Fundamentals For The Intercessor
Included in the glory of our privilege as Godís children is the promise: "Öye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). I am deeply impressed by two truths about this promise.
1) The one is that Christ actually meant prayer to be the great power by which His Church should do its work, and that the neglect of prayer is the great reason the Church has not greater power over the masses in Christian and in non-Christian countries. I confess this shortcoming and sin on behalf of myself and all of Godís people. At the same time, I issue a call to believe that things can be different and that Christ waits to fit us by His Spirit to pray in power as He would have us.
There is a life in the Spirit, a life of abiding in Christ, within our reach. In this life of abiding in Christ, both the power to pray and the power to obtain the answer can be realized in a measure which we could not have thought possible before. Any failure in the prayer life, and any desire or hope to take the place Christ has prepared for us brings us to the very root of the doctrine of grace as manifested in the Christian life. It is only by a full surrender to the life of abiding, by the yielding to the fullness of the Spiritís leading and quickening, that the prayer life can be restored to a truly healthy state.
Intercession Is for Others
2) The second truth which I desire to state is that we have far too little conception of the place that intercession, as distinguished from prayer for ourselves, ought to have in the Church and the Christian life. In intercession our King upon the throne finds His highest glory. In it we shall find our highest glory too. Through intercession He continues His saving work, and can do nothing without it. Through it alone we can do our work, and nothing avails without it. In intercession He ever receives from the Father the Holy Spirit and all spiritual blessings to impart. In it we too are called to receive in ourselves the fullness of Godís Spirit, with the power to impart spiritual blessing to others.
The power of the Church to bless rests on intercession Ė asking and receiving heavenly gifts to carry to men. Because this is so, it is no wonder that owing to lack of teaching or spiritual insight, we trust in our own diligence and effort. Influenced by the world and the flesh, we work more than we pray. And so the presence and power of God are not seen in our work as we would wish.
There are tens of thousands of workers who have known and are proving wonderfully what prayer can do. But there are tens of thousands who work with but little prayer, and as many more who do not work because they do not know how or where. All these might be won to swell the host of intercessors who are to bring down the blessings of heaven to earth.
It is in doing that we learn to do; it is as we take hold and begin that the help of Godís Spirit will come. It is as we daily hear Godís call and at once put it into practice that the consciousness will begin to live in us: I too am an intercessor. And we shall feel the need of living in Christ and being full of the Spirit if we are to do this work aright. Nothing will so test and stimulate the Christian life as the honest attempt to be an intercessor.
It is difficult to conceive how much we ourselves and the Church will be the gainers if with our whole heart we accept the post of honor God is offering us. The confession, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought" is the introduction to the experience, "The Spirit...maketh intercession for us" (Rom. 8:26). Our sense of ignorance will lead us to depend upon the Spirit praying in us and to feel the need of living in the Spirit.
The faith in Godís Word can nowhere be so exercised and perfected as in the intercession that asks and expects and looks out for the answer. Throughout Scripture, in the life of every saint, and of Godís own Son, and throughout the history of Godís Church, God is first of all a prayer-hearing God. Let us try and help Godís children to know their God, and encourage all Godís servants to labor with the assurance: the chief and most blessed part of my work is to ask and receive from my Father what I can bring to others.
Let us seek to put into practice the great prayer promises as part of the Churchís enduement of power for her work. They are to be taken as literally and actually true: "Öye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7). "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24).
Conditions for Answered Prayer
But let us remember, there are prayer conditions which are universal and unchangeable: "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in youÖ" (John 15:7); "At that day ye shall ask in My Name" (John 16:26). It is a life abiding in Christ and filled with the Spirit, a life entirely given up as a branch for the work of the vine, which has the power to claim these promises and to pray the effectual prayer that avails much (James 5:16). Lord, teach us to pray!
Revised from The Ministry Of Intercession by Andrew Murray