I’ve been trying to encourage a friend who the Lord is unveiling as an intercessor, while living out the hard consequences of interceding for people. The truth about intercession is that it’s really depressing. And lonely. Disappointment abounds as we look for God’s hand at work and can’t see it, day after day.
I have this general policy that I can only take on a few prayer “projects” at a time. So many people need prayer, and I can’t stand rattling off an impersonal list of needs to God. So I limit it to the people He really puts on my heart. Because, I want to really love Him enough to wholeheartedly seek healing for His people. I want to love His people enough to lose sleep over their condition. To lose my breath when their own breathing is restricted. To lose my appetite when theirs fails. The Lord inspired so many strangers to loved me like that when I was sick. Isn’t that the least I can do for others?
I guess praying passionately for other people is my version of loving outrageously, even though they may never feel the effects of it. Because no matter how passionate our pleas are, we don’t always see answers. Lately it feels like I rarely receive responses.
I posted about Lyn a time or two on here. She was diagnosed with breast cancer a little less than a year ago. She had a nice life and a loving family, and a strong desire for the Lord to heal her. But she went to heaven today. I recently heard a pastor mention with disdain that some well-meaning people pray others “out of heaven”, by praying that they’d have more time on earth. I don’t want to do that, although considering how many of our prayers go unanswered, I’m not convinced God keeps people around who don’t belong here just because faithful people ask Him to.
I’m really sad that Lyn passed away. I only met her a few times, but prayed for her (along with many others) with passion and zeal, and can feel the disappointment she had to carry as her hopes were dashed, along with juggling the feelings of loved ones. I absolutely trust the Lord though, and believe today was the day she met Him and began that part of eternity. She told me how special it was to her that the Lord had me praying, and I know that part of my role with her was to share some of His love.
So, how can we not see big, juicy fruit from all of our prayers, yet keep praying? How can we juggle the knowledge that God is sovereign and always right, with the disappointment from some of His choices? How can we encourage others to intercede with passion when we suspect He won’t answer?
I don’t know.
I guess we persevere because God tells us to. Because with Him we are able, and if He enables us He has a reason. Because “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor 4:8-9). And because once in awhile His glory does fall on us, and we need to be ready for it. Make us ready, Lord!