Richard Earll speaks to Thurrock Watchmen
Richard goes to Community Church South Ockendon. He delivered this guidance to those gathered at the Watchmen prayer meeting in Aveley Christian Centre on Friday 10 November 2017.
It’s good to remind ourselves that God wants us to enjoy a close relationship with Himself, with an amazing lifestyle of prayer.
Included with that, He wants us to be great intercessors, who see powerful interventions from God in answer to prayer.
I’m going to share some thoughts from James 5:17-18, which says,
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
(James 5:17-18 NAS95).
1. Intercessory Prayer starts with Godly concerns
This was written to Christians, and so it shows Elijah was a man, who - like us - was ordinary, but had a passion for God.
Because of this, he was grieved about the way the people of his day (in this case it was the Nation of Israel) were moving away from God, and were becoming increasingly sinful, with all the problems that causes in society.
He wanted God to do something about the situation, so he set himself to pray for the nation.
Note that Elijah knew God had said that if Israel turned away from Him, then famine would come. This would happen to make Israel aware of their sin against God, and that they should return to God, and His ways. Elijah saw this was not happening, so he decided to pray and ask God to bring His word into being, with the intention the Nation would turn back to God.
We are in a similar situation, where our nation is moving away from God’s ways, which are intended to bless, and into ways that are sinful and damaging - so the challenge is to turn our concern into serious prayer for our community, and our nation.
2. Intercessory Prayer is based upon God’s word
Intercessory Prayer is praying the will of God into being.
Because this is the case, our prayer needs to be based upon what God has declared to be His will.
Elijah, who was just like us, and had Godly concerns about the spiritual condition of his Nation - said in his prayer recorded in 1Kings 18:36,
"O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word…”
(1Kings 18:36 NAS95)
Elijah had prayed according to the word of God that applied to his generation and dispensation. We also can pray according to the word of God that applies to our generation and dispensation. That word is declared in 1Timothy 2:1-4, which says,
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
(1Timothy 2:1-4 NIV)
By praying according to this, we can be assured that God will move powerfully in every area of Society to bring people to know Him as the Saviour Who wants to bring peace, blessing, healing and prosperity to them.
Note that in the context of this, in John 12:32, Jesus declared, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
The word that is translated ‘draw’ is the word that was used by fishermen to describe the careful drawing of a net full of fish towards their boat. Once the fish are in the net, they cannot be drawn in any other direction, but towards the one who is gently drawing them towards himself; he is the only one who has influence over them.
Through Intercessory Prayer, we prepare the way for the powerful and effective proclaiming of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through such praying, we begin to cast the net around those who Jesus will draw to Himself so He can transform their lives by His Presence with them, and His blessing upon them.
3. Intercessory Prayer is praying in partnership with Holy Spirit
It tells us that Elijah prayed earnestly, this literally means, he ‘prayed with prayer’.
I suggest this shows he came to a position where he broke through into a realm of Intercession where he began to pray in partnership with the Holy Spirit; he ‘prayed with prayer’.
When we intercede (in this case for our community and our nation), as we draw near to God in prayer,
He will cause us to feel something of what He feels about the situation.
He will cause us to see something of what He sees.
He will show us how He intends to act in the situation, and what in love, He intends to accomplish.
This will give us the encouragement, motivation and faith to pray through until we see the answer - like Elijah, we will find ourselves praying with prayer.
It’s important to note that intercessory prayer is a serious thing. For this reason it needs to be determined, focused, targeted, and specific.
Elijah focused his prayer upon God’s word being fulfilled, with the intention that the seemingly impossible would happen, which was that the influence of the Presence of God would lead the Nation to repent, and turn to Him, and be blessed.
For our Intercession to be real and effective, we need to do the same: we need to be determined, focused, targeted, and specific, because through the kind of prayer we are speaking about we partner with God to change the spiritual atmosphere, and prepare the way for the Spirit of God to move in the hearts of whole populations to receive the word of God, turn back to Him, and be blessed.
God wants us to have the joy and privilege of seeing His intervention into situations that have no possible solution, apart from Himself.
In the context of intercessory prayer, the encouragement and challenge is that God wants us - by prayer - to see His reign as in Heaven, come upon the earth, in other words, to see Him take control in situations that need to change from being negative and harmful, into being positive and blessed: as we saw in the quotation,"…that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
The challenge is that Holy Spirit is looking for people who will be willing to do this.
Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscles of omnipotence.