I’m not sure accidental intercessors exist, but if they do, I am definitely one of them. I don’t know if you have ever made a plan to grow your prayer life, but I have to admit that it was not one of my goals.
My mom taught me to pray the Lord’s prayer when I was about three years old, and one of my earliest memories that still brings me joy is how I felt when I could finally recite it by myself. Despite the early roots I developed in prayer, though, I must share that I was incredibly religious about it.
Toys Left to Die
For years, my prayers were reminiscent of neglected toys left to die in the shallow end of the pool on hot summer days.
You know, the toys the sun bakes as they bob up and down. These are toys people feel are too valuable to put up or throw away even though no one pays attention to them, just in case someone needs them, and my prayers were no different. They were neglected, worn, and yet, somehow viewed as a valuable part of my environment, all at once.
I never invited my prayers to inform my decisions. I just kept them around in case I really needed them one day. Once I’d prayed at the beginning of a day, I moved on, thinking that those prayers were simply toys to occupy the babies: people who really hadn’t learned the skill it took to navigate the deep waters.
A Type A’s Worst Nightmare
It wasn’t until God took me halfway across the country nineteen years later to live in Las Vegas that I finally learned to explore the depth and richness we can enjoy in our relationship with God through prayer. And when I did, it was right on time. You see, I was desperate. My plans had not worked out at all, which was devastating to this type A personality.
At 22 years old, I was fresh out of college and isolated from everything and everyone I’d ever known and loved. I was severely depressed, and I had returned to that old stuff that had kept me bound for years. I needed help, and the only place I could think to find it was at church.
From the moment I stepped foot into the church I’d been invited, I knew there was something different about it. The transparency I felt from the leaders who shared the Word of God, and the desire I suddenly had to change were almost palpable. I could feel it in the room almost as much as I could in my heart.
Still, I was used to religion, not relationship, so I didn’t plan to get too involved in the church or in a concerted effort to change. It wasn’t until the leadership asked for help with their African American history program did I feel any desire to leave my seat and make connections.
While an undergrad, I majored in history, with a concentration in African American studies, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to share my passion with others.
There was only one problem: our practices would be held in the multipurpose room while prayer was conducted in the sanctuary. In addition, the only way to set up for the program or consult the church leadership was to walk through the sanctuary. So that’s what I did.
I walked back and forth through the sanctuary. However, I was so intrigued the first day I walked through a session they called intercessory prayer I became a distraction. I tripped over my feet, stumbled into some chairs, and dropped my keys-twice.
I mean, I was in awe. I had never heard people pray for longer than ten minutes. I had never known people could talk to God as if He was sitting right there with them, and the very fact that they seemed to be finishing one another’s sentences was even more bizarre.
‘Was that scripture? You use scripture to pray?’ I wondered. I had never thought people could dedicate so much time praying for people who would never know they were praying for them.
And that was where my love for prayer was birthed in my heart. I went to an introductory prayer meeting a few months later, and I started to join the fasts the prayer team hosted. Then, once I finished my second year of teaching, I began attending intercessory prayer every day at 12:00PM.
I became an accidental intercessor when I was 22, even if it was only an accident in
my mind because, I have a feeling, it was very intentional on God’s part.
Prayer has seen me through some of the darkest days I’ve ever known, including that transition to Las Vegas. However, it’s also helped me to lead through some of the darkest days we’ve ever experienced as a world.
Prayer has given me a passion for helping others and compassion for those I disagree with. It’s helped me consider how God instructs us to connect with others, and it’s reminded me that even though this world is dark, we are still connected to Jesus. Prayer has been my lifeline, and it’s allowed me to offer one to a dying world as well.
I now know why I wanted to make a change so badly when I stepped into that church and why it felt so different from every other church I had attended to that point. Prayer changes you, it changes those around you, and it changes the world. If you ever need a change, I want to encourage you to try prayer. Really try it.
Let’s begin to set a goal to develop your prayer life. It may feel awkward. You may wonder if you’re doing it right more days than you feel confident that the Lord hears you, and you may question if it’s making a difference. But trust me, it is, whether you can see it or not.
2 Chronicles 7:14 in the New International Version reads, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then
I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
God is faithful, and I am proof. God healed me because of someone else’s choice to pray for me, and He’ll do the same for those you’re praying for, too.
Ready to Grow In Prayer? Here Are My Favorite Tips
- Set an official time. While it’s not necessary, it will help you learn to become consistent.
- Find a verse, devotional, or Bible Study that you can use to pray through once you’ve read and reviewed it.
- Keep a journal, especially if you’re easily distracted. Writing your prayers down will help you remain focused (and wake up if you’ve scheduled an early prayer time).
- Ask a friend or a group of friends to become your accountability partners. You may choose to pray with one another for one day of the week at a specific time or check in with one another via Voxer or a similar app.
- Invite the Lord to speak into your prayer time and spend time sitting quietly in HIs presence.
Prayer does not have to be hard, and neither does growing your prayer life. Jesus made it possible for us to go before the Throne of Grace boldly to find mercy and grace for help in the time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Remember, He’s welcoming You with open arms every time you make up your desire to pray and it will free you to enjoy prayer more often.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll become an accidental intercessor after all…I have a feeling you may be.
Abba, Daddy, I bless You for Your faithfulness. You’re never annoyed with me, even when it’s been a really long time since I last prayed. Help me to remember that grace and mercy make prayer possible, not my work or sense of worth. I have a desire to grow more faithful in prayer, and I believe that You will help me, Holy Spirit. Show me how to pray in spirit and in truth. IN Jesus’ name, amen.