I sat down in front of our house, laying my bicycle to the side. My dad sat beside me. We were tired and sweaty. We smiled and laughed about all the days gone by as I learned to ride that bike. Today had been the day where it all came together! And then I looked at my dad’s hands. Forever in my mind, I will remember the scars and blood. Every moment he reached out to balance the bike and got cut by the chain, every time he tried to catch me as I fell learning to ride were marked in his hands.
There is a word for what my dad did: Intercession.
To begin our series on Committed To Christ, intercessory prayer is a good place to begin. Any Commitment we make to Christ, ought to keep in perspective that it was Jesus who first interceded for us. Christianity isn't a self-help faith but a “God Help!” faith. Before we take any step on this journey, it needs to start with the knowledge that it is Jesus Christ who was, is and will always be, committed to us. That also has a word – grace.
In the guide for our series, in the first paragraph it states, “If you are going to have a personal relationship with the Lord, it is going to begin with prayer.” So before we gloss over this, we need to consider that before Jesus began his ministry in earnest, before he stepped out and took the first steps of healing and preaching, he too began with prayer.
Read today's passage here: Luke 6:12-19
We know little of the exact prayers Jesus prayed. Obviously, here, Jesus went off by himself. But it is clearly implied by what follows, that in his prayer it was a time of interceding, of stepping up to talk with God, the Father, about those first disciples, about those who would be coming to be healed and for the words that Jesus would be preaching.
If you haven’t used the words, “I’ll pray for you,” certainly someone has said to you, “I will be in prayer for you.” If we trust that person to be a person in prayer, then those words become very powerful. The Christian who intercedes for others, is actually doing something Jesus did. And it it is the first step of Commitment.
To the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and in every prayer...always persevere in supplication for all saints (6:18).” To the church at Philippi he wrote, “...in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” To pray for others, to intercede is an act that brings us in-line with Jesus Christ.
And being in-line with Jesus is what many people often wonder about and they express it in wondering what God’s will is. I have lots of people ask me about it or question it. I hope you’ll find it helpful to know that It is always God’s will to pray for others. To pray for others and to be prayed for are two sides of this coin too.
At Cumming FUMC we have over 300 people who are part of the Intercessory Prayer Team. Nearly 1/3 of our church’s Sunday morning attendance is praying for others. I put my own name on that list when I lost vision in my eye this year and I have prayed for others on this list.
Your decision to live a more committed life for Christ will begin with prayer, but you must not forget, you’re not the one beginning the conversation, you're finally joining it. Jesus has been trying to get your attention and has been praying for you even before that day on the mountain when he prayed for the disciples.
My invitation for you is to join this conversation. It maybe you have someone or a situation where you need to intercede or you are in need of someone to intercede for you. We’re making that time today. Will you make that time in your own life?
In the weeks ahead, I'll continue to explore what it means to be Committed to Christ at Cumming First United Methodist Church.
NOTE: If you're looking at doing a sermon from this theme or using this series, I used the Five Finger Prayer from Sermons4Kids