As we have noted, intercessory prayer refers to your prayers for others. Let’s look at some examples of this important type of prayer.
The prayer of Elijah on Mount Carmel demonstrates the power of intercessory prayer for the nation.
1KI 18:42‑46 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees. He said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back” seven times. It came about at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man's hand is coming up from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.’” In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.
JAM 5:16‑18 The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
I wonder how many of God's people really believe that something like this is possible. It's also interesting that JAM 5:17 says that Elijah was a man with a nature like ours!
The power of prevailing prayer was exercised in the early Church on behalf of Peter, who was in prison and about to be executed. The result of this prayer was Peter's dramatic deliverance. ACT 12:1-2Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church, in order to mistreat [or to afflict and persecute] them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. In this passage the Apostle James died while the Apostle Peter was delivered from the exact same circumstances. Why didn't God deliver James? The death of James was the means of waking up the early Church to the importance of God's grace and the importance of prayer. When James was captured, there wasn't any prayer meeting, and no prayers were offered up for him. So the death of James was the means of alerting the Church and waking them from the apathy that existed toward prayer. In verse 3, in the next crisis, the early Church began to be stimulated to use the great weapon of prayer. ACT 12:3and when he [Herod Agrippa] saw that it [persecuting Christians] pleased the Jewshe proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now, it was during the days of unleavened bread. The Jews had a law that there could be no executions during a feast day; therefore the execution of Peter would be delayed until the feast was over. ACT 12:4And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out [and kill him] before the people. The four squads of soldiers meant that he was chained between two Roman soldiers, and there were two more at the door of the cell, and twelve more in other places. So you can see that Herod wasn't taking any chances. The point here is that at this particular point, the situation was hopeless. There was maximum security around Peter and he was as good as dead. ACT 12:5So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. For one week, because of the seven day feast, the Church was praying. A tragedy has awakened the Church to utilize the weapon of grace, prayer. What do you suppose Peter was doing at this time? You might expect him to be freaking out and pacing the floor. Well, he was either having problems staying awake, or he was faith-resting it! ACT 12:6And on the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. Notice that Peter was very relaxed, sleeping because he knew that his life was in the Lord's hands.
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