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Years ago I heard this true story and go back to it many times because it shows that God has a sense of humor even in the worst times. Remember He is not caught off guard by any situation we get into.
The pastor at Almighty God Assemblies of God Church was working late on Sunday night at the office and decided to call home to tell is wife he was on his way soon. But the phone rang repeatedly with no answer. Thinking she must be in the shower he just closed the office and left. When he got home his wife said she’d heard no ring from him and they forgot about it.
Monday morning at the crack of dawn there was a man on the steps of the church with this story to tell. He had been in his apartment with a gun on his lap planning suicide Sunday night.
As a final ditch attempt he said, “God, if you are really there, let me know and I won’t go through with this.”
Then the phone rang. He looked at the Caller ID – It said Almighty God.
Frozen with fear the man stayed awake all night. Then he checked on the church address and ended up at the pastor’s office to hear a word of hope.
There are several things about this story that stand out. First, God is able to mess up phone lines when He needs to. We don’t consider how God can get around man’s opinions, his technology, his people, his church, his nations, even the bad ones. The Bible repeatedly says, He is Able. We allow our doctrines to hamper what He can do or will do.
Second, the man had to respond. He could have looked at the Caller ID and thought, well, a phone call doesn’t count. Sometimes our negativity is so thick we are unable to respond when we have the chance. It clouds our mind. This man realized something otherworldly had happened.
Third, and this is perhaps the most important lesson, I cannot prove it but somewhere, someone had prayed for this man. Perhaps a family member, a coworker, even a person on a bus might have seen this man and thought, “He looks depressed and hopeless. He needs God.”
So, add a person you don’t know to your prayer list – the cashier at the Food Lion, the person in the next cubicle that you do not know, or the guy who is panhandling with a sign, “Will work for food.” It doesn’t matter that he probably needs drugs too. Your job as a believer is prayer. That is a Christmas present you can give anyone.
With prayer you can be ‘Almighty God’ in your town too.
You didn’t know there was a difference? Well neither did I. But in a single sentence, prayer is what you do and intercession is what Yahweh tells you to pray.
Prayer is automatic
Prayer is natural, that is, when you are in a tight spot, you pray automatically. You don’t really need to think about it.
One reporter said when people are in a car accident, the first thing they say is “Oh God no.” Vladimir Putin, affirmed atheist and Communist boss said when he entered the Oval Office during George W. Bush’s Presidency, “Oh my God.” I thought Putin didn’t have a god! We can’t stop that kind of prayer.
Intercession is deliberate
In contrast, intercession is what Yahweh wants done. This past week I could not get to sleep thinking about a friend. The Bible calls this a “burden.” It is something on your mind and you don’t have a clue what it is all about. I asked someone, do you ever think Yahweh is sitting on your chest? That is the way I felt.
Burdens are spiritual pressure
I knew nothing about this person that might be wrong. I called the next day, and nothing seemed wrong, but then again, nothing seemed right either.
The scripture says this:”If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does and seeks to provide us a prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” Romans 8:27
An old friend of mine, Jackie, was driving along one day and she began to cry. She pulled over to the side of the road because she could not see through her tears, and started praying for a mutual friend named David. That went on for about a half hour. Then she dried her tears and drove off.
Later she learned David was standing on the roof of a building ready to commit suicide that afternoon. David told her later that as he stood on the edge of the roof he felt a giant hand hold him back and he stepped down. That is intercession.
The Holy Spirit Groans
The same word, groan, appears once more in the New Testament. John 11:33 “When Yahshua therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” This verse appears right before Yahshua raised Lazarus from the dead. The Greek word can also be translated as “sigh” which is what you would do if Yahweh sat on your chest.
The notion of a spiritual burden also appears in 2 Corinthians 5:4, referring to our physical bodies and wanting to be released to heaven. These earthly bodies make us groan and sigh,. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will, as it were, be swallowed up by everlasting life.
The Greek word for groan is bareo, meaning pressure. You feel pressured to pray for someone which is intercession. We can rejoice that Yahweh has given us this blessing to pray for others, when we have no notion they need it.
Many of these posts are responses to questions, so I invite them here. Immaculateassumptions@gmail.com.
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If you want to be a Change Agent, let me recommend this group which seeks to turn around fatherless boys. https://cfdreamcenter.org/about