Category Archives: Intercessory Prayer

Holding Up Our Leaders

How do you support people in leadership – bosses, community and government leaders, pastors, etc.?   

The Book of Exodus reports that when the Amalekites attacked the Israelites in the desert at Rephidim, Moses stood on top of a hill with his arms raised and the staff of God in his hands.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but when he lowered his hands the Amalekites gained in the fight.  So Aaron and Hur had Moses sit on a rock and they held up his hands until sunset, and the Israelites won the battle. (Exodus 17:8-16)

A number of years ago in my morning prayer time, I found myself praying for my boss who headed up the legal department of the marketing and refining operations for a large international oil company employing several hundred lawyers.  He was an exacting boss, but a good person with great integrity.

While praying, I received the thought, “Why are you limiting your prayers just for your direct boss – why not his boss and the entire management team including the CEO and board of directors?  Pray for wisdom, integrity and love in how they oversee the operations of the company.  Your prayers can impact areas and operations of the company far beyond your immediate responsibilities and sphere of influence.”

At the time, this was a new revelation to me.  As Christians in the workplace, we have the opportunity through prayer to impact more than just the confines of our particular job or position.  We can intercede for God’s grace to impact even our bosses and the decisions they make.  We may not always see the direct results of our prayers, but we should never underestimate the power and influence they bring to the workplace.

Praying for our leaders is a way for us to hold up their hands in the battle they face in doing their jobs with righteousness, integrity and excellence. 

All kinds of leaders need our prayers.  Pastors and spiritual leaders are in particular need of our prayer support.  One of the first statements Pope Francis made after his election as he greeted the throngs in St. Peter’s Square was the request for people to pray for him.  He continues to repeat this request to nearly every individual and group he meets.

Governmental leaders also need our prayer support.  Their positions make them especially vulnerable to temptations involving pride and corruption.  Regardless of my respective politics, I regularly pray for the president’s protection, righteousness, wisdom and humility.  Remember the words of Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon, “Work for the good of the country to which I have exiled you; pray to Yahweh on its behalf, since on its welfare yours depends.” (Jeremiah 29:7 JB)

Like Aaron and Hur, let us support the hands of our bosses, pastors, and leaders in community and government with our ongoing intercession and prayer.

God Answers Intercessory Prayer

Did Stephen’s intercessory prayer at the time of his stoning have an impact on Paul’s conversion?

The Book of Acts reports that while Stephen was being stoned, he fell to his knees and prayed, “Lord do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60)  Watching on approvingly was a young Pharisee named Saul, later to become St. Paul.  Is it possible that Stephen’s intercessory prayer impacted Paul’s heart and opened the door to God seeing in Paul the potential to be God’s spokesman to the Gentiles?

While we can’t be certain of the answer to this question, at the same time we should never underestimate the impact of intercessory prayer.  We know that a similar prayer by Jesus from the cross had an impact on the centurion who oversaw Jesus’ Crucifixion.  In Luke 23:47, we read, “The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’” 

When it comes to intercessory prayer, we can easily make the mistake of thinking, “Who am I that God should listen to me and change the order of nature or human life.”  Yet, Jesus urges us to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.” (Mt. 7:7)  He offers the parable of the persistent widow to show how we “should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 7:7)

Long before our three daughters were married, my wife prayed for each of them to meet and marry a good Christian man.  She offered the same intercessory prayer for our son to meet and marry a Christian woman.  This prayer was answered for each of them, and today all four of them along with their spouses are raising Christian families that have blessed us with many grandchildren.

Last summer we spent a week at the beach with all 24 of us under one roof.  Over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we were able to be with each of the families.  With my wife’s initial prayers and our ongoing intercession over the years, we can echo the words of John’s gospel, “From the fullness of his grace we have received one blessing after another.” (John 1:16)

Inside my Bible I keep a yellow sheet of paper with numerous people’s names that need prayer for healing, discernment, guidance, protection and conversion.  Some of the people don’t even know that I am praying for them.  Others I have lost contact with, but I keep praying.  I don’t need to know the outcomes.  We never know when perhaps another St. Paul might be the result.