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What’s So Great About Prayer?

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Lesson 15 of 29
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What Does It Mean to Interceed For Others?

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Intercessory Prayer 3

Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill

There are two ways in which God communicates knowledge of his salvation to all men and women. One is through general revelation and the other is through special revelation. Now some people have called that by other names and you’ll see the reason in a moment. Some have talked about preserving grace of God and the redeeming grace of God and that God has made both of those kinds of grace available to us. Now perhaps it would help you if we looked at the Bible references that point those two doctrines out clearly.

The first one is in Romans 1:19-20, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” Actually the Greek is not the preposition “to” but “in”: “Has shown it in them.” The general revelation referred to there is the one outlined in Romans 2:14, “When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them.”

So part of the general revelation that God gives to all men is that of conscience. And everyone, even those who have no contact with the Bible at all, has conscience. There are all kinds of things that we all sense we should not do. No one agrees that you should be a coward. No one thinks it’s right to do harm to your friends. There are certain standards of conscience that apply even to the most primitive tribe. So conscience is part of the general revelation of God.

Then Romans Chapter 1 verse 20 says: “Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.” That points to the order and design of the universe which is available to all men to show them that there is a mind behind the universe. That’s why Paul says in Verse 20b, “So they are without excuse.”

It is, I think, one other part of general revelation that is available to all men because most nations have had some contact with the Israelites or the Jews, and most nations have within them the memory of God’s dealings way back in the Garden of Eden. Even if they come down to them as they do to the Babylonians through a corrupted version, yet all men have some sense of that revelation of God.

God says, “They are without excuse because they do have that revelation.” This ties up with a question that George put to me: “Is it possible that there would be people who would be condemned by God simply because someone did not pray for them?” Now the general revelation or the preserving grace of God is available to all men. It’s the rain that comes on the just and the unjust, and is independent of whether people pray for them or not. God implies that it is possible for a man or a woman to respond to him in a confession and repentance of sin that would enable him to forgive them even through general revelation.

So I think that helps to deal with that fact that it seems that people are without excuse in God’s eyes — because of the general revelation that has come to them. Now the special revelation is mentioned in Hebrews 1 verse 1: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets.” So the first part of the special revelation or the redeeming grace of God is that found in the Old Testament’s special revelations of God to his people.

“In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Jesus is perhaps the central part of that special revelation, and then following Jesus the writings of the New Testament, and the dealings of God with the early church.

Now this is a conditional revelation that comes on certain conditions. Those conditions are the ones that we referred to before – in Matthew 9:29: “Then he touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith be it done to you.’” This special revelation comes on the condition of our faith or of someone’s faith.

The other verse that refers to this is in Matthew 7:7-8: “’Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’” Now this revelation is conditional upon asking. That is the redeeming grace of God that we are talking about in connection with intercessory prayer.

Would anyone like to ask questions at that point? You know I’m not claiming to be able to explain fully the infinite mind of our Creator, but I do think we should in some sense try to see what sense we can in the revelation.

[Question inaudible]

No, there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved — except Jesus. But it does seem obvious, Tom, that Jesus was the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. It is because he was slain in the heart of God before the foundation of the world that God was even able to offer forgiveness to the Old Testament people. That he was even able to offer a covenant of grace to Noah. And so it does seem that it’s because of Jesus that the forgiveness is offered.

Now the issue therefore is not whether God is ready to forgive someone who confesses and repents and believes that he is a forgiving God. But the issue is: can they know that God is like that? Now, they can certainly know that he is a god that exists, that has a mind, and that is personal since he has made persons. They can certainly know, and you can see that in the sacrificial systems of primitive tribes, that he hates evil. They can sense that he is a just God, and that something needs to be done to enable them to be forgiven, and for God to deal with them with justice.

Now in some of their histories they have all kinds of contorted versions of a Savior. Whether that is clear enough or not for them, no one can say for sure. But it seems that if God says they are without excuse, then he means that they are without excuse in so far as they might say, “We didn’t know God was a forgiving God.”

He can’t imply that they will be saved by total obedience, because no man can do that without the Holy Spirit. So it seems to imply that in some way they may be able to glimpse away at the back of history that someone has done something tremendous to enable their Creator to forgive them. And there’s no question that even those of us who have studied Greek and Latin myths know that there are hints of some Savior. So that’s I think where we’re left. We’re left with saying, “God says that they are without excuse. So surely that must mean they have a light — however faded it is — and they’re responsible for responding to it.

