Praying for Others The Science of Intercessory Prayer
“It’s really too bad you have to see the boss today. He just got the message that a lumber shipment due in today has been delayed. If he yells at you, don’t take it personally. He yells at everyone.” With those ominous words, the manager ushered the advertising salesman, Roger Morneau,1 into the owner’s office. “Come in and sit down,” the owner said without looking up. “I’ve got to make a call before I can talk.” Punching in a phone number with restrained violence, the owner began yelling at one of his business managers over a quarterly report with which he was unhappy. Profanities flew and the more he talked, the angrier and more brutal the verbal abuse became. Roger was appalled. This guy makes me want to vomit, he thought. It occurred to him to pray for the
businessman, but the man was so disgusting, Roger really did not want to. Still, when the thought came again, he prayed silently, “Father, I need your help. I really do not want to pray for this guy. I’d rather just get up and walk out of here. I need help! Please help me see this man, not as he is now, but as he will be by Your grace.” Immediately, a sense of pity for the man filled Roger’s heart. He continued to pray: “Yahuwah, through the power of your Holy Spirit, I ask You to rebuke the demonic forces that are oppressing this man. Please surround him with a divine atmosphere of light and peace. Let your Holy Spirit draw close to him today and lead him to You.” Recalling the incident later, Roger said: It wasn’t more than five seconds before I witnessed a transformation in the man as great as night and day. His conversation took on a new sense of direction. Instead of talking almost continually and shouting profanities, he softened the tone of his voice and began to speak with what appeared to be intelligent reasoning. Long pauses gave the other person a chance to explain the situation. The conversation closed on what appeared to be a tensionless note . . . His stern expression . . . [had] now softened.2 Hanging up the phone, the businessman turned to Roger with a friendly smile while standing to shake hands. “A pleasure to meet you, Roger. I’m Dennis. Sorry we had to meet on a day when everything is so crazy.” Then he paused and shook his head. “Actually, I gotta be honest. This isn’t all that unusual. I don’t know why, but sometimes I just feel this uncontrollable anger sweep over me. It’s getting worse and I just can’t seem to stop. I feel crazy sometimes.” Huffing out an exasperated breath, he added: “If I didn’t pay my employees twice what they’re worth, no one would work for me.” Suddenly he realized he was opening up to a complete stranger. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to dump all my problems on you. Let’s talk about advertising.” “Don’t worry, Dennis.” Roger smiled reassuringly. “I never pass on anything told
me. In fact, clients often tell me things they’ve told no one else. For whatever reason, they say they feel comfortable around me and prefer to share with a stranger rather than someone who knows them real well.” Dennis sat down again, gesturing for Roger to sit as well. “I have to agree with your clients. I don’t really know how to explain it, but there’s . . . there’s like this power accompanying you. I can’t really put it into words, but it’s out of this world. I have never had the peace and quiet I am feeling right now.” Roger felt awed at such a quick and obvious answer to his prayer. “Well, I feel I should tell you that just as soon as I saw you were having difficulties on the phone, I started praying for you, that the Monarch of the galaxies would surround you with His peace.” “Amazing.” Dennis studied the other man a moment. “I gave up on God and religion years ago. The ‘Monarch of the galaxies’ surrounding me with peace. I like that. You’ve given me something to think about. Don’t get me wrong,” he hastily added. “I’m not about to start going to church and get all religious or anything, but do you think you could keep praying for me? I would really appreciate that!” After concluding their business together, Dennis accompanied Roger to the front door, visiting animatedly with him the whole way. Due to a transfer and promotion, it was two years before Roger saw Dennis again. During that time, true to his word, he continued to pray for the man. When he was once again in the area, he accompanied the new areasalesman on his call to the businessman’s office. Dennis was delighted to see Roger again and introduced him to his employees as the man who had transformed his life. Indeed, the change was astounding. He exuded joy, contentment and a positive spirit. Hanging behind his desk was a picture with the words: “Prayer changes things.”
Roger’s experience is, unfortunately, all too rare. It is not that Heaven is slow or reluctant to answer prayers. The problem is that people so rarely pray! Or, if they do pray, it is done in a way that is half-hearted and vaguely worded. Heaven is waiting with longing to meet the needs of every human heart. However, every war has “terms of engagement” and the conflict between Yahushua and Satan is no different.
Story taken from The Incredible Power of Prayer, by Roger J. Morneau.
