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Make Your Prayers Other-Centered

"He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to
intervene ..." (Isaiah 59:16 NIV)

Most of our prayers are of the low order, or maybe more like the fast-food order.

We pull up to the drive-thru and yell out our requests to God and then expect him to
have our order ready by the time we pull up to the window.

Yet, Gods view of prayer seems far above the utilitarian. He calls us to a violent
form of intercession, where we take on the spiritual forces of darkness on behalf of
our race, once invaded, now occupied by the prince of darkness.

Paul teaches us to put on the whole armor of God. If you follow the sequence of his
instruction, were suiting up for battle so we can stand firm in prayer (Ephesians 6).

We pray for others like Jesus would pray for them, thinking about them the way he
would think, covering them with prayer, protecting them through prayer, and
advocating for them in the same way Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and
advocates for us.

It is other-centered prayer on the extreme end of other.

Isaiah describes God as appalled that no one was interceding for his people. We
have the ability more appropriately, the duty to intercede on behalf of our
brothers and sisters (Isaiah 59:16 NIV).

And we do not do this alone, for the Lord is already interceding, and we are simply
joining him. Like the armor Paul describes for us, the Lord is suited for battle. Isaiah
says: He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his
head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a
cloak (Isaiah 59:17 NIV).

Talk About It

Ephesians 6 says to pray "on all occasions." At which occasions have you
been more likely to pray?
How does it change your confidence and your prayer life to know that God is
interceding on behalf of his people?

12 Keys to a More Powerful Prayer Life


Years ago, an old saint shared with me twelve prayer principles from the life of Jesus
Christ. It made such a difference in my personal prayer life. There are only 17 references
to Jesus praying and most of them are in the book of Luke.
1. The principle of ILLUMINATION.
Luke 3:21-22 says, When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized
too. And as He was praying, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in
bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, You are My Son whom I
love. With You I am well pleased. The setting here was Jesus baptism and this is the
first recorded example of Jesus praying and we see in the book of Luke three results of
His praying.

Heaven opened up.


The Holy Spirit came down.
The Father spoke.

