The Power of Intercessory Prayer

One of the greatest rewards for living a life of service to others is the personal satisfaction that we have been faithful to do what the Lord has taught us to do through His example and by His words.This is especially evidenced when we apply what we learned last week with regards to bearing one another’s burdens. God has so designed His plan for our lives that our obedience always brings with it blessings. He knows that many of our own spiritual and emotional needs can be met by simply doing what He has commanded. And bearing one another’s burdens certainly helps fulfill those needs.

Last week we spent some time on the how’s of bearing one another’s burdens and discovered that we must remain humble as we do so, be gentle when restoration is needed, and that we are to bear the burden as long as it takes. Now let’s begin to look at some of the way’s we put all of this into practice.

One of the first ways that comes to mind is intercessory prayer. This is likely the best tool we have to help accomplish the task but often times is the one least used. I think we don’t really understand how powerful it can be and therefore fail to apply it with a real anticipation of success. In order for prayer to be the most effective, we must realize that there are some requirements on our part that Jesus emphasized in His model prayer he gave His disciples and thus us. As He instructed us to include the request for forgiveness of our debts or trespasses, He added the condition “as we forgive our debtors” or “those who trespass against us”. These are not mere words. They mean that he forgives us with the same measure as we forgive others. In other words, for us to have the right relationship with Him we must first have the right relationship with others. I believe this stands in way many times of our prayers being as effective as they could be. But once we can reach the point of true forgiveness of others, the door is opened for great things to occur.

I have known a number of true prayer warriors during my lifetime and my dad and my grandmother top the list. Along with the others I have known, I would rather have them interceding for me or my family than anybody else I know. I am convinced that they knew the “secret” of powerful prayer and that God honored their requests on many occasions. As a matter of fact, I am an example of many of those prayers that were answered. Their burden for me and my lost condition helped bring me to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord. So, from my own experience, I know the power of intercessory prayer to help bear another’s burden. I only wish that I could say I really use it like I should. I pray that someday I will!

Next week we will continue along this same line of thought. We will look at some more ways to help bear one another’s burdens in our life of service to others. But until then, I plan to work on my own intercessory prayer life. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if all of us had the prayer life He wants and expects us to have? May it be so! 


Serving by Burden Bearing

Have you ever had a situation in your life that weighed you down to the point that you felt like you could bear it no longer? Did you feel like you were all alone and that no one else understood how you were feeling? If only the weight could be lifted then maybe everything could return to normal. Have you been there?

I believe every one of us have been down that road some time in our past or may even be on that road right now. This burdensome journey comes in many forms and can be a result of circumstances beyond our control, undeserved persecution by someone else or even by our own actions and the choices we make. Whatever the case, the burden is heavy and, whether we will admit it or not, we need someone to come along beside us and help us bear the load. This is one of the most fundamental aspects of serving others for all believers. And all believers can participate.

So let’s begin this part of our study with a basic definition of a burden. A burden can be anything that oppresses the spiritual development of a believer. It is something that makes an overwhelming demand on our lives and brings with it sorrow and grief. Many times it is a result of a particular sin that we just can’t seem to overcome and it begins to have power over us. In one of Paul’s letter to the churches he writes in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”. This verse immediately follows his admonition that if a believer is caught (trapped) in any trespass, those believers who are spiritual (under the control of the Holy Spirit) are to restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, and take a close look at themselves, lest they also be tempted.

As we stated earlier, burdens can come in many forms but we will only mention a few. Some burdens are spiritual as we just witnessed in the paragraph above. Yielding to our desires and the subsequent sin activity are certainly the worst burdens we can carry. Emotional burdens come when we are the victims of sin, not the perpetrator of sin. We may experience mistreatment or neglect, we may be overcome by fear or even grief. These type of burdens are overwhelming. Physical burdens may be caused by illness or accident, some kind of impairment or just advancing age. Financial burdens can be brought on by a layoff, a medical emergency, a poor investment strategy and a multitude of other reasons. Whatever the form or shape, we need to remember that a burden is anything that oppresses the spiritual development of a believer and we all need a burden bearer at times. As a matter of fact, the greatest burden bearer of all time was Jesus Himself because he bore the burden of our sin on the cross. Thank you Lord!

Let’s now take a close look at the how’s of bearing another’s burdens. Frist of all, we must be humble. Galatians 5:26 states “Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” and then in Galatians 6:3 “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself”. In other words we should be humble as we help bear another’s burden. Secondly we are to be gentle in our attempts to restore a brother. This is especially true when the burden is a result of sin. And finally, we are to bear the burden as long as it takes. Verse 2 really means to carry and keep on carrying the burden. We should be reminded that ir is to bring healing not punishment to the other.

In closing we should look at the last part of verse 2 that says “and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”. The question then is “What is the law of Christ”? The very important answer to that question comes in the form of a command from Jesus Himself. In John 13:34 Jesus says “A new command I give you, love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another“. Wow! Jesus gave us the ultimate model of how to bear each other’s burdens by what He did at Calvary. And it was simply because He loved us so much! He bore it all. So what excuse do we have?

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”.



The How’s of Serving Others

Well, we’ve come a long ways since we started the series on serving others from back in early August. We opened with a short preview of service and made some observations that would set the tone for the study. We made the comment that our focus would be on one main point and I think it is worth repeating at this time. So here it is.

