Intercessory Prayer: A Prayer Life of a Christian”

SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS MCCARTHY

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

MARCH 24, 2019

Title: “Intercessory Prayer: A Prayer of Life of a Christian.”

Text: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:2-5).

Scripture Reading: Luke 11:1-13.

The story is told of Hudson Taylor sailing to China to begin his missionary work. His ship was in great danger. The wind had died, and the current was carrying them toward sunken reefs which were close to islands inhabited by cannibals—so close they could see them building fires on the shore. Everything they tried was to no avail. In his journal Taylor recorded what happened next: The Captain said to me, “Well, we have done everything that can be done.” A thought occurred to me, and I replied, “No, there is one thing we have not done yet.” “What is that?” he queried. “Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each retire to his own cabin, and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us immediately a breeze.”

Taylor prayed briefly and then, certain that the answer was coming, went up on the deck and asked the first officer to let down the sails. “What would be the good of that?” he answered roughly. I told him we had been asking a wind from God; that it was coming immediately. Within minutes the wind did began to blow, and it carried them safely past the reefs. Taylor wrote: “Thus God encouraged me ere landing on China’s shores to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honour the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help each emergency required.”

Knowing from this story that our prayers touch the heart of our loving Father in Heaven and that He can meet any need, we should be confident that He will hear and answer when we cry out to Him.

Jesus gave many instructions concerning the fact that his disciples would give themselves to the habit of prayer.  He gave them instructions concerning errors to avoid and procedures to follow in the practice of prayer. He warned them against praying like the hypocrites who looked upon prayer as a speech to be made to impress God and others.  He also warned them against praying like the pagans who repeated many empty phrases in an effort to impress their helpless and reluctant deities to hear their pious phrases. Jesus declared that such repetition is unnecessary because of the nature and character of the God they were worshipping.

Paul in our text this morning gave a great instruction about prayer.  Paul urges the church at Colossae and Christians everywhere to devote themselves to prayer.  But Paul also emphasize that prayers should be made for him and other believers. Praying for others is what we called intercessory praying.  It is important for us to let these words on prayers dwell on our hearts and encourage us as we give ourselves in the practice of prayers. Let us consider the reason why we should make intercessions.

It is important to give ourselves to prayer because, Jesus as the Son of God gave himself to prayer.  Jesus hungered for fellowship and for the strength that came through dialogue with the heavenly Father.  He assumed that, as the children of God, we would hunger and thirst for fellowship and would dialogue with the heavenly Father.

Jesus taught his disciples to think of God not as the eternal almighty exalted, but as “Our Father who art in heaven.”  Jesus did not teach his disciples to approach the throne of God as beggars for a castoff; he encouraged them to come into the presence of the eternal God as needy children approaching a wise and generous father.  

Jesus gave the command for each of us to pray because each of us has a violent and evil enemy in the devil.  Jesus had a personal experience with Satan at the beginning of his ministry (Matt. 41-11). Satan was his foe. Jesus describes the devil as his enemy and our enemy (Matt. 13:25, 28, 39).

Peter warned his readers about our enemy the devil (1 Peter 5:8).  James gave advice on how we can overcome the devil (James 4:7-8). John assured his readers that victory could be found through him who dwells within us (1 John 4:4).

Jesus knew that life would bring many troubles and hardships so he wanted us to be in the attitude of prayerful intercession.  Many of us never make any allowance for the possibility of the tragic and catastrophic happening in life. Suffering is in the pathway of each of us sooner or later.  Peter encourages us to bring our anxieties and burdens to the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Paul declared to the Philippians that by faith he had learned to be the master of the diverse circumstances that befell him (Phil. 4:11-13).

The future is a mystery for all of us.  Because we do not know what tomorrow holds, many of us feel the need to go into the closet of prayer to receive the strength we need and the assurance of the guidance of him who is the Light of the World (John 8:12). This is why we need to pray for each other.

It is important to pray because intercessory prayer brings the strength and the help of the Lord to those who wait on him in faith and faithfulness (Isaiah 40:31).  Our Lord gave himself continuously to the practice of praying for everyone. It restored the vital energies of God to his life as he faced life’s burdens and responsibilities.  It brought the freshness of God’s grace into his life continually. It is the testimony of saints of the past and present that, when we neglect the private place of prayer, we do so to our own impoverishment.

Intercessory prayer is basically praying for others, it is praying for God’s will to be done in the lives of other people. Intercessory prayers characterized the prayer life of Jesus. In Isaiah 53:12 the Bible says, He Himself bore the sins of many and, interceded for the transgressors.”