Terms Of Engagement: You Must Ask! In order to protect the human race from being overwhelmed by Satan, Yahuwah has established certain rules. One of those rules is that direct involvement, from either side, may be done only in answer to a specific request. It is truly a disgrace that luciferians and devil-worshippers frequently have more “faith” in Satan’s ability and willingness to answer their petitions than Yah’s professed people do in the Almighty.
“It is part of [Yahuwah’s] plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.”3 Yahushua understood this principle. In His sermon on the mount, He encouraged all to present their needs before the Father: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11, NKJV) Yahuwah delights to answer prayer and there is no other prayer in which He takes more delight than in helping deliver souls oppressed by Satan. The prayer, “Master, save us! We perish!” will always receive an immediate answer. Those whose hearts are filled with love for the Saviour, also share His burden for the salvation of others. They long to see their family members, their friends, and their former fellow church members embrace the truths they love. “When self dies, there will be awakened an intense desire for the salvation of others,— a desire which will lead to persevering efforts to do good. There will be a sowing beside all waters; and earnest supplication, importunate prayers, will enter heaven in behalf of perishing souls.”4 Especially when following advancing truth, truth that leads a person to be separate from commonly held belief systems, divisions may arise in relationships. Friendships may feel awkward; marriages may suffer. In such circumstances, it is both a privilege and a duty to pray for those who are turning their backs on truth. When Israel rebelled and insisted on having a king, the prophet Samuel mourned over this great sin, knowing that Israel had, by such a demand, rejected the rule of Yahuwah. (See 1 Samuel 8:6-7.) But even in the face of such rebellion against the divine government, Samuel did not turn his back on Israel. His words at the time of their apostasy are a clarion call to all who have loved ones who are struggling with various problems or who appear to have rejected truth: “Moreover as for me, El forbid that I should sin against Yahuwah in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.” (1 Samuel 12:23)
This is where intercessory prayer comes in. Praying for others is of vital importance! “All heaven is looking upon you who claim to believe the most sacred truth ever committed to mortals. Angels are waiting with longing desire to cooperate with you in working for the salvation of souls.”5 Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for our own benefit. We are to ask that we may give. The principle of Christ’s life must be the principle of our lives. “For their sakes,” He said, speaking of His disciples, “I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified.” (John 17:19) The same devotion, the same self-sacrifice, the same subjection to the claims of the word of [Yah], that were manifest in Christ, must be seen in His servants. Our mission to the world is not to serve or please ourselves; we are to glorify [Yahuwah] by co-operating with Him to save sinners. We are to ask blessings from [Yah] that we may communicate to others. The capacity for receiving is preserved only by imparting. We cannot continue to receive heavenly treasure without communicating to those around us.6 To cooperate with Heaven in the salvation of souls, Yahuwah’s people are to follow the Saviour’s example and engage in intercessory prayer for others. Due to the constraints imposed upon Heaven by the terms of engagement in the great controversy between good and evil, it is vitally important that you pray for those with whom you come in contact. Heaven longs to do more and is only waiting to be asked for help. Scripture states that Yahuwah “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20, KJV) Yahushua urged, “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) If the act of asking were not an important prerequisite, Scripture would not have so often urged all to make request for themselves and for others.
Elements Of Effective Intercessory Prayer Effective intercessory prayer contains certain important elements:
1. Rededicate yourself to Yahuwah. 2. Call upon the name of Yahuwah. 3. Pray in the name of Yahushua. 4. Be specific. 5. Persevere. Rededicate Yourself Before you begin to pray for someone else, confess your own sins. Make sure that there is nothing between your soul and the Saviour that would prevent the blessing you seek. Of course, it is always appropriate to shoot a prayer Heavenward. Roger Morneau did not have time for a long prayer when listening to Dennis rage at his employee, yet Heaven still heard and answered his prayer. However, when presenting a specific case before Yahuwah, it is important to reconsecrate your own self to Yah.
Call upon the name of Yahuwah
Scripture repeatedly urges all to “call upon the name of Yahuwah.” Psalm 105:1 commands: “O give thanks unto Yahuwah; call upon His name.” The act of calling upon the holy name while giving thanks inspires faith in the human heart to grasp the divine promise. This is an important part of effective intercessory prayer. As you acknowledge the supremacy, the might and majesty of the Eternal One, your love, gratitude and trust will increase. This, in turn, will strengthen your faith in Yahuwah’s power and His willingness to answer your petition. “The name of Yahuwah is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)
Pray in Yahushua’s Name The Son of the Highest has invited you to present your requests before the eternal throne in His name. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13, 14, NKJV) What an assurance of being heard! To pray in the name of Yahushua means more than just closing your prayer with, “In Yahushua’s name, Amen.” It means praying in accordance with His will and the will of the Father. Like Christ in Gethsemane, the prayer of all should be, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” (See Luke 22:42.)
