Note from the Editor: This weekend our sermon on intercessory prayer comes from Rev. Shalom Liddick. She and her husband Rev. Mike Liddick are church planters of a Wesleyan congregation, Resurrection Life Church, in Marana, Arizona. Click play to listen to this sermon in its entirety. A short excerpt is featured below.
To know the heart of God, we need to remain in God. John 15:7 says, “If you remain in me and I remain in you, you can come and ask and I will give it to you.” When you remain in God, you know the mind of God.
When we begin the New Year, we start making resolutions – “new year, new you.” We begin to think about ourselves and what we need to change – we turn inward. “What about me needs to change?”
But read in Isaiah 62:6-7 – “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”
When they built communities, they surrounded them with tall walls to try to protect the people inside from attacks – animals, war. When they built these walls, they posted people at different sections of the walls. These people were called watchmen. Their job is to have eyes to see what is coming. To see a runner who has news, to see an attack – to see what is coming and to alert and announce to prepare, to do something.
In this new year, you are watchmen, watchwomen.
When we make resolutions about how life is going for us, remember: you are your brother’s keeper; you are your sister’s keeper. You’re a watchman. And where God has placed you, God has placed you on purpose.
Watchmen stand in the middle to communicate, to see, to defend. An intercessor stands in the middle to intervene on behalf of somebody else. The word “intercessor” is a word of the courtroom – you stand in the middle to intervene for somebody else in intercessory prayer.
Intercessory prayer is prayer given up to God, when you stand in the middle to intervene for somebody else. God calls me and calls you to be people who get in the middle and say, “God, can you help my sister? Can you help my brother? Can you help my community?” If you keep aware in your community because you talk to neighbors, you talk to friends – it makes it really hard to make a New Year’s resolution that’s just, “new year, new me.”
Something that should give you hope is the knowledge that God is present in every situation – every calamity, every disaster. No matter what your friend is facing, no matter what the news says, God is present in every situation. God is present – in the middle – of everything.
I’m your keeper – you are mine. The fact that God came to Cain and asked, “where is your brother?” tells me something. It tells me God will ask me about my friends. God will ask me about my community. “Hey – where is…?” It is my responsibility to pray for you. Where are you, friend? We live in a culture where we want to be independent. But I need to make it a point to always present you before God, and you need to make it a point to present me before God.
In John 17 we see Jesus praying for us before we even came to be. And here we are. I come before God with the expectation that God hears me. When it comes to your intercessory prayer life, don’t get stuck in that one thing that you think God didn’t answer. Prayer works, and our job and our duty is to continue to bring our friends, our community to God. The awesome thing about our relationship with God is that God allows us to do that.