I would say that God will always give to those who ask. I would say that God teaches us through Jesus that he is a Father that gives good gifts to those who ask. Now we all differ, undoubtedly from denomination to denomination, but even from person-to-person sitting in these seats on this. We all differ as to whether a person can come through to a bright and living knowledge of Jesus as Savior without ever having heard of his name. Or, whether we can come to some awareness of God’s forgiveness, and then after death we will meet Jesus and deal with him. I’m sure we all differ as to what we say there. But it does seem that God will deal with people according to his promises in the Bible.

You know without me saying that this is one of the most difficult areas in theology. So you have to take what I say and be gracious to me as I try to explain what I believe is the truth. I’m very open to anyone who can see it more clearly. But really all I want to share tonight is the importance of seeing that there is a revelation that comes to all men unconditionally.

That’s the heart of that verse, “God rains his rain on the just and the unjust without them asking for the rain or without asking for the sunshine.” But there is a redeeming grace of God that is conditional upon asking. Either upon us asking — or as we’ve begun to talk about intercessory prayer — upon someone asking on our behalf.

{Question from the audience} In what way can we pray for a person who has set his will against God? If God wants to preserve his free will can we really ask God to overrule his free will?

We cannot, loved ones. All we can pray is that the Holy Spirit will give light. Enlightenment really is the technical word I think that would be used in theology rather than revelation. We can pray the Holy Spirit will bring enlightenment to the person so that they will see the truths that are set forth here in a real and living way, and will have an honest glaring opportunity to accept or reject Jesus.

Obviously, too we can pray a great deal that the Holy Spirit will enlighten their spirits to be able to see clearly Jesus in their friends and in other things, so that they will have a full opportunity not to be blinded but to see everything in balance. But then it is theirs to accept or reject. We cannot overrule that.

“The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord,” means not that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord as far as his salvation or his condemnation are concerned — but that God will allow the king to do unto his children only what he enables his children to bear. That’s why we can afford to submit to those in authority over us, because God himself will prevent them from doing anything to us that God will not give us grace to bear.

I suppose I have to say that God’s word speaks to it and on that I base my belief. Does history speak to it? I’m sure it’s like asking a scientist who says, “I haven’t found God anywhere in the universe.” You ask him, “Have you looked everywhere?” It’s a bit like that when you ask me does all of history speak to that. I would have to say that by my faith in Jesus as the revelation of God as he really is, his word speaks to it. And I can think of many instances in history that testify to it.

[Question inaudible]

It seems to me that that’s true. But I do think you have to ask according to God’s will for God to

answer the prayer. But the heart of it is: what is his will? His will is never to overrule an individual’s will. His will is always to make the choice absolutely clear to an individual.

[Question inaudible]

That’s right. Maybe I can take that, Diane, and begin — because I know that it’s hard to continue just with questions at the beginning. It does seem vital that we see then that the redeeming grace of God is the application by the Holy Spirit of the truths that have been revealed in the Old Testament, in Jesus, and in the New Testament. And the Holy Spirit applies these truths to people’s spirits by enlightenment as we ask God.

Now the Father knows which of these truths a person has to see at a certain time. So many of us, for instance, have gone to churches that have offered gospel, gospel, gospel. We didn’t even know we needed gospel. Yet they were preaching gospel to us and all we got out of it was, “Oh yeah. God’s willing to forgive me. That’s very nice.” But we didn’t feel we had anything to be forgiven for. What was needed was someone to preach law to us to enable us to see what state we were in in relationship to our Creator.

Now you can see that very often we are not only giving the wrong thing to people at the wrong time, but all of us are involved in praying for the wrong thing for people at the wrong time. So the Holy Spirit is not able to do what he wants in revealing the appropriate truth to a person at the right time.

So very often our dad is just absolutely against God and against religion. And we think that he’s against it just because of the things he says. He says, “Oh, I was brought up and forced to go to church every Sunday, and I just hated it. I’m not having anything to do with those hypocrites again.” We take that as the reason, and we keep praying, “Holy Spirit, will you show my dad that there are churches where there are not hypocrites and where people are real?” When really what is holding our dad back from seeing God is that he has some habit in his life that he is not willing to give up, and that he keeps rationalizing as being right for him.