On the walk from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane where He was betrayed, Yahushua encouraged: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23, 24) This is not a guarantee that the person for whom you are praying will choose the right or that the outcome will be what you want. Yahuwah will never force the human will. If a person chooses to persist in rejection of truth, dangerous behaviors, or any other situation over which you are praying, Yahuwah grants him or her the freedom of choice to do so. However, praying for an individual or situation frees Yahuwah to work in ways He otherwise would not be able to under the terms of engagement in the war with Satan.
Pray Specifically Fear of unanswered prayer often leads people to pray very vague prayers. They will make requests, but the requests are so broadly stated, so open-ended and unclear that even if Yahuwah answers their prayers, no answers can be seen! Asking Yahuwah to “Please bless Sister Chang,” is different than asking Him: “Please provide Sister Chang with a job that will allow her to keep the Sabbath.” The great 19th-century Protestant evangelist and reformer, Charles Spurgeon, once observed: “There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed.”7 Do not be afraid to pray very specifically for what you need.
If praying for a friend to be healed, ask that the Spirit of Life that raised Yahushua from the dead be given to the person to restore her to health. If eating in a restaurant, ask that if there be anything in the food that could harm you, that Yahuwah, as the food-provider, would cause those harmful elements to dissolve and pass harmlessly through you. If man is upset or angry, pray that holy angels be sent to press back the legions of darkness and surround him with a Heavenly atmosphere of peace and light. If a loved one is rejecting light and truth, ask that the Holy Spirit be sent to enlighten her mind, enabling her to grasp truth and be convicted to obey it. If your own heart feels hardened, ask the Creator to re-create your heart, bringing your will into alignment with His divine will.
Do not be afraid to be very specific and particular when you pray. There is no danger in asking for precise things if, in every prayer, you subject your will to the divine will, asking that in all things His will be done.
Claim Yahushua’s Merits When you pray for a person or situation, claim the merits of the blood of Yahushua to cover both yourself (as the petitioner) and the person for whom you are praying. Open your Bible to Matthew 27 and present it as the reason why Heaven should work mightily on your behalf. It is only by virtue of the shed blood of Yahushua on Calvary that the fallen sons and daughters of Adam are continual recipients of divine grace. Claim the merits of the Saviour’s shed blood to forgive your sins and the sins of the person or people for whom you are praying. If a particular situation involves others, such as doctors, lawyers, pastors, employers, etc., pray for them as well. It is vitally important to claim the merits of Yahushua’s blood when engaging in intercessory prayer. Sin separates individuals from the source of power and peace. Thus, it is necessary to ask forgiveness for their sins
in order to make sure the way is cleared for the desired blessing. Yahushua Himself prayed for those crucifying Him. (See Luke 23:34.) Stephen, likewise, prayed that his murderers be forgiven. (See Acts 7:59-60.) Allison Ryder8 was standing in Payless Shoe Source looking for a pair of running shoes. Suddenly, her attention was captured by a woman storming into the store and stalking down the next aisle over, all while loudly berating her teenage daughter: “You certainly will wear what I buy today! I don’t care what you want. I am in charge. It’s my money and you will wear them to school!” Shocked at such a flow of rage, Allison stepped around the corner of the aisle to see what was happening. A young girl stood, shoulders hunched, face miserable, while the verbal barrage continued: “Here! You can wear these! Or those! Those would work just fine.” “Those are old lady shoes,” the girl protested. “I don’t care that you don’t like them! I am the one buying the shoes. It’s my money and I’ll buy what I want you to wear and you will wear it!” With those emphatic words, the mother stormed down the aisle, away from Allison, still raging loudly at her daughter and her previous “stupid choices.” Sickened at such a display of unreasonable anger and not wanting to embarrass the young girl further, Allison quietly slipped back to her aisle. Her thoughts turned heavenward in prayer. Recalling the incident later, she said: First, I asked the Master to forgive my sins so my prayer could be heard. Then I prayed that He forgive the woman and the girl of their sins. I asked Him to send holy angels to drive away the demons that were tormenting the mother and give her a calm, peaceful spirit. By the time I said, “Please, Master, please help in this situation!” it was quiet! The very next thing I heard was the mother. In a calm, quiet tone, she said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I got so mad. It’s not fair for me to make you wear just the shoes I like. Show me what you would like to wear.” The most incredible change had taken place and it was almost instantaneous! Although it happened 10 years ago, I have never forgotten it. I know there is power in prayer! Yahuwah never forces anyone. If a person resists the drawing of the Holy Spirit, he can still insist on his own way. However, in answer to the prayer of faith, Yahuwah can drive away the demons that are feeding the rage.
