Have you ever shared a need or struggle with someone, and in response hear them say, “I’ll pray for you”? And had a sneaky suspicion they wouldn’t? Why is that? Is it because we’re cynical, skeptical or because we’ve been that person saying, “I’ll pray for you,” knowing full well we wouldn’t?
Prayer is one of the most loving things we can do for someone. Prayer takes people’s greatest needs to the most powerful Being in the universe. The reverse is true too—neglect of prayer is a serious lapse of love. How cruel would it be to know someone who could meet our friends every need, and refuse to connect them?
Perhaps you’ve walked away from a conversation wishing a friend would have prayed for you right then? I know a number of people who, after listening intently to others, respond by offering to pray on the spot. What would happen if we did that? Not in a cultic, lockstep kind of way, but whenever we sensed it was good timing, when prompted by the Spirit? That would be a force to reckon with.
So why not?
I read an article years ago suggesting the “mediatorial elite” are a barrier to spontaneous prayer. It described a social dynamic among Christians where people often don’t pray out loud, or at all, because we’re intimidated by what others will think. Prayer on the spot?–that’s for the spiritual giants.
The author went on to debunk this idea by pointing to the priestly work of Christ. Jesus died and rose to make it possible for all people–young and old, fresh convert or seasoned sage, to draw near to the throne of God with confidence to receive grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:14-16). In other words:
There is no mediatorial elite.
To follow through on our promise to pray, and to be bolder in praying on the spot, we may need to confront the false notion of a “mediatorial elite.” Begin by repenting of exaggerated concern with what others think of your praying. Ask Jesus to forgive you for minimizing his priestly work on your behalf. Then take Jesus up on his promise–grace to help in time of need! Any time, any place.
We are a kingdom of priests, living stones that compose a holy, cosmic temple where the Spirit dwells. He prompts the priests to pray for the people and mission of God. So let’s get on with praying out loud, on the spot, in intercession for others.
Walking with a friend through the streets of a village in northern Thailand, we were surrounded by opulent Buddhist temples covered in gold flake. As we reflected on the spiritual poverty around us, we were cut to the heart. As we lamented the beautiful deception, my friend piped up and said, “Let’s throw up the true temple and pray for this place.”
As we prayed and called on the name of the Lord, the Spirit’s presence throbbed in our presence. Who knows what the Lord did in answer to those prayers? Now, just think what could happen in your town, city, church, if you “threw up the true temple” more often and prayed on the spot!
You can read more about praying in the Spirit in Here in Spirit: Knowing the Spirit who Create, Sustains, and Transforms Everything.