What the Holy Spirit really wants to do is show him that. And what we should really be doing is praying on the other hand not that our dad will come upon the right group of people in church, but that he will deal honestly with something that he has been questioning in his own behavior for years.

Now loved ones, many of the situations that we come up against are very much like that example. The fact is that the only way that the Holy Spirit can reveal the appropriate truth to the person at the right time is by some of us asking for that. We mentioned that in connection with Ezekiel 36:37. That is the verse that teaches the key to prayer clearly — that God is tied to our prayers before he can do anything in connection with the special revelation that he has given us in the New Testament in Jesus.

Verse 37: “’Thus says the Lord God: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their men like a flock’.” And God says, “I want to do this. But unless the house of Israel asks me to do it for them — I cannot do it.” And it is so with us.

None of our relatives and none of our friends can receive a living revelation of these things. They can have an intellectual understanding of them and that’s usually what kills them and chokes them.

They have an intellectual understanding of these things that would put anybody off. But what is needed is an enlightenment to see the inner meaning of these things. That comes only as some of us intercede and pray for them.

Now of course the real problem with most of us is that we do not know the particular truth that God wants to reveal to our mum or dad, or to our roommate. The reason we don’t know that is usually that we’re really not too interested. We’re not too interested in getting to know God’s mind well enough to know what he wants to show our friend.

Watchman Nee puts it like this, “There’s a dad comes into the garden to his little son and his little son is playing in the sandbox. And he says, ‘Son will you come and hold this for me?’ And the little boy says, ‘No, no, I’ve something in my hand. I can’t do it at the moment.’” And Nee says, “That’s so often the way God finds us.”

At a certain moment in the office, or a certain moment at school, or a certain moment in the apartment, the Holy Spirit wants to give us a revelation of a need that a certain person has. But we are busy with something in our hands. We are busy either trying to give them what they need or what we think they need, or we’re busy with our own concerns and what we want to do.

That’s why we said the heart of being an intercessor is coming to a place where you forget your own concerns. Leave the things out of your own hands, begin to trust the Father for your financial prosperity, begin to trust the Father for your family, and for your future. Leave those things aside and say, “Father, you will take care of those things for your intercessors. I’m going to concentrate on you and what you want.”

That’s the first step in becoming an intercessor — a real identification with Jesus in his death to his own things and his own concerns. Now I really think that a lot of us kind of listen to this intercession stuff and we all think, “Oh it’s great. I’d love to be an intercessor.” But we want to do it as an extra with all of our own things that we want to do. We don’t want to leave aside our own concerns and our own preoccupations in life, and concentrate on God’s mind and on God’s mind alone.

See — many of us here tonight are really desperately anxious to know what God is thinking at this moment. Well, that’s what God wants. God wants children who are always looking up into his face to see, “What are you thinking, Dad? What way are your eyes looking? What do you want to do?” As they do this, then he begins to guide them with his eye and to show them what he wants them to pray for. That is the way into real intercession.

And so in a group like this tonight, what would happen is the Holy Spirit would be imparting to someone over here what someone over here needs. The Holy Spirit would be impressing upon some brother back there what some sister here needs. Some brother back there would be sensing what some couple needs. That would be what is happening if we were real intercessors — if we really came in here tonight not all preoccupied with what we were going to get out of the service, not all taken up with whether we were going to enjoy it or not, and not all taken up with our relationships with each other — but all taken up with God and his mind.

Loved ones, it honestly is possible for the infinite mind of God to impart to all of us little people what his particular mind is for us and for our prayers. It is possible. That’s God’s plan.

His plan is that we would be in direct contact with him all day — the way it works with a computer firm where you can link up with any computer in New York, in Carolina or anywhere in the world. You can link up to any computer. The Father is a massive infinite mind who can see all the needs in the whole universe. He cannot only see the needs in your home with your mum and dad, but he can see the order in which those needs have to be met for them to see Jesus clearly. He can impart that to your mind.

But it requires us to be preoccupied with God’s mind. You know how we are. We’re preoccupied with all kinds of manipulation of the things of his kingdom and all kinds of battles that we’re having with each other. We’re preoccupied with anything other than with the great mind of God.