Persevere in Prayer Many people are acquainted with Yahushua’s words in the sermon on the mount, quoted above, where He stated: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) What most people do not realize, however, is that the grammatical construction in the original Aramaic is more properly translated as: “Ask, and keep on asking, and it will be given to you. Seek, and keep on seeking, and you will find. Knock, and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” When you pray for someone, you are engaging in active warfare against all of Satan’s hosts. Paul warns explicitly: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers
of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12, KJV) Do not become discouraged if, for a while, things actually become worse. Evil angels do not leave the field without a severe struggle. This was the case for Mr. and Mrs. Harvey. Their son, Henry, had experimented with drugs and, as a result, by age 20 was severely brain damaged. Unable to care for himself, this 32-year old man lived with his parents where he would sit in silence, chain-smoking for hours. Sometimes he would hit himself until he was badly bruised. When told not to hurt himself, he would fly into a rage. His hair was almost to his waist and he refused to let anyone cut it. His speech was nothing more than unintelligible gibberish. Mrs. Harvey, while heartbroken for her son, considered his condition hopeless. One day, while sharing the ongoing struggles she and her husband had been having with Henry, an acquaintance suggested that perhaps they could pray that the Father would restore Henry’s mental abilities to glorify Yahuwah and strengthen the faith of others. There was no immediate improvement, but they persisted in prayer. Gradually, over several months’ time, Mrs. Harvey was thrilled to see that Henry seemed to be improving. His speech was clearer and, for the first time in many years, he had asked his mother to cut his hair! A few months later, Henry informed his mother that he had decided to quit smoking. Mrs. Harvey was a bit skeptical. After having been a heavy smoker for so many years, she did not think Henry would actually be able to quit. But to her joy, he never smoked again! Mrs. Harvey joyfully gave Yahuwah all the credit for the changes in Henry’s life. But after nearly a year, she confessed to her prayer partner that her faith in Yahuwah’s power to fully restore Henry was beginning to waver. Despite all the changes for the better, his mental abilities were still severely handicapped. The friend encouraged her to keep praying, reminding her of James 1:6, 7: “Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from Yahuwah.” Late one night, just a week and a half later, Mrs. Harvey called her friend. She was crying so hard she could barely speak. Henry had exploded into a violent rage, throwing furniture through windows and threatening his parents. Mr. Harvey had been forced to call the sheriff and Henry had been taken to a mental hospital. “I hate to say this,” Mrs. Harvey wept, “but I have lost all faith in the power of prayer. I am not going to trouble [Yahuwah] with my needs any longer.”
