It was at the Azusa Now event in Los Angeles, California April 9, 2016, that I heard Pastor Jack Hayford share something that has been ringing in my spirit ever since. At 82 years age, he reflected back to when he was 40 years old and in his third year of pastoring “Church on the Way” in Van Nuys, California when God spoke to them as a church with these instructions: “I am calling this church to to pray as though no one else is praying. I am not saying that no one else will be praying, I’m saying, you pray ongoingly as though no one else is praying.”
To pray as though no one else is praying…
Doesn’t it make you think of Abraham when God told him that destruction was coming to Sodom and Gomorrah, the town Abraham’s nephew, Lot, lived in? Do you recall the conversation Abraham had with God? That conversation is what we call intercession. Intercession is “The action of intervening on behalf of another.” Abraham began to pray for mercy for the city. (Genesis 18:16-33).
The question that keeps running through my mind and spirit since I heard Jack Hayford’s commissioning by the Lord is this: “If God had only prayers from which to move, what would be accomplished?” If my prayers were the only prayers going up on behalf of my family, my neighbors, my city, my state, my country, etc… what would God accomplish in response? How much mercy would be extended to each of these realms of influence based on my prayers on their behalf?
I have to admit, that comment by Jack Hayford radically changed my prayer life.
Abraham did not assume that anyone else was praying for mercy for Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham did not relegate the responsibility of intercession to “others”, but took it upon himself to speak to God on their behalf. God responded to Abraham like a willing negotiator, and more than that, we see Abraham and God have the kinds of conversations that would later give us a glimpse into the reason Abraham was called a “Friend of God.” (James 2:23)
So, I began to pray like that…as if no one else was praying.
I changed my prayer life not to get more “brownie points” with God, because there is no such thing. I changed because I realized that God is looking for people to pray. He is looking for prayers to answer. He is looking for the close fellowship of someone who dares believe that He answers and that their words move heaven on behalf of others.
I have said it before and will always say it, “Prayer is only as powerful as the god it is directed to.” So I am not saying that prayer as an exercise is powerful, I am saying that my God is powerful, and He partners with you and me in the restoration and redemption of people, and cultures through this conversation of intercession called prayer. It is our greatest privilege to approach God’s throne with our needs and the needs of others. It is His greatest glory and pleasure to answer, and to speak to us in the process. Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly before the Throne of Grace for help.
What about you? If your prayers were the only ones going up for your family, your neighbors, your city, your state, your country, what would God be moved to do on behalf of your intercession?
When you realize God is abounding in mercy, you’ll start running that direction. I’m inviting you to join me. Let’s run to mercy and take as many as we can with us.