Luke 22:23 Jesus tells Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;” Luke 23:34 on the cross, Jesus was praying for others when He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

John 14:15 Jesus interceded for us, asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit

John 17:19 He prayed for us, the church, in His High Priestly prayer. Listen to the intercessory nature of this prayer, “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou has given Me . . . “

Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.And Hebrews 7:25 says, “Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Jesus prayed intercessory prayers, He was ever praying for others.

Understanding the power of Prayer, Paul wanted to be sure the Colossian Christians understood what it was they were to pray for. He wanted them to pray with a specific purpose. He wanted them to pray for him, asking God to open a door so that they could speak the gospel. It was the gospel that Paul lived for, it was the preaching of the gospel that had landed Paul in prison, it was the preaching of the gospel that was ever on the forefront of Paul’s mind. You see, Paul wanted God’s kingdom to expand. Like Jesus, he was concerned about others, about their souls, their salvation and their sanctification.

It is instructive to note that Paul is not asking them to pray for his legal situation or that he would be released from prison. He is asking them to pray that he will have the opportunity to lead someone to Christ.

Paul wanted their prayers to be in accordance with God’s will not simply after the greedy desires of someone living for this world.

Paul was always concerned with doing the will of God. How many of our prayers are directed at the expansion of His eternal kingdom rather than the expansion of our petty kingdoms? If you were able to chronicle your prayers, knowing how much time you spent praying for different things, how much of your time would be spent praying for your family, for their health, for the health and well being of your loved ones, compared to how much time you were praying for the lost who are headed to hell?

Intercessory prayer changes things.

You see, when you pray for others, when you pray for God’s work to be done, for His will to be accomplished, He will begin to use you and grow you in ways that will astonish those around you. Sometimes I think we do not become what God wants us to become, because we are too focused on ourselves and not on others. It is when we pray for others that we will become more like Jesus, and as we become more like Jesus God will grow us more, show us more, and use us more.

We must pray for others. What does your prayer life look like this morning? Are you persistent in prayer? Are your prayers passionate or are they perfunctory? Are they filled with intensity and fervor or are they weak, timid and lacking faith? What about gratitude? How much time have you spent thanking God for all He has done for you? And who are you praying for? Is there anyone in your life that you are praying will get saved? Is there a burden on your heart to see God’s kingdom expand, to see His will done? Pray today and god will answer.  God bless you.

SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS MCCARTHY

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

MARCH 24, 2019

Title: “Intercessory Prayer: A Prayer of Life of a Christian.”

Text: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:2-5).

Scripture Reading: Luke 11:1-13.

The story is told of Hudson Taylor sailing to China to begin his missionary work. His ship was in great danger. The wind had died, and the current was carrying them toward sunken reefs which were close to islands inhabited by cannibals—so close they could see them building fires on the shore. Everything they tried was to no avail. In his journal Taylor recorded what happened next: The Captain said to me, “Well, we have done everything that can be done.” A thought occurred to me, and I replied, “No, there is one thing we have not done yet.” “What is that?” he queried. “Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each retire to his own cabin, and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us immediately a breeze.”

Taylor prayed briefly and then, certain that the answer was coming, went up on the deck and asked the first officer to let down the sails. “What would be the good of that?” he answered roughly. I told him we had been asking a wind from God; that it was coming immediately. Within minutes the wind did began to blow, and it carried them safely past the reefs. Taylor wrote: “Thus God encouraged me ere landing on China’s shores to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honour the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help each emergency required.”

Knowing from this story that our prayers touch the heart of our loving Father in Heaven and that He can meet any need, we should be confident that He will hear and answer when we cry out to Him.

Jesus gave many instructions concerning the fact that his disciples would give themselves to the habit of prayer.  He gave them instructions concerning errors to avoid and procedures to follow in the practice of prayer. He warned them against praying like the hypocrites who looked upon prayer as a speech to be made to impress God and others.  He also warned them against praying like the pagans who repeated many empty phrases in an effort to impress their helpless and reluctant deities to hear their pious phrases. Jesus declared that such repetition is unnecessary because of the nature and character of the God they were worshipping.

Paul in our text this morning gave a great instruction about prayer.  Paul urges the church at Colossae and Christians everywhere to devote themselves to prayer.  But Paul also emphasize that prayers should be made for him and other believers. Praying for others is what we called intercessory praying.  It is important for us to let these words on prayers dwell on our hearts and encourage us as we give ourselves in the practice of prayers. Let us consider the reason why we should make intercessions.

It is important to give ourselves to prayer because, Jesus as the Son of God gave himself to prayer.  Jesus hungered for fellowship and for the strength that came through dialogue with the heavenly Father.  He assumed that, as the children of God, we would hunger and thirst for fellowship and would dialogue with the heavenly Father.

