Most Christians will tell you they believe in the power of prayer, but at the same time, most Christians don’t live like they do. So, having recently pointed toward intercessory prayer as the proper focus of spiritual warfare, I thought it would be worthwhile to share my own testimony on the subject.
Intercessory prayer has been a large part of my faith-journey since high school, but even I have difficulty keeping up the discipline. It’s easy to find oneself in a season where prayers come slowly, and answers to those prayers never seem to materialize. Recently I found myself in just such a place, and so I wanted to share the story of how God drew me back into the fight.
When I was in my junior year of high school, I read an article about a man who took a dare to pray for
Inspired by this story, I decided to accept the same dare. I searched for the country that seemed to need the most help, and settled on the
After going to college and studying under Dr. Jon Arensen, who had served in southern
The peace with the south was an incredible answer to prayer, but other than that, I saw little fruit from my years of intercession. But just because we don’t see the answers doesn’t mean that they aren’t coming.
A month or two ago I heard a story about something that happened in the
I had never heard this story before, but I can testify that I was surprised at the amount of freedom given to Christians in
I’m not saying that it was my prayers alone that effected these great changes. But I know that my prayers, along with the prayers of thousands of others who lift up
I don’t know all of the theological answers as to why or how God uses our prayers in conjunction with his sovereign will, but I know that he commands us to pray and that he does, indeed, use our prayers. He has given us this incredible privilege of being an active part of his work in the world. Just as we can build up the
Some might object and say that intercession is a special gift given to only a few—‘prayer warriors,’ we call them. And it may well be a spiritual gift in its own right. But for those of us who don’t have the gift, we aren’t excluded us from the responsibility or the honor of prayer. I don’t have the gift of generosity, but that doesn’t give me permission to be a miser.
We are commanded (and shown by example) throughout the New Testament to join in intercessory prayer, especially in lifting up our Christian brothers and sisters around the world. This would be a difficult command if we never saw any fruit from prayer. But we have the promises of God that prayer does indeed bear fruit. The power to shake whole nations for the sake of Christ has been placed within our hands. It is a quiet and unglamorous role for ministry, but God uses it in ways that defy our imaginations. I expect that one of the brightest and most beautiful revelations of heaven will be in looking back at our earthly lives and seeing all the ways that God used our prayers to do his extraordinary work around the world.
It is my honor and delight to be bound in spirit to the awesome work of God in the
Below I’ve added a poem I wrote about my own intercessory ministry a few months ago, as I was returning from a long period of prayerlessness. (Note: ‘Imminya’ is the personal name for God from some of my fictional works). More than anything else, it reflects the centrality of intercession to my spiritual life. It’s called “Valor is My Breath.”
I stand against the world now,
And valor is my breath.
Here I find my life, my heart,
Within this simple act.
I have broken my vows
And my commission,
But in this moment I return;
Now I take them up again,
And I will shake the world.
I cannot live without this task,
Cannot find my heart.
Here is where I come to life,
In a surge of faith unseen
And unlauded sacrifice.
Here I am courage,
Here I am strength,
Here I am the vicar of Christ
To a broken, bleeding world.
This is my battlefield,
And I have been idle too long.
This is the mission
That pleases You greatly.
So now I take up arms
Against the princes of this world,
And now I break their thrones.
This violent peace is my best defense,
And here I rest my heart.
Take this sword and use it well;
May each stroke be as Your own.
And in all the silent battles
That rage from this stout heart,
In every breath and battle-cry
May You be glorified.
Alone I stand,
But not alone,
For here You carry me.
Be Thou my tower and my rock;
Imminya, be my shield.