"True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length." C. H. Spurgeon
When a friend or loved one is struggling or suffering, I am sure we all feel for them. We feel a burden, a heaviness of heart. If there is any closeness in the relationship, we are not surprised that we seem to carry their burden.
But what of the times when we feel heavy or downcast when there is no apparent reason? Have you ever had that happen? Have you ever found yourself in a mental battle of defense? Somehow, you feel the need to examine your every action, looking for failure or fault. Or perhaps a myriad of other accusations arise in your mind.
If you pay attention, you may discover that often these thoughts come in the early hours of the morning. You awake and find yourself reviewing the past day, week, or some other period. It is as if something is pushing you to judge yourself It makes you feel like you are living in a very small, self-centered world. If these things continue, over time you begin to agree with the negative view presented of you.
And the adversary accuses day and night...
There are many mysteries in the bible. Things hidden that we cannot comprehend by mere reason. That is, of course, because such things are spiritual. Things that are going on in the realm of the spirit.We have been given the Holy Spirit as counselor, teacher, and guide. He leads and directs us as in the things of this unseen realm. He reveals spiritual truth that has been hidden.
There is a certain amount of mystery involved with intercession. Consider the scripture that tells us that if one member hurts we all hurt. We can understand among our physical members that if one part hurts, we often feel it in other places. This is known as referred pain. It is because nerve signals from several areas of the body may "feed" the same nerve pathway leading to the spinal cord and brain.
If the natural is a picture of the spiritual, we may have a clue. With the mystery of believers being one body, perhaps there are spiritual implications of referred pain.
I found myself in the mental battles described above. After repeated episodes of such things, I really began to get on my own case. What is wrong with me, I wondered. It is pathetic if my world is so small that all I think about is me. All I think about is what I have done or not done.
After on and off periods of this, the Holy Spirit spoke to me. I came to understand that what I was experiencing was much larger than me. It was the work of the enemy around God's people, at least in some measure. It was an engagement in the spiritual realm with religious spirits. Part of the intercession God had assigned me to. I am sure I am only one of many assigned to that front.
I needed to resist this intrusion of accusation and all it involved. Not only for myself, but I needed to cast these thoughts down on behalf of others. I needed to become offensive in prayer, not defensive or introspective!
Intercession involves prayer, but it is not only prayer. Jesus made intercession for us on the cross. He was bearing our sin and bearing under the pain. The Holy Spirit groans within us with words that cannot be uttered.[ii] God places burdens on people's heart for individuals, people groups, nations, and other such things. In response to the weight of the burden we are compelled to pray, pushed forth into sometimes lengthy prayer in English, in a prayer language, and/or in groaning, crying out to God on their behalf.
There is mystery that surrounds prayer. We do not always understand the nature of prayer. Nor do we understand what God is doing behind the scenes. With that being true, how much more does this apply to intercession. Yet prayer is central in the life of a believer. Jesus Christ ever lives to make intercession for us.[iii] We are to be involved in that same ministry.
The Holy Spirit has been given to us to be comforter, counselor, helper, intercessor, advocate, strengthener, and standby.[iv] When it comes to prayer and its mysteries, He is there to guide and direct us as we wait upon Him. He will direct us on how to pray. With intercession of this type, we must depend on the Spirt for wisdom and discernment, lest we be led astray.
God seeks intercessors. Let us, the church, stand tall to the task. May we also be sensitive and teachable in the many ways He will use those who make themselves available to Him.
[ii] Rom 8:26
[iii] Heb 7:25
[iv] Jn 14::26 Amplified Version
Photo by Sophia Azhou