Going Beyond Intercession to Step Into Someone Else’s Spiritual Shoes
Kimberly N. Alleyne
The Harvest Magazine, Publisher and Editor
Prayer changes things. It’s true. If you need to scale a wall, or crumble one to ashes, prayer is just the weapon to use. I pray about everything, even the tiniest details. I pray about the big stuff and the small stuff because I realized I desperately need the Lord for every single detail of my life, and because I realize just how much the Lord wants to be engaged in every single detail of my life. But as much as I pray for my life, I also pray for others. I actually probably pray more for others than I do for myself; and I try to make it a habit to pray for others first. It pleases God when we selflessly lift up prayers for others.
God’s Word is very clear about His desire for us to pray for others. It’s a basic step in our love walk. We don’t get extra points for our intercession. And although intercession pleases God, I don’t think that should be our ultimate motivation. It’s something we should do because we walk in love and compassion. We should pray for others because we want to see them overcome, fight back, stand up, and triumph.
So intercession has become a part of my lifestyle. It’s not an option, it’s and instruction, and so I take it very seriously. There are times when I commune with the Lord in prayer for up to two hours. I don’t do all the talking, I listen intently, too. Prayer is a powerful and effective weapon in our spiritual warfare, and it’s one I’ve devoted ample time to sharpening over the years. I even launched a women’s prayer and learning group last year. We meet weekly on Monday mornings via conference call, and other times as I am led. Vernicia Eure is our Monday-morning prayer leader, and an intercessor who surely makes God beam with pride.
“May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” NIV
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
There is something particular though that transformed my prayer in ways I could not have expected. The Holy Spirit took me to a place where I actually feel the burdens of those I am praying for—even my harshest enemies. Part of my intercession is to allow myself to experience, to step into, the feelings of sadness, angst, disappointment, or expectation that whomever I’m praying for is feeling. That’s huge…and it’s heavy. It’s a heavy lift and a heavy responsibility; but it’s also a heavy responsibility that comes with heavy Kingdom rewards.
The enemy hates it when we have compassion or stand in the gap for others because it sharpens our prayer swords even more. When we take the focus off self, and hone in on others, we grow by bounds. But it’s not important what the benefit is from stepping into someone else’s spiritual shoes. The byproduct benefit is not the focus–that takes it back to self. The real benefit is feeling, taking on a loved one’s pain or desperation to pray even more passionately, more boldly. That’s the benefit.
Feeling the Yoke-Easy and the Hard and Heavy Burdens
Ok, I admit it’s a lot easier to rejoice when others rejoice, than it is to weep when they weep. I get it. (Romans 12:15)
A friend recently lost his father. His father died before he could him “Goodbye.” He traveled from Pennsylvania to Maryland, with a plan to take his dad’s body back to Pennsylvania, and bury it there, which is what his dad wanted. He wanted to be buried where his other family members are buried. However, his stepmother refused to released the body, and even threatened to cremate his remains. Eventually, she relented and decided to bury my friend’s dad at Arlington National Cemetery. But my friend is still recovering from the sudden loss of his dad, and from the emotional trauma that followed. When I prayed for him from that place, I was overwhelmed with sadness. I thought about how numb I would be if I was to experience a situation like my friend had with my Mom…
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
I Colossians 1:9-12 ESV
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
I am targeting my prayers for three dear sisters. Each one of them is experiencing life-interuppting stuff. There at junctures where they can either trust or doubt, keep pushing or give all the way up. These are hard tests they’re taking. I am standing right with them, agreeing with them for victory. I am fighting with them on knees, in my praise, as I wake in the early morning hours. I am fighting, and can’t wait to see them cross over. I know it’s coming…for each of them.