To intercede for others
Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” Luke 22:39-45 Prayer is easier said than done. Even though God told His followers to intercede for one another, they find it difficult to do what He called them to do. “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3). The sad thing is that there are so few intercessors nowadays. Christians would rather spend their time bickering and disputing. Also, most Christians operate on the shallowest levels of prayer. God wants to bring you into the deep levels of intercessory prayer that only a few ever experience. Deep and extended intercession are not easy. Jesus has to rebuke His disciples when He found them sleeping instead of praying. He called them to come with Him so they could intercede for Him. Intercession involves staying before God when everyone else has gone away or sleeps (Luke 22:45). It involves experiencing brokenness with the Father over those who continually rebel against Him. Jesus Himself pleaded on behalf of Peter that he will remain strong in his faith even in the midst of trials. “But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). Do you long for power of the Holy Spirit to move just like in the Pentecost in your life and in the church? Pentecost came after Jesus went through agonizing prayer in Gethsemane and the suffering and death in the cross. Every believer should grow in prayer and you can only grow in your prayer life when you start to intercede for others. When you do not feel like praying, that is exactly the time you ought to pray. You can only grow in prayer when you become intercessor. And you can only be an intercessor when you commit yourself to pray and then doing it regularly. Don’t allow yourself to become satisfied with shallow and self-centered praying. Stay with God in prayer until He leads you to pray at the next level where He will bring you to experience the joy of praying for others.