the believer to get involved and act as an agent of the Lord once His will has been discovered. True intercession seeks to act only as the Lord directs.
I think of interceding as remaining before God on behalf of one particular need until (1) there is a sense of release, or (2) God gives clear instruction about the next step(s) to be taken. If we are making an important decision or facing a difficult situation, we need to do more than just make our requests known to the Lord. We need to wait until He makes His request known to us.
- After you present a request to the Lord, how difficult is it for you to leave the outcome in His control?
- What are times the Lord has made His requests known to you? What difference did that make in how you prayed?