1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
Oh how the world, our conversations, and our friendships would be different if we took these verses more seriously! I’m thankful that for many years I have known a remnant of people who do, even if I struggle at it myself.
- Supplications – asking for things
- Prayers – conversations with God
- Intercessions – going between, doing for someone in prayer what they might not do for themselves!
- Thanksgiving – really, genuinely, sincerely, thanking God for the person for whom you are praying
And then who do we apply that list of prayer tactics to?
One deliberate and forced act that matures your prayer life more than ever is to get to a place where you can pray for someone without judging them. It’s hard! But you can do it! These four prayer points help a lot.
The other part of prayer is knowing what the point of it is. There is a lot of pop-spirituality talk (even from some historic heavy-hitters of Christianity) that says prayer is more about changing you than about changing God. Well in the words of a friend of mine who is in a secret country doing mission work: “It’s ok for you to believe that, but that’s not what the Bible says.”
When Moses prayed, he prayed and asked God to change His mind about things. Note the capital letter there. Moses was trying to change God’s mind, not Moses prayed to God and asked God for things so that Moses could be changed.
If it sounds selfish to think that prayer is about changing God’s will to your own, I think I would argue that it’s even more selfish to say the point of prayer is for us to change ourselves as we pray.
All of this to say, the point of praying is to bring things before God. Some folks in the Old Testament literally brought things to God’s thrown as they prayed “God, what are you going to do about this?”
But when it comes down to it, there is nobody between the person you pray for and God except for Jesus. It might be a good sentiment, but your intercession is inviting God to move and work in that person’s life, it’s not the connector. The only thing any of us have between ourselves and God is Jesus. He loves us and He wants to be connected to each and every one of us, so we pray.
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