Who has prayed for you at key times in your life? Whose intercession has made a significant difference for you? Put another way, to whom would you most likely say, “I’m your answered prayer”?
By the same token, who are you lifting up? Whose life is feeling the specific impact of your petitions right now? In other words, who would be likely to say to you, “I’m your answered prayer”?
Do you realize what a huge difference your intercession can make in a person’s life, both now and in the future? That’s the topic of this letter, and we hope it will encourage you to pursue the life-changing practice of prayer and intercession.
The Women in Our Lives
The quote from James 5:16 is a familiar one: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Some translations, such as the New International and the New Living versions, broaden this quote to “the prayer of a righteous person.” I appreciate this expansion — because for me, most of the “effective, fervent” prayers have come from the women in my life. My dear wife, Cindi, my sister, my mother-in-law, my sisters-in-law, my aunt, my saintly paternal grandmother, and other female friends and colleagues who have lifted me up and continue to do so.
Because of their faithful, consistent intercession for me, my life is more blessed and stable today. Fresh from the observance of Mother’s Day in May, I used a portion of that celebration to convey my thanks to these women for their prayers. (If you overlooked that item, there’s still time to thank the women who you know are praying for you.)
The Prayers of Derek’s Grandmother
The theme of this letter was inspired by a re-reading of Derek Prince’s biography. In prior readings, I had somehow overlooked a quote from page 26, citing how Derek as a little boy was surprised to discover that his grandmother was a praying woman:
One evening he [Derek] walked into his grandmother’s bedroom and found her on her knees, opened Bible before her, praying aloud. The boy thought it strange and asked her about it. She told him that every evening at seven o’clock she read the Bible and then knelt in prayer. It had been her habit for years. Though Derek could not explain it, he immediately had a sense that his grandmother spent much of her time praying for him.
Years later, he was sure it was her prayers that drove a wedge between his soul and the surrounding culture and drew him ever further in his spiritual journey. Even on his deathbed, he would tearfully remember her intercessions.
Did Amy Vaughan — faithful grandmother to Derek Prince from the little village of Cookfield in Sussex, England — have any idea of the scope of her prayers for her little grandson? Could she have ever guessed that her intercession from that remote little village in England would end up touching the nations of the world?
Similarly, are we aware of the same potential for our prayers? Do we realize that our intercession may be laying the groundwork for future spiritual renewal?
Remembering Lois and Eunice
The anecdote about Derek’s grandmother, along with my own thoughts about the prayers of saintly women in my life, brought to mind the affectionate words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his son in the faith. “I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice; and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
This heritage of faith from Timothy’s mother and grandmother is the platform for what Paul says next, confirmed by the first word of verse 6: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” Paul’s use of therefore at the beginning of this verse infers that Timothy’s life and ministry, both then and in the years ahead, was to bear the unmistakable imprint of the intercession of Eunice and Lois.
In a message by Derek Prince, “Discipled by God,” he focuses on God’s process to equip us, using Timothy’s heritage as an example:
The discipling process of Timothy is a pattern with seven stages. It’s not certain that all of us will go through all these stages. But I think in a certain sense these seven stages are the perfect pattern of discipling. First of all, he learned the Scriptures in childhood. There’s no substitute for that. Second Timothy chapter 3 verse 15: “That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Not all of us have that blessing, but really, it is the most tremendous blessing. I did not grow up in what you would call a Christian home, but I went to schools where I had to go to church every day — much against my will most of the time. But one thing happened: I got to know the text of the Bible. I set it aside; I abandoned it; I dismissed it. Ten years later I had a personal encounter with the Lord and was baptized in the Holy Spirit… and it was just as if I had read those verses in the Bible the previous day. They came back instantly. The people who knew me couldn’t understand why I could quote the Bible to them. So I had a part of that blessing.
The Tee-Ball Kid
The day after I became a Christian, a dear friend gave me a word of instruction that has had a profound, lifelong impact upon me. He said, “Dick, pray for the people you come into contact with. You never know. You may be the only one to ever bring that person before the throne of grace.” I regularly try to put that instruction into practice. In fact, I can give you a really fresh example.
Just today, I was in line at the grocery check-out counter, standing behind a mother and her little son who was around five years of age. Mom and son were obviously on their way to his tee-ball game, buying treats for the rest of his team of little munchkins. He was decked out in his baseball uniform, with a numbered jersey two sizes too big, and pants so baggy that they bunched around his shoes. While his mom was paying, he looked back at me, and then simply kept looking. As little kids often do, he stared directly at me without flinching or blinking. Just kept staring — which can be a little annoying.
I had the choice to look away from his gaze, or even be a little grumpy about his unending stare. Instead, I decided to pray silently for the little guy. “Lord, bless this boy. Only You know what plans You have for him. Help him, Lord. Watch over him . Use him for Your purposes.” Soon, they finished up with the cashier and departed. The whole incident took three minutes tops. But who knows what that short prayer may have started?
Will You Intercede?
Are you willing to engage in this kind of prayer? Not only for the ones you know and love, but also for strangers you encounter? Similar to what Derek sensed about his own grandmother’s prayers, I know there were people who prayed for me when I was the little freckle-faced tyke staring at them in the grocery line. Even now, I feel those prayers — eternal, strong, unending — moving me further into my destiny in the Kingdom of God. And how can we ever forget that Jesus is intimately engaged in this entire process, interceding for you and me day and night before the throne of God?
Like the verse says: your effective, fervent prayer (linked with the Lord Jesus) accomplishes much. Recognizing that truth, are you willing to commit yourself more fully to this activity? Let’s do so together right now:
Lord, I know that I am the beneficiary of many prayers and intercessions offered to You on my behalf. In Your name, I bless all those people for their love and concern. I’m so grateful, Jesus, that You Yourself are managing this entire process of intercession in which all our prayers are linked inextricably with Yours. What a marvelous mystery!
Thank You for the power that is released in the lives of people through my prayers. I commit myself more fully now to engage in that amazing privilege of praying for people.
Use what I offer up to You, Lord, to bring forth Your Kingdom and Your glory throughout the earth. I will be careful to give You all the credit for every answered prayer that takes place — both now and in the future. Amen!
Linking with Jesus
With that prayer, you have just linked your heart more directly with the Lord Jesus. Your life may have just changed forever! That’s an exciting prospect, isn’t it?
For our part, our chief desire is to support you in the commitment you have just made. To help fortify your prayer life in a direct way would be our greatest privilege. May we start by offering you the complete teaching of “Discipled by God” from which we drew the excerpt by Derek Prince? Please take us up on our offer to provide this to you for free. It is solid, basic instruction that will move you forward in your walk of faith.
How are we able to supply Derek Prince’s material to those who request it? It’s because of you! Your encouragement, your prayers for us, and your financial contributions have enabled us to make Derek’s biblical teachings available at little or no cost to those who are hungry for the Word of God. Because of your heart to give, so many people are able to receive these tools for Christian growth.
Your amazing generosity makes this possible — and we simply can’t thank you enough.
Someone’s Destiny Is Waiting
Now the time has come for us to move forward in intercession, just as we promised in the prayer we offered.
Somewhere out there is a little boy or girl about the age of Derek when he discovered his grandmother praying. Those kids are ready to take a step into their destiny. Our prayers can make the difference for them. Somewhere, there is a man or a woman about to decide on a future of service to the King or bondage to the enemy of our souls. Our prayers can make a difference for them. All around us are nations on the brink of a magnificent destiny in God or a total collapse under the influence of the god of this world. Our prayers can make all the difference.
You have a pivotal role to play. What will be the result? Some day — either here or in heaven — some person looking very much like a grown-up version of that tee-ball kid may walk up to you and say, “Guess what? I’m here because of you. I’m your answered prayer!”
All the best,
P.S. Thanks again for being a part of the DPM family. Please let us know any way we may be of further service to you, and also make sure to take us up on our free offer, “Disciplined by God.” Just click here to download Derek’s message. We know it will inspire you!
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.