How does it make you feel to know someone is praying for you? Personally, it’s encouraging and can be empowering. Jesus modeled Intercessory Prayer. In John 17, we have His prayer for the disciples. John writes, “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” (17:9) Isn’t that a remarkable distinction? Jesus says that He is “not praying for the world.” The Son of God, who died for the world, specifically prayed for them (His disciples) to the exclusion of everyone else. That’s hard for me to wrap my mind around.
Later on, Jesus tells Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Lk. 22:31-32) Again, we see the Lord engaging in Intercessory Prayer, and such prayer, I might add, changes things.
I heard a story told by Howard Hendricks, who for years taught at the Dallas Theological Seminary and pastored in churches. He said: “Years ago in a church in Dallas, we were having trouble finding a teacher for a junior high boys class. The list of prospects had only one name and when they told me who it was I said, ‘You've got to be kidding.’ But I couldn't have been more wrong about that young man. He took the class and revolutionized it.” Hendricks was so impressed with things, he invited the young man to his home for lunch. He then asked him the secret of his success. The young man pulled out a little black book and on each page, he had a small picture of one of the boys, and under the boy's name were comments like: “having trouble in arithmetic,” or “comes to church against parents' wishes,” or “would like to be a missionary someday, but doesn't think he has what it takes.” He said, “I pray over those pages every day and I can hardly wait to come to church each Sunday to see what God has been doing in their lives."
He can “hardly wait to come to church” to see what God’s been doing. Wow, concerning the posture you and I ought to have in regard to our prayers, that’s spot on. May God help us to be praying for others and to be excited to see God’s work in things!