Remote, intercessory prayer – prayer that is an attempt to intercede with God on behalf of someone other than yourself – is like sending a “spiritual bouquet” brought on behalf of someone else for whom you care or have compassion. Anyone with a heart for intercessory prayer can stand before God with an open heart and ask for the well-being of another. This has been done for victims of disasters, and it has also been done after a widespread call, such as Pope Francis’ day of prayer and fasting for world peace, #prayforpeace. Reporters noted a new sense of optimism for the prospects for peace after untold numbers participated in that vigil. Such prayer doesn’t relieve us of our need to step in and help, as God’s “hands and feet” in this world, but it is definitely one part of the big puzzle of life.
Many of us in the modern day age have difficulty putting trust in something so ineffable as prayer, but our prayers are not nothing, and a few scientific studies have even been done to attempt to prove their worth to the skeptical. Those who have felt their benefit know prayer is very powerful, even life-saving. Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke became aware of the power of intercessory prayer when, consumed by fever and convinced he might dying in Africa, he heard the voice of a woman in his church in Germany, praying on his behalf. After he recovered, he wrote his father to ask what had happened, and she confirmed she’d been awoken with the inspiration that he was dying and that she should pray for him. She prayed for hours until she felt a breakthrough — the very moment his fever broke.
The Bible teaches that, the effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much.(James 5:16) So, how do our prayers fit in with that? Bonnke has noticed that, in the Psalms, such prayers always rise up to God on the wings of praise. Even The Lord’s Prayer begins and ends with praise. This gives us a clue on how to be effective: include praise. To be fervent, pray with your heart and deep feeling. And to be righteous, align your desires with those of God. After all, we can’t always know God’s will in any given situation.
Form your intercessory prayer with praise, gratitude, and trust in God, and then ask for God’s help, specifically, on the behalf of those for whom you are praying. Trust that God will always hear you. Do what you can, and then leave it to God to do what God will do.