Prayer, Intercession, Tongues and the Bible
If you think prayer is going down on your knees in church, then you're ready for a revolution. God wants a real relationship with you. He wants you to speak to Him all the time about everything.
I discovered that God even takes my thoughts as prayers. Many times I have thought about things and I found that God gave them to me. Try not to get too complicated. Here are some basics:
1. You can pray anytime and anywhere. Prayer can be a thought, a word, a sentence, or even a letter dedicated to God, given over as a prayer.
2. Have faith that God hears your prayers and an answer will come. Either yes, or no, or wait, or something else!
3. Persist! Sometimes God delays the answer to our prayers, to see if we are serious. Keep praying (even if it is for months or years!), believe by faith that God will answer you; trust me I have seen this work again and again.
Conditions for Answered Prayer
Ask In Jesus’ Name
“I tell you the truth, my father will give you whatever you ask in my name” John 16:23b.
Confess all Known Sin
‘If I cherish sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened’, Psalm 66:18.
Is It God’s Will?
‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us’, 1 John 5:14.
Believe, Have Faith and Forgive
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you your sins", Mark 11:24-25.
‘Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up’. Luke 18:1.
Prayer and Breathing
Prayer should be like breathing for Christians. You cannot live your life to the full if you are not praying!
Prayer is simply talking to God. Do you ever desire to sit down with your friends and just have a good chat about what’s happening in your life? We should be like that with God. Tell Him everything on your heart.
Prayer is not coming with a list of ‘I wants’, or giving a shopping list to God, even though God does want to bless you. He has promised to, 'He will provide for all your needs' Philippians 4:13, and so it is right to ask Him to meet your needs, though we must check our motives!
God does answer prayer, but also sometimes His answer is no. Now it does not mean that God is selfish, because He is a 'God of love' and conditions have to be met.
If you work hard, you should get a good wage as a reward. In prayer we must play according to His rules to make sure we get the answer, even if it is no.
Sometimes we pray prayers which can be destructive, "God kill me now" - aren’t you thankful that it was not answered?
I prayed for a Ferrari once, I never got it; it would only have led me into pride and given me a huge debt. Sometimes we don't get what we want because God knows best. We just have to trust Him. Proverbs 3:5,6. Money, relationships, etc., cannot satisfy, only a real relationship with God can, so pursue that.
Prayer is Conditional
There are several reasons why our prayers may never get answered. Here are some of them.
'If you have sin in your life, God will not answer prayer'. Psalm 66:18. If you are deliberately disobeying what the Bible says, the result is broken fellowship with God. John 15:7, Psalm 24:3-5.
You must Forgive
If you have not forgiven someone from your heart, God will not hear you. Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:24.
No blessing can be given if there is disunity amongst a group of praying friends or within a church. Psalm 133. We have to 'continue to seek God's face'. Psalm 27:8, 105:4. Try to be pure in heart. Psalm 73:1. Strive to be godly. Psalm 15, 18:24-26.
We do take much for granted; we should remember to give thanks to God for all He has done for us. Many of us are very healthy; God has blessed us with family, guardians, friends, churches, pastors, a home, education, jobs, money; even give thanks for your mobile phone!
The most important thing is to thank God for your salvation. Give thanks that Jesus died on the cross for you and rose again. It is good to know that we serve a living God; the Creator of heaven and earth.
Pray in Jesus’ Name
We are told by Jesus Himself to ask in His name, John 14:13,14. That is why we usually end our prayers 'In Jesus name' Amen.
‘Amen’ in the Hebrew means 'sure', 'certain' or 'I really mean this prayer,' or ‘so be it’.
The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is our model prayer. We are not called to ‘hypnotically’ repeat this prayer, but to learn how we should pray from its example. (Matthew 6:9-13).
"Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name" (v9).
This teaches us to respect God, but also reminds us that we are His children and can come into His presence with our prayers. But before we ask for anything, we should come and worship Him.
'Have your will done here on earth as in heaven' (v10).
We ask for God’s perfect will to be done on this earth, just as it is in heaven. It reminds us to pray for God’s ultimate victory to be established on earth..
"Give us today our daily bread" (v11). We ask for our daily needs as we acknowledge His goodness in providing our needs.