“No, don’t stop now!” her friend exclaimed. “I am going to pray harder than ever. Satan is trying to discourage you. He is trying to get you to stop praying. Take this as encouragement to pray harder than ever because Satan only attacks like this when the forces of light are winning!” A few days later, Henry woke up in the hospital feeling perfectly well. Tests showed that he was mentally alert. After keeping him a few days longer for observation, doctors told Mr. and Mrs. Harvey that they could come get their transformed son. He was healthy in mind and body. “There is no danger that [Yahuwah] will neglect the prayers of His people. The danger is that in temptation and trial they will become discouraged, and fail to persevere in prayer.”9 This was a lesson graphically illustrated when the Children of Israel fought the Amalekites. “And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of Elohim in my hand.” (Exodus 17:9) While Joshua led the forces of Israel against the enemy, Moses stood on a nearby hill, his hands upraised in prayer. However, no one can stand with his arms held up for hours. When Moses’ arms got tired and he let them fall, a striking result occurred on the battlefield: “And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” (Exodus 17:11) Aaron and Hur, who had accompanied Moses up the hill, quickly came to the aid of Moses and all Israel:
But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. (Exodus 17:12, 13) This is an important lesson to remember. Do not neglect to persevere in prayer. You do not know what accusations Satan is making behind the scenes, as he did with Job. Sometimes prayers are answered only after months or years. Yahuwah needs you to take hold of the promises and not let go. Let the prayer of Jacob be yours: “I will not let You go until You bless me!” (See Genesis 32:24-28.) The late Josephine Cunnington Edwards, missionary and prolific author, prayed for years for the conversion of her brother, Bill. Their parents had gone to their graves praying that their son would be converted, but never saw any softening in his heart. Bill’s wife, Mary, also prayed for his conversion. One morning, as Bill sat in the living room reading the morning paper, Mary heard him make a strange sound. Hurrying into the room, she saw tears streaming down her husband’s face. “Bill! What’s wrong? What’s happened?” Mary questioned urgently. “Oh, Mary! I just saw [the Master Yahushua]. He just walked right through that door! Oh, Mary, if only you could have seen Him! The expression on His face was so full of love. There are no words to describe it! “And He spoke to me! He told me, ‘Bill, your parents went to their graves praying for you but worrying that they would never see you in the Kingdom. I want to surprise them on Resurrection Morning. Won’t you give your heart to Me? Let’s be waiting for them, together.’ “Oh, sweetheart! If you could ever just see His face, you’d never want to do anything to disappoint Him ever again. There is so much love there! I want to give my heart to Him and be ready for His coming.” The apostle Paul understood the danger of giving up too soon. He urged: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of Elohim, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35, 36) [Yahuwah] says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble.” Psalm 50:15. He invites us to present to Him our perplexities and necessities, and our need of divine help. He bids us be instant in prayer. As soon as difficulties arise, we are to offer to Him our sincere, earnest petitions. By our
importunate prayers we give evidence of our strong confidence in [Elohim]. The sense of our need leads us to pray earnestly, and our heavenly Father is moved by our supplications.10
A Duty And A Privilege It is both a duty and a privilege to cooperate with Yahushua in the salvation of souls by praying for them. Scripture is full of promises that you can claim on behalf of others, such as: “If the Spirit of him that raised up Yahushua from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11) When praying for another, ask that the person for whom you are praying be brought back to where Adam was before he sinned. Re-creation of mind and heart is the entire point of the plan of salvation. Do not despair when loved ones seem hardened to the truth. Yahushua taught his disciples “that men ought always to pray and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1) Never is one repulsed who comes to Him with a contrite heart. Not one sincere prayer is lost. Amid the anthems of the celestial choir, [Yahuwah] hears the cries of the weakest human being. We pour out our heart’s desire in our closets, we breathe a prayer as we walk by the way, and our words reach the throne of the Monarch of the universe. They may be inaudible to any human ear, but they cannot die away into silence, nor can they be lost through the activities of business that are going on. Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the confusion of the multitude, to the heavenly courts. It is [Yahuwah] to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard.11 Heaven cooperates with those who seek the salvation of others. “The children of [Yahuwah] are not left alone and defenseless. Prayer moves the arm of Omnipotence.”12 The prayer of faith, simple, trusting, straightforward and specific, that claims the merits of the blood of Yahushua, will receive answers. [The Father] is at work in many ways to win your hearty confidence. In nothing does He take more delight than to have you unburden, come to Him for light and strength, and He has promised that you shall find rest to your soul. If you will find heart and voice to pray, He will be sure to hear, and an arm will be reached down to save you. There is [an El] that hears prayer, and when all other resources fail, He is your refuge, a very present help in time of trouble . . . .13
Join with Heaven today. Present your cares, your concerns, your loved ones before the prayer-answering Almighty. All Heaven is waiting to cooperate with those who shall be heirs of salvation in the saving of souls.
Prayer Requests Prayer is the Key Prayer for the Sick Importance of Prayer
Meditation and Prayer Watchfulness and Prayer Prayer: Breath of the Soul How To Receive Answers To Prayer?
Taken from The Incredible Power of Prayer by Roger J. Morneau.
Ibid., pp. 70-71.
E. G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 525.
E. G. White, Gospel Workers, p. 470.
E. G. White, Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 136.
E. G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 142.
C. H. Spurgeon, Sermons, p. 21.
Name has been changed.
E. G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 175.
Ibid., p. 172.
Ibid., p. 174.
Ibid., p. 172.
E. G. White, This Day With God, p. 184.