Our endeavors in serving others is based on the best example of service that we have in God’s word. When we study the short ministry of Jesus while He was here on earth as God Incarnate, we see that everything He did in the way of service was with others in mind. We understand that He came to die for us but at the same time He showed us how we should have a heart of servant-hood towards others. The point is that before we look at ways to serve, we need to keep in mind that it is not about us. First and foremost it is about Him and the fact that He is to receive all the glory. Then it is all about others. And I repeat, it is not about us. The sooner we recognize that the better we can serve Him through serving others.

Once this was established we looked at a few tools God has given us to prepare us for our journey of service. The three main tools we have are prayer, bible study, and worship. Certainly, these tools equip us for many other things but service to others is near the top of the list. We then looked at the seven motivational gifts that He gives His children to actually perform the task. They included the gifts of prophecy, serving, teaching exhortation, giving, leadership, and mercy. We described these in some depth with the purpose of helping each of us to determine which gift(s) we have so that we can use them as He intended in the service to the church body. And even more than that, for His glory.

I believe we are now ready to start putting all of these things together so we can begin to do His will in the work of service to others. Over the next few weeks I hope to show how we can get to the point where the rubber meets the road and put what we have learned into action. It will be my attempt at describing some of the various ways we can do just that and my intent will be to make sure it is based on God’s Word. So next week we will start with the subject of “bearing one another’s burdens” which is a basic fundamental in serving others.

Until next week may God richly bless you and your family. Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away so remember:

“What if you woke up today with only those things you thanked God for yesterday?”



Service – “The Gift of Mercy”

For the last six weeks we have been looking at the seven motivational gifts as shown in our list below:

  • Prophecy
  • Serving
  • Teaching
  • Exhortation
  • Giving
  • Leadership
  • Mercy ***

We will finish the discussion of these gifts tonight with a focus on the last one in our list, the spiritual gift of mercy. This gift is one of those much like serving and exhortation that is directed toward individuals who are experiencing certain difficulties. It has been given to those who have an ability to sense hurt in someone else’s life and respond to it with love and understanding. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the general characteristics that are typically exhibited by those who have the motivational gift of mercy.

A mercy-giver’s basic motivational drive is to sense and respond to the emotional and spiritual needs of others. They are kind and gentle. They sense and reflect the spiritual and emotional atmosphere around them. They are more likely to sense how others are feeling than those with the other motivational gifts. They need to be needed so they reach out and get involved with others which helps them to keep from focusing on their own hurts and fears. They see spirituality as an emotional confirmation of the presence of God in their life. They are drawn to other sensitive people and usually are the prayer warriors in the Church because they feel very strongly that they must pray.

The strengths of those with the gift of mercy are numerous and begins with their God-given ability to sense a person’s spirit or the atmosphere among a group of people. Their strengths also include:

  • They recognize the feelings that may be at work in others’ minds and hearts.
  • They are equipped to reach out to people who are suffering but may likely be reluctant to tell others about their need.
  • They are attracted to people who are in distress which leads to a love for those of whom most of us shy away from.
  • Mercy-givers love the unlovable, such as the handicapped, the elderly, the seriously ill, the wounded in spirit, the outcast, the out of fellowship, and the rebellious.
  • They do not take sin lightly whether their own or someone else’s.
  • They embrace humility, because of their sensitive spirits and awareness of their own weaknesses and failures.

The mercy-giver also has a few weaknesses we need to consider because they can diminish the effectiveness of the gift if they are not recognized. Some of these are as follows:

  • They can be indecisive and be tossed to and fro by their emotions.
  • They sometimes allow others to become dependent on them instead of God.
  • They often become rescuers of those who do not need to be rescued.
  • Because of their warmth, they must learn to temper their demonstrations of affection so that they do not become falsely interpreted.
  • They are quick to take up others’ offenses but strive to avoid conflict of any kind.
  • They tend to be introspective which makes it easy for them to become overly sensitive to their own hurts that may lead to the development of a poor self-image.

Now that we have covered all seven motivational gifts we should have a good understanding of how they work together for the edification of the Church as they are exercised by the individual believers. I’m so thankful that God loves His children so much that he gave these gifts to people in order that they can serve people and that those who are served can use their gifts to serve more people. Wouldn’t it be something if the world we live in today and our society knew how to use their talents to do the same for others instead of taking from them. I hope each of us has taken the opportunity during this study to recognize the gift(s) that God has given us and then resolved to use them as intended to serve others so that His Church will be edified and bring glory to Him. I know it has certainly made me more aware of my own gifts and even the gifts of others.

Next week we will begin to look at some specific ways we can put into action all we have learned so that we can serve others as God has so instructed us to do. I know it will results in blessing for them and for us! 

For the record, I want to give credit where credit is due. The majority of the information in this series on the motivational gifts came from the website of The Institute of Basic Life Principles and an article entitled “Motivational Gifts in a Nutshell”. The article was written in response to the life question of “What are the seven motivational gifts?” The article can be found at the following link:

Have a great Lord’s Day tomorrow and a wonderful week to follow. Remember to set your clocks back tonight as it is again time to do so. May God bless each of you.


“What if you woke up today with only those things you thanked God for yesterday?”