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Prayer and Joy
“Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,”
Philippians 1:4 NLT
Barb and I have each been spending at least one hour a week since early 2020 participating in intercessory prayer. Our church has a team of “prayer warriors” who have been praying 24/7 for over 15 months now. We each go to our own place and spend an hour deep in prayer.
What is intercessory prayer? From Wikipedia, “Intercession or intercessory prayer is the act of asking or requesting to a deity or to a saint in heaven to pray on behalf of oneself or others.” It’s something that has been practiced by Christians since the earliest days of the Church.
For example (also from Wikipedia), “According to Lionel Swain, of St. Edmund's College, Ware, St. Paul believed intercession to be one of the most important aspects of faith and praying life, as praying for others is a recurring theme in his works. Prayer acts as a way for St. Paul to acknowledge God's power. Intercessory prayer also acts as a way for the Apostle to "share in ... the Father's redemptive love". Paul believed that prayer transformed the person doing the praying, as much as the one being prayed for, which creates a stronger bond between him and God.”
We primarily pray on behalf of others, although we also ask God to help us with specific things we’re struggling with. When we first began intercessory prayer, I was doubtful that I’d be able to spend a full 60 minutes praying! That time just flies by now, and we never run out of people to pray for.
As noted in the comment above, prayer does transform the person doing the praying as much as the one being prayed for. I now find praying to be a joyful act, as Paul said in today’s Scripture verse. That’s not to say that I’m not occasionally reduced to tears while praying for some person or group, but when those prayers are answered — as they often are — it’s a reason to be very joyful!
Need prayer? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add you to our weekly prayers.