'Pray for the forgiveness of sins as we forgive others’ (v12). You cannot be forgiven until you forgive others who have sinned against you. Pass God’s forgiveness on.
'Help us when we are tempted, so we will stay away from evil' (v13).
We are told to pray continually and to give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18.
It would be impossible to be on our knees all the time! Prayer should become a part of our lifestyle. As we look upon God as our Father we can talk to Him whilst on the bus, or walking, cycling, at church, whilst washing up, cleaning the car or cleaning your room!
Prayer can be a quick two seconds cry of need ( see Psalm 50:15) 'Oh help me God!' or it could be hours long! “…The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak".
Matthew 26:41. Jesus even prayed all night on some occasions Luke 6:12. On many occasions He 'prayed before the sun had risen' Mark 1:35.
It is best to try to set aside a regular time every day to pray, maybe in the morning before the day gets busy, or in the evening.
I prefer the morning as that is when I am at my best, active and awake, but I also try to pray in the evenings as well, and especially when I am out walking.
Whenever people come to my remembrance for good or bad reasons, I send up a prayer for them, "God bless them.... etc". 1 Peter 3:9.
Daniel prayed three times a day at set times Daniel 6:10. One of the Psalmists prayed three times a day. Psalm 55:17 praying, 'evening, morning and noon'.
Don’t fall into a religious ritual that loses its meaning. You are called to have fellowship with Jesus; not called to a meaningless ritual.
Prayer can be fun and very rewarding, but also tiring. "In your presence is fullness of joy..." Psalm 16:11.
'Persevere in prayer and be persistent...Keep knocking and asking and seeking.' Matthew 7:7,8, Luke 11:5-13.
Luke 18:7 "Who cry out day and night". 18:1 "Always pray and don't give up".
'We are told to cast our anxiety (worry) on the Lord' 1 Peter 5:6-7 and to 'pray about everything instead of worrying' Philippians 4:6-7.
When we do this, we allow Jesus to take heavy burdens from our shoulders as we trust them into His hands.
'God hears and answers prayers’ Psalm 34:15-18.
Listen to God
Prayer is also listening to God, yes listening! Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God..."
Imagine you have a friend who only talks, talks and talks, and who doesn’t let you get a word in edge ways. How selfish, boring and hurtful.
So pray, pray and pray, but also listen to what God wants to say to you. It's a relationship, and it grows by communication, and that’s a two-way thing.
Jesus is the great Shepherd and we are His sheep "who hear His voice" John 10:1-16 see v3 and v16.
Obey the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit can speak to you, and guide you as you seek Him in prayer. The Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul..." God can also speak through the Bible, and in many other ways.
"Whatever He tells you to do, do it!...You are My friends if you do whatever I command you." John 2:5, 15:14.
Meditate on God’s Word
Meditating on God word is another godly discipline. It is not about sitting crossed legged in the Lotus position and going 'umm, umm'.
It’s about reading a verse or a passage of the Bible and thinking and thinking about it. Chewing over the contents, like a scientist would try to find a solution to a problem. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you, as He will 'guide you into all truth'.
What does it mean? How can I apply this to my life? You can even 'meditate on your bed!' Psalm 4:4. Psalm 77:6, 12 speaks of 'searching our heart and meditating on Gods works.'
We can also meditate on God’s goodness to us. We can think about how He has helped us in the past and that will give us courage for the future.
Prayer, Speaking in Tongues
Often when we want to pray, or really have to pray for a situation, we don't know what to say. Some times we just run out of steam. This is where praying in tongues can help. "For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the Spirit he speaks mysteries". 1 Corinthians 14:2.
'Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.' Romans 8:26-27.
In the Bible it speaks of "different kinds of tongues," notice the plurality (1 Corinthians 12:10), and "varieties of tongues" (v28). There is the tongue that gets interpreted using the gift of "interpretation of tongues" (v10). Also 'If a tongue is given in public meeting then an interpretation has to be given'. (1 Corinthians 14:26-28). I am not discussing tongues within the church in this article. But some of the Scriptures are universal in application.
Jesus and Tongues
Jesus Himself said "...they will speak with new tongues" Mark 16:17. As you read the book of Acts you will discover that every time a believer is baptised in the Holy Spirit, they speak in tongues. (Acts 2:1-4, 8:14-16, 10:44-46 and 19:2-6) (The exception is in Acts 4:31, because the apostles were present in Acts 2:4, that is when they spoke in tongues, they were being anointed for works of service.) Because of these Scriptures many believe the evidence of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues.
In my own experience, I have witnessed people speak in tongues immediately, as they were prayed for to receive the Holy Spirit. Others received the Holy Spirit but did not speak in tongues until a full year had passed.
Receive the Gift of Tongues
Make sure you get someone to pray for you to be filled with the Holy Spirit to receive the gifts of tongues, (Acts 8:13-17) or ask God directly (Luke 11:11-13) and believe in faith, as 'anything that is not of faith is sin' (Romans 14:23 + Hebrew 11:1,6).
Obedience to the Holy Spirit
Acts 5:32 tells us that 'God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him'. Be obedient to the command of God. Be very careful what comes out of your mouth, "Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening" James 3:5-12.
Ephesians 6:18 "Praying always with all supplication in the Spirit..." Jude 20 "Beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit."
We are told to pray in the Spirit! This can be with 'groans that words cannot utter' (Romans 8:26) as in intercession, or in tongues.
Praise in Tongues
Tongues are an excellent way to praise the Lord as our vocabulary is not rich enough to express our gratitude in worship to such an awesome God. 'Our heart is like deep waters' Proverbs 20:5, "Out of our heart will flow rivers of living waters" 'Jesus spoke this concerning the Holy Spirit' John 7:37-39.
Pray with Your Mind
When I pray in tongues about a situation, I will always pray in my mind as well, it adds up to double prayers!
“So then he speaking in an unknown tongue, let him pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the mind; I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the mind". 1 Corinthians 14:13-15.
As you pray in tongues your spirit gets lifted, and you do feel good as you press in to prayer. You may not know what you are saying in tongues, but often your spirit starts to translate into your mother tongue within your mind. "In the Spirit you speak mysteries" 1 Corinthians 14:2.
Keep Speaking in Tongues
Once you can speak in tongues, keep praying and practising (you always practice speaking in a second language, say French or Spanish) so why not in your tongue which is a heavenly language.
Remember love is more important than all spiritual gifts, so love everyone 1 Corinthians 13.
Is Speaking in Tongues Wrong?
The Bible says, "...Do not forbid to speak with tongues" 1 Corinthians 14:39. If someone in church has ever told you never to speak in tongues in private or public, then they have disobeyed the Word of God. They have sinned! They have grieved the Holy Spirit. However, Paul does tell us not to give a tongue in church, if there is no-one who can interpret, because the body will not be edified, 1 Corinthians 14:26-28.
Don’t let man tell you that speaking in tongues is wrong, when the Word of God teaches that it is a gift from God. Make the best of this wonderful blessing from the Lord.
Intercession is one type of prayer. It is not about praying for your personal desires, but the Christian involved with intercession will only pray as the Holy Spirit leads them.
We may have a godly desire to see a friend saved, and we may pray for them, but this is not intercession as led by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will give a specific burden to a Christian to pray specifically. They will continue in that prayer until the answer has come. Rees Howells (the intercessor) said that the Holy Spirit told him, “Prayer means answer”.
The intercessor cannot pray for a situation unless they are identified with it. The Holy Spirit will lead them to a place of identification and abiding in their specific prayer. It could involve fasting, giving, or practically anything!
John 15 is a great chapter to help those who are called to intercede. It speaks of asking, abiding and bearing fruit. As you pray according to God’s heart, and abide in His will, fruit will be inevitable.
Intercession can take weeks, months, years or even decades! The intercessor does not give up, because the burden from the Holy Spirit never leaves until victory has been gained.
God Seeks Intercessors
God seeks intercessors but seldom finds them; maybe because the cost is great; higher than we want to pay or can even imagine.
"He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor.." Isaiah 59:16.
Let’s face it, we all think that we have better 'things' to do, like watching the television or going shopping. Yet we need to be interested in God's kingdom all of the time.
Live as if each day were your last. 'Jesus will come as a thief in the night; He will be unexpected, so make sure you have enough oil in your lamp'.
Can Women be Intercessors?
Ezekiel 22:30 "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, but I found no one."
The word ‘man’ is a generic term, which means mankind, so ladies can be intercessors as well. In fact, it seems that ladies are more sensitive to the Holy Spirit in intercession than most men.
Abraham the Intercessor
Intercession is praying the will of the Lord. The intercessor is before the Lord and pleads the case, often the Holy Spirit 'groaning' in them.
Abraham stood in the gap for Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33) and pleaded with God that if He found fifty righteous persons in the city He surely would not destroy it. Abraham got bolder and bolder as he approached the throne of grace, and finally all God needed to see was ten righteous people, to avoid a severe judgement.
God would have destroyed the city if He could not find fifty righteous people, yet because of Abraham’s intercession, God would have spared judgement if He could only find ten people.
Abraham literally changed the mind of God. Intercession so identifies the intercessor with the sufferer that it gives him a prevailing place with God.
Walking as a Public Failure!
After Abraham prevailed upon God, the Lord looked upon Sodom, but could not even find ten people who were righteous, and so His judgement came.
The intercessor may be victorious, yet outwardly they could look like a failure! This is the principle of death and resurrection John 12:24, 25. The intercessor may walk through a public failure that their flesh may be dealt with, so only God will get the glory through their public resurrection.
Rees Howells once tried to buy a property for his bible college, but he failed. A few months later he bought another property right next door to his old one for about half the price! He said, “You only experience death on an issue that is not important”. The seeming failure prepared him for greater public blessing in the future.
Moses and Identification in Intercession
Remember Moses? He went up the mountain of Sinai and received the Ten Commandments and, on his return, came back to a wild bunch of people who were worshipping a golden calf.
Moses got very angry and threw the stone tablets to the ground. God said "Moses stand aside, I will kill all of them and start a great nation from you".
What an offer!! But selfless Moses said, “No Lord, don't do it, kill me, blot my name out of the book of life. Please spare these people" (Exodus 31:18-32:33).
Moses offered his eternal soul as a ransom for a nation. Moses was brought up in Pharaoh's household yet chose to live with his slave brothers. Exodus 2:7-11 and Hebrew 3:5.
Moses was able to intercede for Israel because He had become perfectly identified with them. His intercession was so great that God even said to him that they were “your people”.
God said to Moses, “Go! Get down, for your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, are corrupted” Exodus 32:7.
But Moses said, “They are Your people”.
“Why does Your wrath become hot against Your people?” Exodus 32:11.
The Cost of Intercession
Before God can really use us as an intercessor, He will deal with the flesh life (our natural carnal nature). We must choose to surrender all to the Master, so He can deal with us. He needs 'clean vessels', that are 'fit for the Master's use'.
We are meant to live for Jesus, not for ourselves. Our will needs to die, and God's will must be our number one priority. John the Baptist, the forerunner to usher in the Saviour’s ministry said, "He must increase, I must decrease" (John 3:30).
We like Jesus must also be "about our Father's business" (Luke 2:49). The disciples "Forsook all and followed Him" (Luke 5:11).
We need to allow the Holy Spirit to deal with us. Our love of money, personal gain, dreams, ambitions, and all that we want or have desired has to be put to the cross.
Death to Self
Intercession is so powerful and costly that God will only use those who live for the Saviour, not for their self.
Intercessors will find themselves in many situations when they are stitched up and let down, mocked, ridiculed, misunderstood, slandered etc.
God allows all of these things to happen to us, to mould us and to make us into the persons He wants us to be. 'He is the potter and we are the clay'. "All things work together for good..." Romans 8:28.
Even though at the time it does not feel good or seem like it! It does not happen over night, but over years and often decades. I was once told that a dead man does not react to situations!
Be Filled with the Spirit!
The more we surrender to the Holy Spirit the more He comes in to make our life His. The Holy Spirit has no body; He comes to indwell believers.
When we are converted we receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). ‘If anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” Romans 8:9.
Afterwards we like the disciples need to be baptised in the Holy Spirit as on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), or a fellow Spirit-filled believer can lay hands on you, (Acts 8:15-17). If you cannot wait, why not ask God on your own to fill you with His Spirit, (Luke 11:11-13). Then, as believers, we need to be continually filled (Acts 4).
Intercession and Crucifixion
The Holy Spirit has no body through which He can suffer and work. No tongue, feet, hands etc. He chooses to lay His burdens on our bodies, hearts, tongues, feet, hands etc.
Intercession can begin when our surrendered lives are in His hands. It is not us doing the intercession. It is the Holy Spirit interceding through us. As Rees Howells explained it, ‘As crucifixion proceeds, intercessions can begin’.
When we come to God, we are like a hard, rough, old, dirty diamond, dug from the earth. We are valuable, but soon we go through a purifying process that makes us a more powerful weapon in His hands.
We as diamonds before the Lord, may be washed and cut to become more perfect for the Master’s use. The diamond is then polished until it sparkles brighter than the noon-day sun. After this painful process it can reflect the colours of the rainbow and becomes a multifaceted icon of wealth and perfection. 'God want us to be one of His jewels' (Malachi 3:17).
Death and the Grain of Wheat
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." John 12:24-25.
‘I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.' Galatians 2:20.
We cannot have a microwave ministry, instant result with no preparation. The goals that you set for your life will ultimately determine what you become in the pursuit of them.
Three Primary Stages in Intercession
There are three primary stages in intercessory prayer.
The first is identification. The Lord will lead you to identify with a person or situation, so that you can pray from their position. We have already seen this with Moses.
The second is agony. You cannot truly intercede if you are not living through your experience of identification. You agonise over the person or situation, because God has made you one with the intercession. Its not that you ‘pray’ it through, but almost that you ‘live the burden’ through. It never leaves you; it is a burden, not a casual prayer.
The third stage is authority. After identification and agony, you can enter into a place of authority. When you speak God’s word over the situation, it is like a sword or hammer that cracks the rock, (Jeremiah 23:29, Hebrews 4:12) because it has God’s authority behind it.
We should all live for the King and His cause. We exist for the cause. '' A life without a cause not worth dieing for, is not worth living for.'' Martin Luther King.
Jesus the Identifying Intercessor
Jesus Christ is the ultimate intercessor. Jesus identified himself with mankind. Hebrews 5:8 "Though He was a Son, yet He learnt obedience by the things which He suffered".
Isaiah 53 speaks about the Messiah Jesus as He identified with man. Christ is our example. v12. "He poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors".
Jesus suffered with us and for us. Jesus wore human flesh and lived upon this earth; He came down to our level. He was crucified on the cruel cross of Calvary. Jesus died, willing to 'stand in the gap' to take the world’s sins upon Himself. He took the punishment that we deserved and gave up His life as a ransom for us.
Jesus lives to make intercession for us as He sits ‘at the right hand of God'. By His effective pleading to the Father, He is 'able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by Him'.
Jesus is our representative, because He gave his life for us. He came to save us. Jesus had no self-interest, but only did 'the will of the Father' and came to 'finish the work'.
Read Zechariah 3 1-5. It is the story of the Angel of the Lord (probably Jesus before the Incarnation) defending Joshua the high priest, as Satan stands accusing him.
Examples of Agony in Intercession. Jesus, Paul, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Hosea.
The second characteristic of an intercessor is agony. The writer to the Hebrews says that Jesus prayed 'with vehement (loud) cries and tears'' Hebrews 5:7.
Romans 8:26 "...The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered".
Paul records in Romans 9:3 'Wished that he would be accursed from Christ’ so that the Jews (his brothers) could meet the Saviour instead. Like Moses, he was prepared to put his eternal soul on the line.
Isaiah went naked for three and a half years as a sign against Israel.
Jeremiah was not allowed to marry as a sign of the horrors of captivity.
Ezekiel was not 'allowed to cry when his wife died'; and lived on 'food by weight and water by measure'. This was a sign that Jerusalem would be under siege, and that there would be an impending slaughter.
Hosea had to marry a prostitute who was unfaithful and had to 'buy her back again'. He had to represent God as a faithful husband wanting to take back His unfaithful bride Israel.
The third characteristic of an intercessor is authority.
After identification and agony intercessors have a prevailing place with God. They can enter the presence of God, speak out His prophetic Word and command that His will be done. It is not man’s word, but God’s Word, with God’s power behind it!
It gives you a prevailing place with God. The Holy Spirit is in you and through your obedience gains the objective; the answer to the intercession. As Moses stood in the gap for Israel, he was able to prevail upon God for them.
This is why some people can pray for money and always get it; they have gained a position in finances. Others have gained a position in healing. Every one of us can pray for the sick, but those who have gained a position for healing have more effect than normal prayers.
The Will of God in Gained Positions
Intercessors may have gained a position, but this does not give them authority to become a loose cannon! They still need to know the will of the Lord in every case.
For example it may be the 'Lord's will' (John 5:30) to take somebody home early, for whatever reason. The prophets could not resist the will of God when their teacher Elisha was dying. Read how Elisha died of a sickness in 2 Kings 13:14.
Prayer of Doubt
It is worth noting that after you may have gained a position in intercession, any other prayer after that becomes a prayer of doubt!
For example, the intercessor may have gained a position for an abundance of finances, yet, the money they need may not come in till the last minute before it was needed. Thanksgiving is the key to maintain a gained position.
As a general rule ‘intercessors’ are called and set apart for a particular ministry. Most people do not volunteer; God ordains it.
I have known intercessors to fast for forty days for particular situations; whereas others may eat simple foods (like Daniel) or a bowl of rice a day to identify with the person or situation they are praying through. Some may set aside their tea break for prayer. Whatever you are led to do, be obedient.
Prayer and Intercession
Those who have a calling as an intercessor will only pray as the Holy Spirit leads them. Their intercession will succeed, even if their walk seems as a defeat in the eyes of man.
But generally within the church, most Christians pray as they feel, or as they are led. God is always interested in our prayers, as long as we are working within the conditions that are set down for prayer, as mentioned in the prayer section. If the Christian is praying according to God’s conditions, they can be sure of an answer, even if it is no. The intercessor, after discovering God’s will, always succeeds.
George Muller was an amazing man of faith who built several orphanages in Bristol (UK), providing for more than 2000 children. He also prayed for someone’s salvation for over fifty years! Mr Muller died and then that person came to Jesus.
He also received more than £1,500,000 in answer to prayer, between 1850 and his death. Maybe the money would be worth about £90 million (or more) today!
Mr Muller never made an appeal for money, but always went directly to God; sometimes he would tell his close friends so that they could pray together for the needs. God never let him down and he also supported 200 missionaries from the China Inland Mission at his peak. Mr Muller not only prayed for his organisation needs, but for others as well.
What are we Commanded to Pray?
The Bible shows us that we should be praying for many things on a consistent basis. In these situations we are praying exactly what God wants; we do not need to seek Him in prayer because He has commanded us by His Word. We can be confident that God will bring the answer to these prayers, even if we never see the answer with our own eyes Hebrews 11:13.
Pray for the Harvest - Matthew 9:38
Jesus said, "The harvest is truly plentiful but the labourers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest".
We are called to pray for the Father to call people into the ministry that they reap a harvest for the glory of God. He desires to thrust people out into the harvest!
Ask for the Nations - Psalm 2:8
"Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance."
This is God speaking to Jesus (through the Psalmist lips to us). Psalm 111:6 "He has declared to His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage (inheritance) of the nations."
We can ask God to save a nation, pray for the souls of a nation, for a people group or a tribe Revelation 5;9. Revelation 7:9 tells us that 'around the throne there will be people from every tribe, nation, tongue (and people group) praising God'.
There are still people groups who have never ever heard about Jesus. Pray that God will send people to these heathen. Pray for the translation of the Scriptures into the people's own tongue. Pray for the finances to reach them. You can make a difference.
Watch and Pray - Matthew 26:41
Jesus said "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak".
We should always watch to see how Satan tries to tempt us to sin. We should pray that we would not enter into temptation. As we spend time in God’s presence, we will desire to live Holy lives.
Ask for the Holy Spirit – Luke 11:11,13.
"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone...? How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"
Jesus wants us to ask for the Holy Spirit. We can ask for the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the first time, or for a fresh infilling. In Acts 2 and 4, the Holy Spirit fell on the same people twice.
Ask God for a greater anointing. As we are filled with His Spirit we will be able to reflect the love and glory of Jesus to others.
'God likes to give good gifts to His children' Matthew 7:11.
"Peter and John prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit." Acts 8:15. We too can pray for others to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Pray for the Greater Gifts
1 Corinthians 12:31 "Earnestly desire the best gifts..." 14:1 "pursue love and desire spiritual gifts". This whole chapter speaks about the nine gifts of the Spirit. 'God likes to give good gifts to His children'. So pray for the gifts of the Spirit. We don't pray for our glory or from selfish motives as they are for use 'to edify the church' (14:12) to give glory to God as His power flows through you.
Pray for people to be saved!
2 Peter 3:9 "God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" 1 Timothy 2:4 "...Who desires all men to be saved."
God does not want people to perish, so we can pray for conversions. We all know people who are not Christian, so we should "stand in the gap" (Ezekiel 22:30) and pray for them. Also, if we can, witness to them and follow up in prayer. Remember we are told 'to make disciples', so we have to teach new Christians how to live, pray, read the Bible, tithe, etc.
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Psalm 122:6 "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you".
We should pray for Jerusalem in Israel, that both Jew and Arab will live in peace and that they will know Jesus as their Saviour.
We know that there will be no real lasting peace until Jesus comes again, and He's coming to Jerusalem, (Zechariah 14:16) so what we are really praying for is the second coming of Jesus (Acts 1:9-11).
Ask for the Latter Rain
Zechariah 10:1 "Ask the Lord for rain, in the time of the latter rain."
In its original context the people of Israel would ask the Lord for the second downpour of rain upon the crops. The first rain would soften the ground, so that it would receive the heavier latter rain.
For us, we can use this Scripture to pray for revival. Revival is not a special group of meetings, but when God comes and pours out the Holy Spirit on a place/community or country.
We are told to ask for revival. It brings revitalising to the church, deep, deep conviction of sin, true repentance and many get swept into the Kingdom (in the Welsh Revival of 1904, over 100,000 souls were saved!).
There are conditions for revival, like total obedience and holiness etc. So we cannot truly pray if we are not fulfilling His Word.
Pray for the Persecuted Church
Hebrews 13:3 "Remember the prisoners as if chained with them, and those who are mistreated since you yourselves are in the body also".
Pray for the persecuted church, especially in Muslim and Communist countries; there are many persecuted believers in so-called 'free' countries also. Pray that they will be released.
Read Acts 5:17-19, it is the account of the Apostles being released from prison. In Acts 12:1-12, the Church was praying for Peter's release and again an angel intervened.
Many Christians are physically tortured for Christ's sake today. Pray for grace so that they can stand firm in these terrible times.
Pray for Fruitfulness
John 15:1-17 'Abide in God, ask, receive, bear fruit'. God want us to bear fruit for His glory.
The fruit can be in our lives, so that we reflect the image of Jesus, or it could be souls saved to God’s glory. Let us pray that we may all be fruitful.
Pray for our Leaders
1 Timothy 2:1,2 "...Supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority..." We are told to pray for our leaders, the King/Queen, Prime Minister/ President, for politicians, anybody with any authority. They especially need wisdom from God as they shape the world.
Pray for your headmaster, teachers, boss, etc. Pray that God's will to be done, here on earth as in heaven.
Pray that they will be saved. Pray that godly decisions will be implemented.
Pray for God’s Provision
Psalm 118:25 "Save now, I pray O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity".
Pray for yourself, that you will have enough money etc for your needs, but more so that you can be blessing to others.
1 Timothy 6:6 "Godliness with contentment is great gain." Be content whatever your situation is. When I go on mission trips as directed by the Lord, I pray for the money and the material I need (tracts, Bibles etc).
I have also prayed for money for myself when I have needed items, clothes etc, and I have prayed for money for fellow friends and missionaries.
Philippians 4:13 "My God will supply all your needs..." God is faithful. God will bless you to be a blessing to others, but remember to be a good steward, and especially to tithe your money (give 10% minimum to God’s work; read Malachi 3:6-12).
I know three full time Christian workers personally who have prayed for lap tops and they all got them! But we seek God because we live for Him, not for what He can give us.
1 Chronicles 4:10 "Jabez prayed, Oh Lord that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain! So God granted what He requested."
I pray this prayer every day, and just adapt it for my situations. Jabez is asking that God would bless Him with everything that He has! He wants to be used in God’s service and to stay close to Him. He is asking that He would not mess up and sin, which would hurt others as well as him self. 'Ask and it shall be given to you, pressed down and running over' Luke 6:38, Matthew 7:7.
Samuel Rees Howells
The story of Samuel Howells' intercessions are told in the book Samuel Rees Howells: A Life of Intercession