One of the most reliable and proven principles that I have discovered in my prayer life is the profound connection between worship and intercession. When we talk about “praying for an hour” (as Jesus marveled at the disciples inability to do so in the Garden of Gethsemane), people often give me a strange “look.” The idea of focused prayer for an hour seems to be out of reach for a lot of every day Christians.
I would submit that one of the reasons this is so is that we do not have a clear picture of the nature and power of God. If we were certain of the One to whom we were praying was capable of changing hearts, releasing resources and flowing in power into situations and circumstances, praying for an hour would seem like a golden opportunity!
Oswald Chambers said nearly a hundred years ago that
“worship and intercession must go together, the one is impossible without the other.”
“Are we so worshiping God that we rouse ourselves up to lay hold on Him so that we may be brought into contact with His mind about the ones for whom we pray?”
The key in this situation is to understand that worship reveals the heart of God toward a situation, a circumstance and most especially, other people. Without having a sense of God’s heart and perspective, we tend to be somewhat insistent and even dogmatic about what should happen. When we don’t see those answers to prayer in the way that we have “demanded” them, prayer loses it’s appeal. It’s not long before that hour can feel like a day.
In this past week I gathered with a small group of passionate believers who were meeting for the express purpose of praying for their ministry. This involves reaching their target group and praying for God’s Spirit to bring the gospel to many who had not yet heard, let alone received it.
However, the prayer meeting started with 20 or more minutes of passionate worship and as worship moved into intercessory prayer, there was an undeniable sense that we were hearing from God and praying back to Him the things that He seemed to be speaking to us. Prayer becomes a vital and even exciting time when your heart senses true communication with the God of the universe!
Our hour of prayer lasted well over an hour and a half and could have gone on longer except for the reality that most everyone had responsibilities waiting for them.
How thankful I am that this rather simple but profound connection between worship and intercession has affected my prayer life for more than three decades. However, my greatest joy is that it is still affecting the prayer lives of the next generation of spiritual leaders.