Spiritual Discipline // INTERCESSION
By Donia Hovet
When my oldest daughter was nine years old, the neighbor kids began bullying her on the playground at school. It was an especially painful experience because we had relocated to a new town that summer and these kids were her first friends. Soon after, they began leaving hate letters on our doorstep. I decided to go have a talk. These kids had spent the summer at my house and I really loved them. I was convinced that all we needed to do was clear the air.
I was wrong. The kids, who were often home without parents, slammed the door in my face. Then the parents did the same when I went to talk with them. Stinging inside, I walked back to our house and caught a glimpse of our daughter watching from a distance. I had instructed her to stay inside, but she had disobeyed and saw the whole thing. I found her upstairs, crying, unable to understand why anyone would treat her mom like that. As I held her in my arms, I recalled the words of Jesus:
“Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.”
So, we prayed.
Intercessory prayer is not just for our loved ones, for the sick, for the people in our lives that don’t know Jesus or for sticky situations. Intercessory prayer is a powerful part of how we do combat in the spiritual world on behalf of those whom Satan would like to color as our enemies. It is a leap toward love. This is the tall order of the kingdom of God.
This past week, our guest speaker, Dave Metsker, spoke on the Pentecostal value of being “middle of the road.” He reminded us that we live in a culture that sets us against one another. We learn this from a young age. This is not the way of Jesus. The way of Jesus is to love those who try our patience, who think differently than we do, who would insult or malign us for our beliefs.
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a time where this kind of love and intercessory prayer is more necessary. It seems division is the order of the day in so many ways. Hate and venomous attacks threaten our families, our friendships, our church, and our society at large. Let’s pray like never before: that our hearts would be softened and aligned with the way of Jesus as we encounter opposing beliefs and relational fracture.
- READ: Matthew 5:43-48
- Who are your enemies? How has the season of COVID-19 created division in your life among those you love?
- In what ways do you need to moderate, that is, leave an extreme that is causing harm to your witness for Jesus or division in your relationships?
- Prayer. Spend 15 minutes interceding on behalf of those people who insult you, think differently than you, whose lives are an affront to Christian values. Repent for the times that you have caused division.