And really, it is possible to get to know a person’s mind. You know it with your friends. I see husbands and wives sitting here. You know I could ask your wife if she’d like to go to this or that, and you could answer for her because you know her mind so well. And some of us who have roommates know what they’re thinking. It’s possible to get to know a person’s mind just by traveling with them for years and years. Now, it’s possible to do the same with the Father. It’s possible to know his mind.

But you can see what he’s facing. It’s like a great telephone exchange and we’re all busy dialing like mad and calling him up and saying, “Rain over here.” This one is saying, “Sunshine over here.” And this one’s saying, “Convert my father,” and this one is saying, “Convert my mother.” This one is saying, “Heal my brother.” All kinds of a weird cacophony of requests are coming up to God which have nothing to do with his dear will. If he did answer them, the entire place would blow up in chaos and anarchy — because everything would be happening in the wrong order.

And don’t you see that it’s not simply a matter of getting the benefits of Jesus’ atonement down to us men and woman any old way? There is a certain order in which these things have to come. You know that from ordinary experiences here in our own lives. Any engineering project has a certain order that has to be followed. Otherwise it’s chaotic. Learning a language, there’s a certain order to it — otherwise it’s chaotic. Doing anything requires that you do certain things in a certain order. So it is with the application of the benefits of the atonement.

And what God most yearns for is a people who would be preoccupied with his mind, rather than with their own needs — or even, strangely enough, with other people’s needs. That they be preoccupied with God’s mind. “Father, what is your mind for my roommate?” That means first of all you have to be dead to the unpleasant affects of your roommate upon you. Otherwise you’ll be asking, “Lord, deal with their temper. Deal with their temper.” But you’ll be asking purely for a selfish motive. So you can see it’s very necessary to die to a lot of the effects that other people have on you, in order to pray for them according to God’s will.

Now what this brings then is a real sense not only of identification with Jesus, but a real sense of identification with the people. Jesus loves us so much that he feels everything that we feel. Jesus knows what you’re thinking tonight. He knows every feeling that you have at this moment. He knows every worry in your own mind. He knows every resentment in your heart. He knows you. He goes through all the agonies with you.

Now if we are to be intercessors we need to let Jesus come in and be like that through us to other people. It means identifying yourself with the people for whom you are praying. It means really

feeling with them, going through their agonies with them, and really loving them. Empathizing in the sense of being with them in the midst of the thing. In other words, you can’t intercede for somebody unless you feel deeply for them.

Many of us have talked kind of glibly about healing. Healing only comes out of a deep, deep love for a person. It only comes out of a deep compassion in your heart for a person. Interceding is not just wrapping a word off or interceding and saying, “Lord, deal with this person.” Interceding is a deep identification with people, and therefore it really does involve an agonizing. It really does involve an agonizing.

When Jesus was on the cross he had one hand up to the Father and he had the other hand around us. We with all our sin were pulling ourselves away from God, and Jesus was trying to pull us to God. And the tension and strain of that was what he suffered on Calvary. Intercession is doing that. Intercession is making a bridge between God and the people that are stretching away from God. Therefore there is an agony in intercession. There is a deep sensing of God’s agony when he looks upon a dear one who is drinking himself into alcoholism. There’s the agony of God that you feel when you think of a person who is in that situation.

When you think of a couple who are about to break their marriage up, there’s the agony of God as he looks upon something that started beautifully at an alter — with them promising never to part from each other until death parts them. You feel the agony of that. Only if a person senses God’s agony at what someone else is experiencing — only then does he begin to be an intercessor.

That’s what you find in Romans 9:2 — the sheer agony that there is in real intercession. Verse 1 gives the completion of the sentence: “I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.”

So this was Paul who said, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” This was Paul who said, “Rejoice. Again, I say rejoice.” But when he was interceding for others he experienced that sorrow and unceasing anguish in his heart.

That’s really what heals relationships. I think often you and I have a broken relationship with someone, and we feel it’s going to be healed by running a sensitivity group session with them. Or, we sense it’s going to be healed by thinking, “Let’s just be honest with them. Just be honest. Tell each other how we really feel.” And it’s just so crude.

