The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Intercessory Prayer Teams: Don’t Go There

Intercessory Prayer Teams: Don't Go There

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Intercessory prayer teams are a very bad idea. They sound good, they feel good, and they are enormously popular in the Church. But the theology that drives them is sheer rot and joining one will only end up eroding your faith while giving you the illusion that you are in a strong position with God.

How we pray to God is a direct reflection of what we believe about who He is and what He is capable of. If we believe it is necessary to point out our problems to God, then we clearly do not believe He is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives. If we believe it is necessary to tell God how to fix our problems, then we clearly do not believe His wisdom is worth much, nor do we have much faith in His ability to make good judgments on His own. If we believe that our prayers can help change events in other people’s lives, then clearly we don’t think that God is taking the best possible care of every soul all of the time. By practicing intercessory prayer, we are telling ourselves that God depends heavily on the advice and wisdom of foolish mortals to keep His universe tacked together. Even worse, we are expressing a belief that His interest in certain souls might wane if we weren’t constantly nagging Him about their problems. All of this is terrible theology which will steadily erode your faith, trust, and confidence in God.

When we continue to ask God for something over and over again, we are really telling ourselves (and Him) that we don’t believe He has heard or answered our request. God is not deaf, nor is He a miser about pouring out blessings. God loves us more than we can even fathom, and He is devoted to doing what is best for our long-term spiritual health. Intercessory prayer teams encourage repetitive praying. They ask for the same things over and over again, and at the same time they believe that all of their harping is somehow playing a critical role in making things happen down here. Such thinking quickly leads us down the road of pompous arrogance, and that’s when we start pumping out the drawings of the armor-clad “prayer warriors.” The very term “prayer warrior” is a complete crock which promotes humans as having some mighty power over the spiritual realm and God Himself. We do not have any such power.

In the Church, we are taught to constantly instruct God as we pray when instead we should be inviting Him to instruct us.  Improving how you pray will have an enormous impact on your faith and relationship with God. You will end up with much greater amounts of trust, confidence, and reverence. You will end up with an acute awareness of your total dependency on God and you’ll be constantly practicing submission to His will. All of these things are critical to forming an intimate bond with Him. But joining an intercessory prayer team will discourage you from doing any of these things.  Intercessory prayer focuses on trying to dominate and control God.  It elevates human wisdom as superior than His (since we always talk as if we know what is best for a certain situation), and it promotes the belief that God is an indifferent Shepherd who would forget all about us and blow our concerns off as irrelevant if we weren’t constantly nagging Him with the same requests over and over again.  Intercessory prayer teams encourage humans to take a share of the glory for the things God does, teaching that our prayers have enormous power to control activity in both the earthly and supernatural realms.  Start engaging in intercessory prayer and you’ll end up with less trust, less confidence, less dependence, and a ton of arrogance. You’ll also end up on the wrong side of God’s patience, because God has never found it pleasing when humans exalt themselves as wiser than He is.  Intercessory prayer teams function as major obstacles to spiritual growth, so don’t go there.

FURTHER READING:
Prayer Warriors: Disrespecting God & Proud of It
Asking & Aligning: The Two Stages of Prayer
Christian Prayer Groups: Why God Isn’t a Fan
Praying Down Your Enemies
The Power of a Righteous Man’s Prayer

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