These are three results when we make contact with God in our prayers. Symbolically,
heaven opens up and we receive Gods blessing. The Holy Spirit fills our lives afresh.
And the Father speaks to us. If youd like to know the Spirits power in your life, if youd
like God to speak to you, you must practice the prayer life of Jesus.
2. The principle of ISOLATION.
Luke 5:16 says, Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Often means it
was His habit. He did it in places where He was all by Himself. I believe this is absolutely
essential. We need to spend time alone with God everyday. Jesus returned again and
again to a lonely place. Find that place where you can get alone with God, where you
can be isolated and pray aloud and let God speak to you.
3. The principle of CONCENTRATION.
Luke 6:12 says, In those days Jesus went out on the mountainside to pray and He
spent the night praying to God. Notice it says, He spent the night Some of the
greatest lessons of my prayer life have been nights that I have spent in prayer. My
decision to marry my wife was made in a prayer meeting all night with one other person.
Sometimes when I pray it takes just a few minutes for me to get my thoughts collected.
Sometimes it takes a long time for me to even get in the mood. Ive found that its
important to spend extended blocks of time with God so that you can concentrate on
what He wants you to do and His will for your life.
4. The principle of INSULATION.
The Bible says, Once when Jesus was praying in private, the disciples were with
Him. Notice that the disciples were with him but He still found time for personal prayer.
This is an important principle because theres not always time to get alone by yourself.
There are times when you cant be isolated. I think of this as kind of an incubator verse.
Babies can be in the middle of a busy hospital but they can be incubated in a situation
that protects them from the hustle and bustle around them. Sometimes I find as a pastor
I just cant get alone, but I can have an attitude of isolation or insulation and I can be
silent even in the middle of a traffic jam. My prayer can overcome the interruptions when
I put myself in an attitude of insulation.
5. The principle of TRANSFORMATION.
We find this in Luke 9:28-29. He took Peter, John and James with Him and went up on
a mountain to prayer. As He was praying the appearance of His face changed and His
clothes became as bright as a flash of lightening. Prayer changes you. Do you think its
possible to spend so much time with God that when you come away your face shows it?
2 Corinthians 3:18 says, We all with unveiled faces behold the glory of the Lord. As we
look on Him We are transformed from one degree to another. The word in that passage
is the word katoptrizo. Its the only time that word is used in the entire Bible. It means,
to seriously look at, to contemplate, to meditate, to gaze on like somebody gazing in a
mirror. As we gaze on the word, as we reflect on the word, like a mirror reflects, we
become more and more like Christ. And were transformed.
6. The principle of EXEMPLIFICATION.
Luke 11:1 says, One day Jesus was praying in a certain place and when He finished
one of His disciples said to Him, Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his
disciples. Notice it does not say, Teach us how to pray, which is often misquoted. It
says Teach us to pray. I would suggest that this is a dangerous prayer to pray. We
should not pray this request unless we really mean it, because God will often use trials
and hardships and difficulties to teach us to pray.
7. The principle of PRESERVATION.
In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus says, Simon, Simon. Satan has asked to sift you as wheat but I
have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. When you have turned back,
strengthen your brothers. This is a prayer of protection. We dont just believe in prayer,
we believe in God. Jesus not only saves you but He prays for you. Robert Murray
McCheyne once said, If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not
fear a million enemies. God is praying for us right now. Jesus is seated at the right hand
of the Father making intercession for us.
8. The principle of PREPARATION.
In Luke 22:42 Jesus prays Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My
will but Yours be done. Notice the change in this prayer. First, He said, take it away
from Me. Then He said, Lord, leave it. He prayed earnestly. Why? Because He knew
He would be facing in the next few hours the greatest trial of His life and He didnt want
to approach it prayerlessly.
9. The principle of REVELATION.
This is the prayer that Jesus prayed on the cross. One of the seven last words of Christ
was, Father, forgive them for they do not know what theyre doing. We can really learn
a lot about Christs character here because Hes in agony. Hes in pain, yet Hes praying
for other people. When you watch what other people say and do and pray when their
back is up against the wall, it reveals whats really inside of them. Prayer, like nothing
else, is revelation of a person. It shows whats inside the heart.
10. The principle of SATISFACTION.
In Luke 22:46, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Father, into Thy hands I commit My
Spirit. When He said this, He breathed His last. Jesus satisfied God the Father
because He did what He was supposed to do. But more than just that, Jesus was
satisfied Himself with what He had done. Because of that that He had satisfied the
Father and He was satisfied with Himself He can satisfy every need that you will ever
have. He said, Ive finished it all. Its all complete.
11. The principle of GRATIFICATION.
Jesus expressed His gratitude for what God had done in His life. It says that when He
was at the table with the twelve, He broke bread, He gave thanks and He broke it and
began to give it to them. He gave thanks. This is probably the one sin that is the root of
so many other sins ingratitude.I believe our prayers should be filled with thanksgiving.
In Philippians it says, Make your requests with thanksgiving. When we ask, we should
also be grateful at the same time.
12. The principle of BENEDICTION.
Luke 24:50 says, When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His
hands and He blessed them. Its interesting to me that the very last thing Jesus did was
hold His hands out and He blessed them. He holds His hands out so they would see the
scars that are in His palms. It is no wonder that when He went to bless them and held
out His scarred hands that they went from there immediately and left to spend ten days
in prayer.