Really, many of the relationships that are broken and strained among us will only be healed if we have great anguish for that dear one and love them with all our hearts before God, and if we are in anguish and sorrow before God on their behalf. Only if you really sense an agony in your own spirit that they are in this kind of situation in regard to God — only then does the Holy Spirit begin to intercede.

You find it in Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not known how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” The King James Version says, “The Spirit intercedes with groaning that cannot be uttered.” I think many sons and daughters receive revelation by the Holy Spirit because of moms and dads who just have a deep heartache before Jesus. Not for their son or their daughter, but for this child of God — primarily because of God for God’s sake.

So often your spirit can yearn without words and often the works that take place in a body like this take place because some dear ones are having that groaning in their heart that they cannot express. And yet, it is very important to have that — the expression of the agony in God’s heart when he sees two people not getting on together, when he sees one person who is not trusting God at all, or when he sees another person who is being harsh to a friend. It’s God expressing that through a human heart that begins to make intercession possible.

You find the same truth in Galatians 4:19. It’s this that would bring white hairs to saints. Saints really would not have white hairs if they had only themselves to get to heaven. Galatians 4:19: “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!” So it’s like travailing and laboring as a woman does when she’s about to deliver her baby. It’s like that for any new births.

So you can kind of sense that most of the work of God is invisible work like that. And if this body ever fails to come into what God wants for it, it will be because of lack of that kind of intercession. You and I know it. You and I know that what we’re most discontented with and dissatisfied with is the shallow gospels that so often come over to us in our churches. We so often go to churches and we don’t receive anything and nothing touches us.

It’s not because of the preachers. We are foolish — we think it’s because of the preachers. But a miserable rotten preacher can be used by the Holy Spirit to reflect Jesus if there are mighty intercessors in the body. It’s that kind of agonizing that brings about changes in the body.

So when we get to heaven, really it will be some people here who are not even known by many others that God will draw out and say, “It was through you I built this work,” or, “I built this ministry in Amsterdam,” or, “I built this ministry in Campus Church.” There’s no question of that. It will not be through those of us who are visible and who are seen and heard. It may be through some of us if we are true intercessors. But it will be essentially through a lot of intercession that is never seen or heard of. Because what happens is a whole congregation senses the yearnings of the heart of God.

See you think of the times you’ve offended your dad or mum. Think of the times you’ve hurt them deeply, and you looked into their face and you saw all the hurt, and all the agony. That’s what drew you back. It’s when you sense the aching of a heart that loves you that you draw back to that person. And that’s why God wants some of us to agonize with the same pain that he has in his heart — because that begins to be made known through the Holy Spirit and begins to be used by God.

I’d like just to mention one other thing that can be talked about in a very brief time. We’ve talked about the importance of identification. You’ll see these things more clearly taught and fully expounded in the book Intercessor by Rees Howells. We’ve talked about the importance of agony and then the importance of authority. You cannot really intercede for someone if you’re interceding up hill. And that’s the way most of us are trying to intercede.

We’re preoccupied with how the people are themselves, so we’re preoccupied with the problem. So we’re kind of praying up from the bottom of a deep pit: “Lord, I know this is going to be difficult to do, but Lord, will you touch this person?” There’s only one place in which we can intercede, and that’s shown in Ephesians 2:6. You get the continuity of the sentence if you look at Ephesians 2:1 and then go down to Verse 6: “And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and

sins in which you once walked.” And Verse 6: “And raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Now the only position in which you can intercede with authority is in that position at the Father’s right hand.

That is not just an intellectual idea. You do not sit in your room at home and say, “Ah, I’m really at God’s right hand. That’s it. I’m really at God’s right hand. Yeah, I’m at your right hand, Lord. Alright, I imagine you and I imagine myself here at your right hand.”

There’s only one way to God’s right hand, and that’s the way Jesus got there. So Jesus was walking on the earth, then he came to a certain place, and then he went into a certain tomb. And from that tomb he was resurrected and ascended to the right hand of God. Now there’s only one way to the right hand of God — and that is through death with Jesus, and the Holy Spirit making real to you your ascension with him.

All I can do tonight is to testify that it is possible to experience that. In other words, it’s possible always to be praying down. That’s the position of authority. You know that some of us have hard times in the office because the atmosphere is just so sharp and so poisonous that we cannot possibly believe God could do anything about it. Now you cannot pray from the middle of that situation. You have to die to that whole situation first, come into that tomb with Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to raise you to the right hand of the Father. And from that position, you can intercede for that office.

