July 21, 2023

Intercession: Power to Change Lives

Genesis 18:16-33

“Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?”

—  Genesis 18:23-24

Prayer doesn’t stop with making requests for ourselves. It ­reaches out to include others. That’s why, with great intensity, Paul could say, “I urge . . . that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. . . . This is good, and pleases God” (1 Timothy 2:1-3). God works through intercession—prayer for others—to do mighty things. We can pray powerfully to God for others—and when we need prayer, with others pleading our cause before the Almighty, that can be a powerful experience.

Abraham’s visitors informed him that Sodom and Gomorrah were about to be destroyed. Knowing that his nephew Lot was in danger there, Abraham pleaded with God to spare the city if even fifty, or forty, or thirty, or twenty, or even ten righteous people lived there. And God said he would spare the city if even so few righteous people were there.

This episode demonstrates the powerful impact of intercessory prayer. It’s as if the intercessor has one hand reaching out to a needy, broken world, and the other hand reaching up to the gracious God—­linking them together. Intercession gives us an opportunity to partner with God in accomplishing his work. When we intercede for others, we come close to the heart of Jesus, the great intercessor (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

Father, thank you for the privilege of prayer. May we seek to be conduits of your grace, interceding for others so that your presence and power may fill their lives. Amen.

About the author — Dan Jongsma

Daniel Jongsma serves as an interim pastor in Fulton, Illinois. He has pastored congregations in Elmhurst and Fulton, Illinois; in Dearborn, Michigan; and in Nashville, Tennessee. Dan also served as a church planter in the Chicago area. He and his wife, Gloria, have three daughters and four grandchildren.

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