Intercessors don’t come from marginally spiritual people. They come from people who walk close with the Lord, and who also love other Christians. If a Christian doesn’t intercede for other Christians, one of the great manifestations of sacrificial love is missing from their lives.
View the full sermon, “Pray to the Father For Others”.
Notice, Paul is praying, but he's not praying for himself. Brothers and sisters, how desperately, desperately we need men and women in the church like this. Paul is interceding. Interceding is what you call it when you bow your knees to God for the sake of others and not for yourselves. How we need intercessors in the church! And I'm concerned! I'm concerned. When I got saved, honestly, I hungered to have time with the Lord. The first three years of my (Christian) life, I was able outside of work - and even times at work during breaks and lunch; I wasn't married - I was able to give my life to communion with the Lord. And I moved down here to Texas, lived with John Sytsma - very business oriented family. And things were working at a pace that I just felt like - John was very much given to devotions in the morning, and before the family got together, and I like to walk in the evenings and be out in the field and away from the heat. And John's schedule and mine were a little bit different. I remember just panting after having that time back. And I recognized that I needed to move separate so that I could get back into my own schedule. And I longed for that. And I guess my sense was that, well, that's how it is with all Christians. We don't live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We want to abide in Christ and we love walking with Him and meeting with Him and there's things to confess and there's worship; and just getting to meditate before Him and praying and interceding for the sake of others. I just assumed that. And then I got married, and my wife basically lived that way day after day. I guess my assumption has largely been: Well, of course... that's how Christians live. I am, I don't know, I'm guess I'm kind of baffled by the frequency at which I hear that people in this church have a real difficult time maintaining just a consistent intimacy with the Lord. And I guess my concern is this, I'm not sure what lies behind this difficulty. Is it immaturity? Is it worldliness? Is it busyness? Is it just that there's no hunger there? I know this: intercessors don't come from marginally spiritual people. Why? Because interceding requires love and a level of maturity and a lack of selfishness. Selfish people - their prayers are all about themselves. Very little worship. Very little confession. But a lot of give me, give me, give me. Now, I know there are prayer warriors in this church. I know there are. I know there are some of you - your walk is close to the Lord. I want there to be more. I want this to characterize the church as a whole. Intercessors. We desperately, desperately need this. And if people can barely manage to find their way into the secret place of prayer each day, I know this - you're not interceding for anybody. It's not happening. Where do intercessors come from? They come from people that live in the presence of God. You think about it. Paul - you can imagine the guard walking by. The guards are talking to each other. "What's the guy doing in there?" "Every time we walk by there, he's on his face." He wasn't idle. He wasn't wasting his time. He wasn't wasting his time in prison. He was crying; he was bending his knee. He was pleading; he was crying out for the sake of others. You find in just about every single one of his epistles, he cried out for people. He called upon them. Where do intercessors come from? People who don't live by bread alone. People who are desperate. People who are abiding in the Lord. People who are talking to Him and walking with Him. Where does it come from? That somebody says: "for this reason." I know them to be a Christian; for that reason, I'm on my knees for them. They're beloved of God. Something is released in my heart. I need to pray for them. I'm thinking about other people all the time. I'm thinking about their needs. I'm thinking about them glorifying God. Where do intercessors come from? Intercessors - not marginally spiritual people. You know, if we don't have intercession happening commonplace in your life - I'm not just talking about in the church - if intercession is not happening as a commonplace thing in your life, one of the great manifestations of sacrificial love is missing. And listen, that's important: sacrificial love. You think about Judgment Day. Jesus talks about what you did for others. "I was in prison and you visited Me." You know, one of the ways you can visit people in prison is by praying. The thing is as long as you have life and breath, and you have consciousness, you can pray for people. We need it. We need this desperately. Where are the men and women - I know we've got some. I know. But oh God, help us to have more. Men and women who live in the presence of God on bended knee whose voices are familiar to the Father; whose voices go up in familiarity to the Father on the behalf of others. I mean, you can imagine, God from God's perspective: "There's his voice again... and sure enough, he's asking for a job. He's asking for a wife. He's asking for a raise. He's asking..." Those who God hears his voice: "Lord, help so-and-so, Lord according to the riches of Your glory please strengthen that brother down there in Mexico. Please Lord, open that door for that brother that's trying to get from Costa Rica, Lord." How often is the Lord hearing that voice? "Lord, I'm not here to pray for my own needs. You know I have them, but Lord, Brother Matt needs Your help today. He needs Your help. Johannes. Lord, remember Johannes." Those who can't sit comfortably reading the book or fiddling with their phones because they're feeling a burden for Andy and Rebecca, or you heard - those of you that weren't here on Wednesday, Trevor Johnson wrote, I think, one of the most powerful missionary letters that he's ever written. Men and women not constantly asking for their own needs. The church needs intercessors. We desperately need them. Why? Because God answers prayer. Listen, I'm telling you this. I know this for a fact. I'm so convinced. I've seen it over and over and over again. God answers prayer. And when people are praying for you, things happen in your life that would not happen if they weren't praying for you. Mark it down. The elders in this church preach or perform or oversee better when people are praying for them than when they're not praying for them. That is a reality. People live more holy lives. People live closer to God. People are more prayerful. People are more loving and charitable and kind and tender and forgiving when people are praying for one another than when they're not praying for one another. That is a fact. I'll tell you, I was thinking about our brother coming here on a week from Wednesday and sharing his needs. If I was on a foreign mission field, I would want to visit as many churches as I could, and I would tell the people, "Look, I'm not here for your money. I'm just appealing, if there is one person or two people or three people in this church that are prayer warriors and you have any burden for India, I plead with you: pray!" And if on Judgment Day it can be found there were three people in that church over there and there were two people in that church over there and five in that church over there, and they held that rope. Not because they were sending me all their dollars all the time, but they prayed for me. They prayed for me all the time. Prayer meetings did not go by in that church they weren't praying for me, and oftentimes, every single day of the week, they were holding me up. We need this. When we pray for one another, I'm telling you, we end up doing things that would not happen if people weren't praying for us. This is the reality. Bending our knees to the Father on behalf of others. We are the priesthood, brethren. Have you never read that? That fire was not to go out on that altar. And if that was the symbol; if that was the hyperbole; if that was the metaphor, we are the true priesthood. Don't let the fire go out.