Day 5: Intercession - Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools

Day 5: Intercession

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

The worst-kept secret in church history is that most people, even most Christians, don’t really like prayer. Don’t get me wrong, we still do it, mainly out of guilt or obligation or because we know it’s good for us, making prayer the spiritual equivalent of eating celery.

Read a sampling of the ways Jesus described prayer—as today’s verses illustrate—and you’ll see that it is a profound invitation. Prayer is, I believe, the most profound invitation God offers us on the other side of grace. It’s an invitation to be intercessors. To bridge the gap between the divine and the daily. To make it “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

On the final night of Jesus’ life, in a candid moment with his disciples, the apostle John records arguably the most empowering and confusing words Jesus ever said: “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). It reads like a sitcom breakup speech. But it’s the furthest thing from it. Jesus goes on to say, “In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

Jesus is unmistakably explaining, “You’ve gotten used to bringing requests, needs, questions, and complaints to me in person, but soon you’ll go directly to the Father, just as you’ve seen me do.” He isn’t describing some real-life version of wishes to a cosmic genie that occasionally come true if you figure out the formula. He is sharing his power with you and inviting you to exercise that power through intercessory prayer—the kind of prayers that start with love for someone else and end with inviting God’s activity into places where that love is lacking.

What if you took that invitation seriously? What if you really believed what Jesus said about the power of your prayers?

You are a ruler, a co-heir with Christ, a manager of heavenly resources. What are you doing with all that authority? Isn’t it time you start using it?

To Practice: When Jesus taught us to intercede, he used the phrase “on earth as it is in heaven.” What do you see on earth that lacks the touch of heaven? Think of friends outside of relationship with Jesus, broken situations and systems, even broken places within yourself. Anywhere and everywhere you recognize need, ask heaven to come.

From the Book: