Friday, 19 August 2011

Intercessory prayer 1

To me one of the great challenges and impotrant tasks for me as a Christian is to fulfil my responsibility and pray for the salvation of friends, family and those whose lives brush up against mine. But as muchas I take this seriously, I struggle with just how to go about it. What do I pray for? What do I say? Here are the kind of things that tend to slow me down:

1. If I pray that God will change a person's mind and make them more open to Him, wouldn't He be wanting to do that anyway? "God desires that all be saved and come to a knowledeg of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4). SO why do I need to pray? What can I add to that.
2. Besides, doesn't God uphold our free will and our right to say no to Him. Won't my prayer contradict that? How does God's desire and our free will fit together with prayer?
3. What do I say anyway? And how do i know it's the right thing to say? I am only a mere human being, how can I tell God to send someone to speak to them or arrange circumstances so that they will be prompted to ask those vital questions that can lead to faith? God knows what to do better than I do, so why try and out-do God?
4. And how long do I pray for, and when do I know when to stop? If that person is not going to respond, isn't it a waste of time barking up the wrong tree?
5. Isn't asking these questions about prayer having a negative effect and stullifying faith?
6. How specific should my prayers be? Isn't 'bless' them too little and other more prescriptive prayer too detailed?

So you can see that praying for the lost is not straightforward but full of pitfalls and problems. And reading the masters on prayer does not really help because if you read, for example, Andrew Murray he majors on the 'why', or the 'what' and even the 'when' but seems to take for granted the 'how' or just leave it out altogether.

So over the next few blogs I will be attempting to eiether answer the above questions, or try and discover some advice that will show me just 'how' I am to do it.

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