Monday, June 22, 2009

The arrogant bravado of intercession...!

I am sure He is really grateful with our jogging of His fading memory as He listens to our petitions. "I'm glad you mentioned Aunt Gladys, thanks for your insight I'll make a note of that one ... Iran you say, well I never...!" .

It is funny how we approach God in prayer as if He is some poor old dear, hard of hearing and clearly in need of us to tell him what He needs to do, as if speaking to a great aunt who really does not understand. I sometimes wonder what we have done to intercession as we approach the creator of all things seen and unseen with our little prayer lists; what we have done as we 'beseech' the Sovereign of all with our anxious thoughts for others. We remind Him that he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords but precede with the mindset of giving every precise detail that He clearly doesn't know.

I am sure He is really grateful with our jogging of His fading memory as He listens to our petitions. "I'm glad you mentioned Aunt Gladys, thanks for your insight I'll make a note of that one ... Iran you say, well I never...!"

It sometimes feels as though we are in the power seat and it is us that is pulling the levers. Omnipresent, Omniscient of course, but Lord let me just bring to attention that I could do with a parking space in a minute!

Unthinking intercession? Before any accusations fly that I have rubbished what for many is a key part of their prayer life let me clarify. I am all for it! I just think that it is all too easy to allow the framework of intercession to look more like a shopping list we write and pass on than rather than a real means of changing lives.

Walter Wink captures this when he points out:

"All this about our role as intercessors in creating history is arrogant bravado unless we recognize that it is God rather than ourselves who initiates prayer, and that it is god's power, not ours , that answers the world's needs. We are always preceded in intercession. God is always praying within us. When we turn to pray it is always the second step of prayer. We join with God in a prayer already going on in us and in the world."


Intercession should never be allowed to become a passing of the buck, I wonder what would happen if we made part of our intercession the caveat "and show me how I can be part of the answer...?"As we breathe our heartfelt prayers of intercession how do they change us and align us to God's agenda?

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