Now all I can share tonight — it’s such a deep truth — that all I can share is that it’s possible for the Holy Spirit to make that real to you. It’s no imagination, and it’s not the power of positive thinking. It is possible to allow God to raise you to the right hand of the Father where you know that’s where you are.

The last thing I want to share is what Howells talks about, and loved ones, you really need to deal with this just very carefully. Howells then talks about the position of intercession — that there is a position into which God can lift you for intercession for certain things. So you remember he shares that he had laid on his heart the position of the tramps in his hometown. The tramps, the down and outs, the skid row people. He had laid on his heart those people.

And God began to show him some of the obedience’s he had to come into in order to enter fully into that tomb, and be lifted to the right hand of power to intercede for those down and outs. Now he pointed out that he then reached a position where he could intercede for those people. And he called that the grace of intercession. The gain position of intercession or the grace of faith.

He pointed out that there were other people who could at times pray for down and outs, and sometimes their prayers would be answered and sometimes they wouldn’t. So they were receiving the gifts of faith. But he pointed out that there was a position that the intercessor could come into in which he experienced the grace of faith on all occasions for those people. He mentioned George Mueller, who had come into this position of intercession and this grace of faith for orphans.

Mueller had built lots and lots of orphanages. And through obedience and all kinds of dealings God had with him over his money, his position, and the way he operated his own work and his life, he came into that position of intercession for orphans so that he could intercede for orphans and God would deal with them at that very time. Now on occasion he prayed for people to be healed, and on one occasion a person was raised up from a sick bed. But at another occasion he prayed for a person

to be healed and they weren’t. There he was experiencing the gifts of faith in connection with healing.

Howells gives another instance of Pastor Blumhardt in Germany, who came into a position of intercession for sick people. I’ll read it to you in Howells’ words: “He prayed through, and God did open. Not only were hundreds blessed, but he raised the standard for the church. After the final victory he gained such ease of access to the throne that often when letters came asking for prayer for sick people, after just looking up for a single moment he could find God’s will as to whether they were to be healed or not. The sufferings of others became so painful to him that he was pleading for them as if for himself.” That was intercession.

So it is possible to come into a position of intercession that is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds — just by a word of prayer. But, that is a deep place to come in and you come into it through individual dealing with God. It’s not a thing to be played with — you can see that. They aren’t ideas just to be shuttled back and forward. They are truths that only the Holy Spirit can really make real.

Maybe let’s have about two minutes of questions loved ones, if that would help. The truth is that most of us try to pray up, and we’re always looking up, and we’re always looking up to God. In actual fact Ephesians 2:6 says, “God has already raised us up and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Now the reality of that position can be actually made so real to you that you know you’re in that position. You just know you’re in that position. You feel it, your whole being testifies to it, and then you’re able to pray down to the situation and say what Jesus said: not, “Lord, will you move this mountain,” but, “Mountain, be removed and cast into the sea.” So you’re able to pray down with authority commanding the thing to be removed.

Loved ones, I would just remind you that really I’m not trying to frighten you. But these are holy things and difficult things and things that only the Holy Spirit can make real. So don’t play with them. Even the way I’m explaining them is pitiful compared with the realities themselves. But I want you to at least sense that there are high and powerful positions of intercession, that unless we get into them, we will have nothing but tragedy for the first group of us that gets across to India or into China {as missionaries}. Unless some of us come into mighty positions of intercession we’ll have countless deaths, imprisonments, and failures in our own group — because only this kind of intercession will enable us to touch places like China and Russia.

In answer to your question, it seems that we all should see our responsibility that God set before us that we should pray for all in authority. We should intercede for kings. You remember the way God gives general command to us that we should intercede. We all should be involved in intercession. Some of us will be given special ministries, and we will know that when the Holy Spirit sets it before us. But, all of us should be involved in intercession.

I really think the work of God goes forward on the basis of intercessors. The preachers, the singers, and all the rest of us we are mouth pieces. But we are so upside down in our present society that we don’t think that way at all. We think that it’s the preachers, or the singers, or the people who are out in front, they’re the people that are being used by God.