To be perfectly honest, most of the time when I pray for others, my prayer often takes less than a minute. I pray for what seems important and make it as simple and succinct as possible. But today I tried something different.
Feeling led to spend more than just a couple of minutes praying for someone, I opened up my journal and wrote a full two pages, slowing down and taking time to put my concern for him into words that were meaningful and heartfelt. In multiple ways, I asked God to demonstrate His power in our physical world, to heal and restore my friend (yesterday I had a great time reflecting on what it means to encounter God's power in our lives, so I was drawing on that as well). Like many of the examples we see in the Old Testament, I made my case before God as to why He should intervene and heal my friend, all the while being aware that my Father was listening to my heart.
In the end, I felt as if I was truly heard by God. I had not simply prayed because I should. I was drawn by God and my concern to spend time with my heavenly Father, sharing my heart with Him and explaining why we all needed needed Him to do something wonderful. What surprised me most was my sense of having been fed in this process. I felt closer to God, engaged in His heart for my friend, beyond my own concern for his wellbeing.
This caused me to begin to think differently about how we need to intercede for others. Perhaps intercession is meant to be a lot more than just asking for something for someone else. It is meant to be a way of loving. And when I feel the impact of this process on my own heart, it probably implies that I'm caring better for my friend — because when we love one another in prayer, it feeds everyone involved, both the giver and the receiver of heartfelt care.
Thank You, God, for drawing us into Your work of Grace for everyone who loves You.