Jesus taught his disciples to think of God not as the eternal almighty exalted, but as “Our Father who art in heaven.”  Jesus did not teach his disciples to approach the throne of God as beggars for a castoff; he encouraged them to come into the presence of the eternal God as needy children approaching a wise and generous father.  

Jesus gave the command for each of us to pray because each of us has a violent and evil enemy in the devil.  Jesus had a personal experience with Satan at the beginning of his ministry (Matt. 41-11). Satan was his foe. Jesus describes the devil as his enemy and our enemy (Matt. 13:25, 28, 39).

Peter warned his readers about our enemy the devil (1 Peter 5:8).  James gave advice on how we can overcome the devil (James 4:7-8). John assured his readers that victory could be found through him who dwells within us (1 John 4:4).

Jesus knew that life would bring many troubles and hardships so he wanted us to be in the attitude of prayerful intercession.  Many of us never make any allowance for the possibility of the tragic and catastrophic happening in life. Suffering is in the pathway of each of us sooner or later.  Peter encourages us to bring our anxieties and burdens to the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Paul declared to the Philippians that by faith he had learned to be the master of the diverse circumstances that befell him (Phil. 4:11-13).

The future is a mystery for all of us.  Because we do not know what tomorrow holds, many of us feel the need to go into the closet of prayer to receive the strength we need and the assurance of the guidance of him who is the Light of the World (John 8:12). This is why we need to pray for each other.

It is important to pray because intercessory prayer brings the strength and the help of the Lord to those who wait on him in faith and faithfulness (Isaiah 40:31).  Our Lord gave himself continuously to the practice of praying for everyone. It restored the vital energies of God to his life as he faced life’s burdens and responsibilities.  It brought the freshness of God’s grace into his life continually. It is the testimony of saints of the past and present that, when we neglect the private place of prayer, we do so to our own impoverishment.

Intercessory prayer is basically praying for others, it is praying for God’s will to be done in the lives of other people. Intercessory prayers characterized the prayer life of Jesus. In Isaiah 53:12 the Bible says, He Himself bore the sins of many and, interceded for the transgressors.”

Luke 22:23 Jesus tells Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail;” Luke 23:34 on the cross, Jesus was praying for others when He said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

John 14:15 Jesus interceded for us, asking the Father to send the Holy Spirit

John 17:19 He prayed for us, the church, in His High Priestly prayer. Listen to the intercessory nature of this prayer, “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou has given Me . . . “

Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.And Hebrews 7:25 says, “Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

Jesus prayed intercessory prayers, He was ever praying for others.

Understanding the power of Prayer, Paul wanted to be sure the Colossian Christians understood what it was they were to pray for. He wanted them to pray with a specific purpose. He wanted them to pray for him, asking God to open a door so that they could speak the gospel. It was the gospel that Paul lived for, it was the preaching of the gospel that had landed Paul in prison, it was the preaching of the gospel that was ever on the forefront of Paul’s mind. You see, Paul wanted God’s kingdom to expand. Like Jesus, he was concerned about others, about their souls, their salvation and their sanctification.

It is instructive to note that Paul is not asking them to pray for his legal situation or that he would be released from prison. He is asking them to pray that he will have the opportunity to lead someone to Christ.

Paul wanted their prayers to be in accordance with God’s will not simply after the greedy desires of someone living for this world.

Paul was always concerned with doing the will of God. How many of our prayers are directed at the expansion of His eternal kingdom rather than the expansion of our petty kingdoms? If you were able to chronicle your prayers, knowing how much time you spent praying for different things, how much of your time would be spent praying for your family, for their health, for the health and well being of your loved ones, compared to how much time you were praying for the lost who are headed to hell?

Intercessory prayer changes things.

You see, when you pray for others, when you pray for God’s work to be done, for His will to be accomplished, He will begin to use you and grow you in ways that will astonish those around you. Sometimes I think we do not become what God wants us to become, because we are too focused on ourselves and not on others. It is when we pray for others that we will become more like Jesus, and as we become more like Jesus God will grow us more, show us more, and use us more.

We must pray for others. What does your prayer life look like this morning? Are you persistent in prayer? Are your prayers passionate or are they perfunctory? Are they filled with intensity and fervor or are they weak, timid and lacking faith? What about gratitude? How much time have you spent thanking God for all He has done for you? And who are you praying for? Is there anyone in your life that you are praying will get saved? Is there a burden on your heart to see God’s kingdom expand, to see His will done? Pray today and god will answer.  God bless you.