Intercessory prayer is prayer on behalf of others. Most Christians intercede for family members, friends, ministry and mission endeavors. Fewer of us pray consistently for government officials and public policy decisions, although Scripture urges us to do so.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.
-- 1 Tim 2:1
Why Intercessory Prayer?
God is active in the world both through faithful believers serving as instruments and beyond our human efforts. Intercessory prayer is important to both aspects of Godís activity.
We are transformed by Godís Spirit. Prayer energizes us to persevere in working for transformation and opens us to divine guidance and wisdom. It helps us identify our own complicity with injustice and violence and teaches us to be reconcilers and peacemakers.
We ask God to act in history beyond what we alone can do. Prayer invites the work of God. It is both empowering and humbling. We understand that we are not in control of history and cannot make history ďturn out right.Ē Jesus, however, has the power and authority to intercede in historyís course and shape its outcome (Rev 5:1-14). By praying in Christís name to ask God to act, and by prayerfully becoming attuned to participate in what God is doing, we too can be faithful and effective agents of transformation.
Integrate intercessory prayer for government officials and just policies into your regular personal prayers and devotions, in worship services, and small group meetings.
During your prayer, recall a Scripture passage expressing Godís concern for the issue you are praying about. Scripture can help you have faith that your concern is important to God and that God will respond to your prayer.
Link your prayers to specific people and situations.
Pray for Christians and Christian organizations who are directly involved in witnessing to government officials.
Include yourself among those who need to make more just decisions and take more peaceful actions.
Listen for Godís Spirit to nudge you regarding what steps you can take to be an instrument of transformation.
Express thanks to God for the positive things the government is doing and for answers to your prayers.
The Advocacy Handbook is an 11-page handbook created by Mennonite Central Committee to assist Christians in their witness to governing authorities. Though it was written specifically for MCCís constituents -- Mennonites and Brethren in Christ -- the handbook is filled with practical information that will benefit all Christians with a heart for advocacy and justice. To learn more about Mennonite Central Committee, go to www.mcc.org.