Oswald Chambers, in his devotional book, MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, reveals an important piece of intercessory prayer that I am afraid I miss much of the time. He says “Worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other. Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray.” Chambers asks, “Are we so worshipping God that we rouse ourselves up to lay hold on Him so that we may be brought into contact with His mind about the ones for whom we pray?*
When prayers have gone unanswered for a length of time, I do seek God’s mind, asking if I am praying correctly, and if not, how He would have me to pray. But to do this with every individual that asks for intercessory prayer – I embarrassingly admit I do not. Rather, when I am asked to pray, I usually stop right at that moment and pray as that person has requested, and I continue to petition in the same manner after we’ve parted.
Philippians 2:5 says “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” 1 John 5:14-15 says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
The prayer that never fails is when we pray according to the mind of Christ Jesus. We need to soak in that truth. We need to ingrain it in our thought pattern so that we will automatically seek His mind on every matter of prayer. God wants the absolute best for each of His children and none of us are wise enough to know what that is. He alone can see every issue and implication in its entirety. The victorious prayer is the one guided by God.
Living intimately with God means living in worshipful relationship and accepting His will over our own every time. We are to conform to Him, not Him to us.
Jesus, may I remember the privilege and the importance of worship before I pray. As I worship You, reveal to me Your mind for the person of intercession. Then, may the precious blessings of Your love and Your will be poured out on those I bring before Your throne.
*MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, devotional reading for March 30.
Scriptures from NIV translation (italics mine).