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Intercessary Prayer

by Joy Casey,
Executive Director, Mission 1:27

I am in the midst of taking a fantastic class called Perspectives that gives an in-depth teaching on the world Christian movement. Spurred by one of the teachings, I have been mulling over something about prayer that brought up some interesting aspects I had not thought of before. You, too, might be interested since prayer is essential to Christ-followers but there is so much about prayer that is a mystery.

Rebellion Against the Status Quo
Have you ever looked at prayer as rebellion? I usually recoil from the word ‘rebellion’ because it has many negative connotations and I am basically a rule follower… but in the area of intercessory prayer rebellion is vital. How? Intercessory prayer is essentially rebellion against or the non-acceptance of the status quo. It is refusal to accept as normal that which is abnormal and completely opposite to God’s ways. Rebellion is wholehearted rejection of every scheme and agenda that stands against God. And we must be diligent to recognize the sometimes subtle acceptances that creep into our psyche. Becoming resigned to “life as it is” will cripple our prayer lives. Although we may feel powerless to change our broken society, we must remember that God’s power, realized through prayer, will overcome evil with good.

Do we accept the politically correct version of our world?
Other religions have taken resignation and incorporated it into their doctrine. Could it be because experientially they have found their gods powerless to affect change? Religions which stress quiet acceptance of the status quo disparage petitionary prayer. The Stoics believe in total acceptance of the existing world and asking for change is a bad thing. Buddhists and other Eastern religions hold a similar view, and the idea of “fate” in Hinduism imprisons millions of people in spiritual and economic poverty. Secularism, which we perhaps are more familiar with, says that life is disconnected from a relationship with God. We must come to terms with life and accept things as they are. Some believe God may be present and active in the world, but it is not a presence that changes anything. It is easy to adjust to the PC version of our world.

Petitionary prayer expresses the hope that life as it is encountered can
and should be different.

 

 

If we accept, however despairingly, that the situation is unchangeable, why would we pray? It is not that we are unaware of what is happening around us, but a sense of impotence leads us to resignation and acceptance of what is wrong. It is a truce with the world that is deadly to intercessory prayer.

“At all times we should pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)

Two huge impacts on people… let’s pray!
In a substantial area in Ethiopia where we are engaged in orphan care, family sponsorship, small business starts, kindergartens, church plants and evangelism, two devastating things have happened… one is man-made and one is the fault of El Nino. In very broad strokes, the Oromo tribe (Ethiopia’s most populous people group) is at odds with the prevailing government and their dissatisfaction has resulted in attacks on non-Oromo people living in Oromo territory. Just one week ago, anger erupted violently erupted in two areas where Mission 1:27 is heavily involved. The Federal police were called in to suppress the uprising, but not before non-Oromo people were threatened. Fundamental Muslim agitators took this opportunity to strike against Christian churches, non-Oromo Christian individuals and Christian-owned businesses. Many churches, businesses and homes were burned.

Prayer points

  • A mighty move of peace and rest by the power of the Holy Spirit
  • That the Good News would spread rapidly in the midst of crisis
  • Protection and favor over each individual situation (Psalm 5:11-12)


80% are farmers

clip_image002[4]Farmers plant in the late spring just in time for the rainy season. However, this year the rainy season did not materialize and maize and teff (Ethiopian wheat) stood stunted and dry in the fields. There is little food for the table and even less for the animals. Harvest in the fall was bleak leaving no currency with which to purchase needed staples. Shortage of food caused by the drought brings a sharp increase in malnutrition, secondary ailments from malnutrition, escalating food prices, and a higher rate of school dropout. Household debt has risen sharply and dietary diversity has narrowed significantly. Children are separated from their families to either work as a servant in someone’s home or to live with a relative who is better off. Livestock, if they live, command lower prices at the market because of their deteriorated physical condition due to lack of water and pasture. To put inflationary food prices in perspective, the food budget for our orphanage increased 178% this past month.

Prayer points

  • Rains will come in their proper time to soak the earth
  • Provision for the hungry

We serve a big God who is an expert at finding a way where there is no way. We are helpless, but the Lord of the universe is not. Please pray for the nearly 10 million Ethiopians (75% of them Oromia people) affected by this terrible drought. Don’t accept the status quo and pray for Almighty God to intervene!

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right side, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8