Prayer Matters 2: The Place of Intercession

We met in college. He was a sophomore, I was a freshman, and after the travesty of a first “date” (we went to a double feature – The Blob and Reefer Madness. Enough said), we became good friends. He graduated and moved back to Los Angeles and though we vowed to stay in touch, I soon learned the reality of Robert Frost’s words about life – it goes on!   A year later, journalism degree in hand, I left the hallowed halls of Xavier University, a bit like Don Quixote, ready to tackle my own windmills and fulfill dreams.

Two decades passed. A new Love had entered my life. He had given Himself wholly to me and I had given myself to Him. I opened myself up to His love and allowed Him to transform my life. My college friend, I heard, had married and was teaching in L.A. I hadn’t seen or heard from him in all those years.

Late one August night the phone rang. “Deborah! What’s happenin’, girl? It’s been a long time!” exclaimed a very familiar voice from my past. He was in Cleveland for a family reunion and had decided to spend a couple of days in Cincinnati before heading back to California. He visited just long enough for us to reconnect and I was able to simply remind him how much God loved him. His last words before he left were, “Pray for me.” And though we promised to stay connected, well, you know what Robert Frost said about life – it goes on!

Months later I just could not get this man out of my spirit. He inhabited my thoughts, and there was such an ominous, menacing feeling associated with each thought. I didn’t know a lot about intercession at the time, but felt such urgency in my spirit to pray for him. After a week of praying in the spirit for him, the sense of urgency and fear dissipated, replaced with a sense of peace.

It was at that time that God began teaching me about the power, the privilege and the place of intercession, spiritual warfare and obedience. One Saturday morning weeks after praying for my friend, I was pleasantly interrupted from my domestic duties by a phone call. “Hey, girl! How ya’ doing?” Within minutes I understood why I had been praying. He had been going through hell, had sought solace in drugs and alcohol. He’d had a horrible accident one night! Totaled the car, but he walked away unharmed.

God had allowed two college students to meet, seemingly by chance and then reconnect twenty years later. That same God knew one of those students would be on a path of self-destruction and in the other He would begin to birth a thing called intercession.

In my rejoicing that my friend was all right, a sobering thought occurred. What if I had ignored what I had been feeling? What if I’d  dismissed that unction to pray? What if I had brushed off the wooing of Holy Spirit? What if I had declined the invitation to come to the place of intercession? Might the outcome have been drastically different?

Maybe Robert Frost’s observation about life wasn’t quite so accurate. Maybe life doesn’t just go on without the effective, fervent prayers of the righteous responding to the voice of the Father. Maybe a  life — yours, mine, or that of someone else  — is contingent on our willingness to obey the voice of the Father, to partner with Him, to link our faith with His power through prayer!

The thought that God, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, invites us into His throne room, reveals His heart, His purpose, His plan to us and then says, “My Child, speak My word back to Me in faith and I will perform it!” still astounds me. He has chosen to work in conjunction with our prayers!

What lives have been spared because we answer the call to pray? What tides have been turned? What victories have been won? Whose future has been  altered? How is my life, your life  different, richer, fuller because someone prayed? Because someone stood in the gap?

I look back over my life and know beyond a doubt that  prayer matters! Intercession matters!

So . . . Don’t forget to pray!

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