The danger of intercession is that it may backfire. You may become the answer to your own prayer. This is very biblical. In Matthew 9:38 Jesus commands his disciples to pray for more missionaries. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” But then in the next verse he sends out the very ones who were praying.
We have had a prayer team at Bethlehem for several years. They committed themselves to pray on weekday mornings at the church. They prayed during Sunday morning worship services. They designed and planned most of the weeks of prayer as well as the big banners on the east wall of the building.
But then it started to backfire. Kris Torkelson left to go to China last Sunday. John Jenstad flew to Surinam on Tuesday of this week. Paul Lindberg got a vision for Scandinavia, and now he's there! I suppose we could call them “backfire casualties.” They are lost to the prayer team.
But John 12:24 applies. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” The prayer team's loss is the Kingdom's gain. But don't forget that the life and “death” of seeds has a seasonal cycle. The seasons for planting and reaping happen every year.
Now is the time for rebuilding the prayer team. The ministry is too crucial to wait for prayer week. In one sense this is the simplest and the hardest of ministries at Bethlehem. Simple, because the main prerequisite is faith. Hard because Satan opposes prayer with hellish zeal.
The commitment can be as large or as small as your availability. Why not pray about it? Then talk to Terry Nelson or just turn up in the prayer room Sunday morning before a service.
Even to his own Son God said: “Ask of me, and I will surely give the nations as your inheritance.” Was not God eager to give his Son the fruit of his travail? But even the Son must ask!
So it is with his people. The literal rendering of Ezekiel 36:37 is, “Thus said the Lord God, for this also I will be sought by the house of Israel to do for them: I will multiply their men like a flock.” In other words, he has every intention to bless them with growth, but only in response to their “seeking” him. God seems disinclined to do anything another way if he can do it in answer to prayer.
Eager to see God work in power,
© 2015 Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines
Share the Joy! You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2015 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org