Intercessory Prayer: How to Build a Bridge and Intercede for Others


Scripture tells us that when we say prayers of intercession, we are building bridges
between God and the people for whom we pray.
Remember, this isnt just a prayer, its a deliberate action. It isnt just saying words, its a
construction project. In 1 Timothy 2:12, Paul writes:
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of
thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a
quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Because Jesus has done the work of intercession and still intercedes for us with the
Father, and because the Holy Spirit intercedes for us as well, helping us unburden
ourselves, we can now intercede for others. The Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit have
built bridges to God that we may cross over, so that we, too, can be in that bridge-
building business. We have the incredible privilege of building a span from heaven to
earth, from God to the person for whom we are praying.
Lets imagine you have a twenty-year-old son named Josh who hasnt been walking with
the Lord. Youre concerned that hes being drawn into the wrong crowd and straying into
some dark areas, and you want to intercede for him.
Jesus does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our
aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves. Romans 8:27 MSG
So you come to God with this crushing weight on your heart because you love Josh,
because youre deeply concerned for him and some of the choices hes been making,
because you feel helpless to change his course. What do you do? How do you intercede
for him?
First, you take hold of God.
When the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him how to pray, He told them, essentially,
The first thing you do is to honor God. You say, Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your
name. (Matthew 6:9)
Your version might be something like this:
Father, I thank You that You made a bridge for me. I thank You for saving me by grace
through faith, through the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank You, God, that You are an all-
knowing, all-powerful God. You are a loving God and a merciful God, and I praise You
for Your greatness for Your wisdom for Your kindness to me
You take hold of God by acknowledging who He is and by thanking Him and praising
Him for all He has done.
Second, you take hold of Josh.
You say, Lord, You know the weight on my heart today. Im bringing Josh to You right
now. I ask You to protect him. I ask You, dear Father, to take away all the evil influences
of friends around him who are trying to lead him in a wrong direction. I ask You, Lord,
even to replace those friends with other friends who know You and love You and will
bring Josh to You. You know this deep concern on my heart, Lord, I cant hide it from
You. So I bring it to You, in Jesus name.
Do you see how that works?
You take hold of God in one hand and take hold of Josh in the other hand, and you
become a bridge in between them. You stand in the gap for your son. You pray, God,
Im bringing Josh to You, and Im asking for a miracle in his life. Im asking that the Holy
Spirit will go to Josh and convict him of the way he has been living. I know that this is
Your will, Father, and that right now I am praying in Your will.
So you pray for Josh, and dont give up on him, no matter what. You continue to pray
until there is an intersection between Josh and God, until Josh finally runs into Gods
arms and Gods way becomes his way.
Jesus Himself said it: Pray always, and dont give up.
The reason any of us can do this is because Jesus has first made a bridge for us and
an intersection for us.
You and I cant begin to imagine what that cost Him.
Not long ago I read a story in a history book. After World War I, the United States
government allocated funds to help care for the orphans in Europe. At one of the
orphanages, an emaciated man brought in a very thin little girl. He said, I would like for
you to take care of my little girl, please.
They asked him if the girl was his daughter, and he said yes. Were so sorry, they told
him, but our rules and policies are such that we cant take in any children who have a
living parent.
But I was in prison camps during the war, he protested. And now Im too sick to work.
Her mothers gone. She will die if you dont take care of her!
The officials felt compassion for the distressed man but told him their hands were tied.
There was nothing they could do.
Finally the man said, Do you mean to tell me that if I were dead, you would take care of
my little girl, and she could have food and clothes and a home?
Yes, they replied.
With that, the man picked up the little girl, hugged her and kissed her, and then put her
hand in the hand of the man at the desk. I will arrange it, he said. He walked out of the
orphanage and sacrificed his own life.
Why do I tell that story?
Only because it reminds me of another story.
Somewhere in eternity, the day came when Jesus said to the Father, Do You mean that
if I die, those people on earth can live and have a home with You forever?
And the Father said, Yes.
With that, Jesus put our hands in the Fathers hand, walked out of Heaven, was born on
earth, and died on the cross and paid for our sins. In so doing, He made a bridge for us
so that we could have a relationship with a holy God.
If you have never done so, you need to walk across the bridge that Jesus provided for
you at the cost of His own blood, His own life.
Then, remembering that Jesus built that bridge for you (and with the Spirits help), you
can begin to intercede for others, so that their paths will intersect with the path of God
and they will walk with Him forever.
Excerpted with permission from Why Keep Praying When You Dont See Results by
Robert Morris, copyright Robert Morris.
***

Your Turn
Maybe youre thinking right now about someone you know who needs Jesus but whom
youve quit praying for. Lets stop right now and pray for that friend or family member!
We can be the bridge between God and that person! Who are you praying for today?
Come share with us on our blog. Wed love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily