Photo from workforjesus.co.za
Prayer has been one of the foundational stones that we laid down at the start of our church in 1996. Over the years we have seen people trained up in their prayer lives, as well as people growing in their hunger for God. Prayer should always be the lifeline of the church. It helps us to connect with God and learn the important lesson of dependence (Jn 15:5).
Early on in our church, we saw the importance of prayer as we did ministry. We even started up an intercessory prayer team to pray for the different concerns in our church. But as our church and ministry started to grow, we grew less dependent on God. I have always wondered about this inverse correlation – the more successful or fruitful we are, the less we pray. It should always be in direct correlation, but our pride and human independence always cause us to go in the opposite direction.
This is why I was elated to hear that some people in our church back in Ann Arbor felt a strong burden to start up the intercessory prayer team again. It was definitely something that God was stirring in the hearts of the people. It was also a burden that the pastors were sensing from God. Therefore, when the proposal of restarting the intercessory prayer team came up, we just knew that this was from the Lord.
We have to keep in mind that this team is not a group of people just gathering together to pray because intercessory prayer is a bit different from “just praying.” They are specifically “standing in the gap” on behalf of others and asking God to intervene in a particular situation. They are called to follow in the long tradition of the Old Testament intercessors; but more particularly, they follow the example of Christ in being a priest (1 Pe 2:5, 9; Rev 1:5), who represents the people before God.
We also have to remember that every Christ-follower is called to pray; therefore we cannot relegate all the responsibility for prayers to this team. Instead, the people on this team have a specific calling to intercede on someone else’s behalf with a great level of faith, confidence and perseverance for God to intervene. Due to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, we are able to approach God with great confidence and that He will hear us and answer us according to His will.
The pastors and I are looking forward to partnering up with this ministry team. They have already set in motion a two-way line of communication where they can communicate things with us, as the Lord impresses things on their hearts; and the pastors will be able to share some of the concerns and needs that will require an extra level of intense intercession.
I cannot wait to see all the ways in which God will work throughout this year with the partnership of this team.