July 19: Intercession – Praying for the Persecuted

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Hebrews 13:3

As we look at our final aspect of intercessory prayer, we are looking at praying for persecuted brethren.

If you haven’t seen The Printing, it’s a great movie on the persecuted church in the former Soviet Union. Another film on the persecuted church under the Inquisition is Flame in the Wind.

Persecuted believers are just like us – they’re not superChristians – they are merely those whom God has chosen to suffer for His name!

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Acts 5:41

How can we pray for persecuted believers?

We can learn about them and pray for them that they remain faithful to Jesus!

Our prayers can go where we cannot…there are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray

Brother Andrew

Another way is to pray for boldness for ourselves to be faithful.

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

Philippians 1:20

At the same point we want to make sure we’re not glorifying martyrdom. God calls us to endure persecution, but not to seek it out!

At the end of a youth camp, teens were telling what God had done in their lives at the campfire service. One teen said that they were so excited they’d be willing to die for Jesus. Another teen echoed the statement. Soon a stream of teens repeated the thought. The camp speaker came to the microphone, and said they missed the point of the messages. “God doesn’t want you to die for Jesus, until you’re willing to live for Jesus.”

Let’s pray that those God has called to pay the ultimate price can be faithful, but pray for faithfulness for those also to “die daily”

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

July 18: Intercession – Praying for enemies!

We’ve looked at praying for those in the ministry, for our brethren, but did you know Jesus told us to pray for our enemies!

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 5:44

They don’t like you. They mistreat you. They took the promotion that you wanted. They have the position you tried to get. They leave you out of their cliques. They give you that look.

Yet Jesus said we need to love them – and pray for them!

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 5:44

Επηρεαζοντων from επι against, and Αρης Mars, the heathen god of war. Those who are making continual war upon you, and constantly harassing and calumniating you.

Adam Clarke

How can we pray for our enemies? Again Adam Clarke has a great analysis:

Pray for them – This is another exquisitely reasonable precept. I cannot change that wicked man’s heart; and while it is unchanged he will continue to harass me: God alone can change it: then I must implore him to do that which will at once secure the poor man’s salvation, and contribute so much to my own peace.

Adam Clarke

July 17: Intercession – Brethren, Pray for us

Brethren, pray for us.

1 Thessalonians 5:25

As we continue looking at the hour of prayer – we are looking at interceding for others.

Sometimes we think of praying for people as a Christian culture thing (maybe a 15% chance I’ll pray for you). But Paul concludes both letters to the Thessalonians with a request for prayer.

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

2 Thessalonians 3:1

In Hebrews, the epistle ends with a similar request for prayer:

Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

Hebrews 13:18

Colossians see Paul again asking for prayer:

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

Colossians 4:3

There are a couple people who ask me regularly how they can pray for me – they are an incredible blessing to me – and I am truly grateful for those who pray for me.

I’ve heard a past governor of Wisconsin share that one of the most touching things he ever heard on the campaign trail was people telling him, “I’m praying for you.”

Prayer changes things – so please pray for others!

July 16: Intercession – Praying for others

As we continue looking at the hour of prayer – let’s focus on interceding for others

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

Romans 1:9

Paul writes to the Romans that he prayed for them continually in his prayers. Who’s on your prayer list?

Perhaps start by browsing the VCY Prayer Line – and see what needs God is laying on your heart to pray for.

Perhaps instead of discarding the Wednesday night prayer bulletin, keep it by your bed and pray for the requests throughout the week.

Perhaps when someone tells you their troubles, instead of just saying “I’ll pray for you” – make a note in your smartphone or notebook.

Perhaps when a relative shares the family tree and invites you to their Ancestry.com account they’ve been working on – add your family tree to your prayer list and work through the “branches” as you pray for your family.

Perhaps use the school, church, or work directory as a start – and maybe ask some of the people – “Anything I can pray for you for?”

Imagine what it must have been like to be a member of First Church of Rome, to receive a letter from the Apostle Paul – and you read:

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

Romans 1:9

Now – what if God wanted to use your prayers like He did Pauls?

July 15: Hour of Prayer – Intercession

As we continue our hour of prayer, we are entering a new segment on the clock – intercession!

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

1 Timothy 2:1-2

Interestingly Paul tells the young preacher Timothy, to begin by praying for rulers. In America we have elected officials – and while many people at church enjoy complaining about the president or the governor or the mayor, there are many more elected officials we have to pray for. Today’s PEP is a good one to bookmark to re-acquaint you with the people who can affect your life.

Federal Executive: The President, Vice President and the Cabinet – a total of 24 officials who have regulatory power to affect your life.

Federal Legislative: Although there are 435 congressmen, and 100 senators, only three of them are directly in line of representation to you.

Federal Judicial: Yes we know about the 9 members of the Supreme Court, but there are also 179 federal Appellate judges in 12 districts. Not to mention 673 federal district judges (find your local judge).

Before we cover more of the elected officials – check out the helpful website from Public Servants’ Prayer – they can connect you to your state and federal elected officials.

Many states provide a system to show you all of your elected officials – such as Wisconsin’s MyVote.WI.gov . It’s amazing how many people at the federal, state, county, municipal, and school board levels represent us (and can tax us!). However, take some time today to pray for those in authority over us!