"Lord, bless Mommy and Daddy."
"God, help Grandpa get better soon."
"Dear Jesus, Charley hurt his paw. Please help him feel better."
Many of us have heard (and even prayed) prayers like these as children. But how do we move beyond them into true intercession?
That question is something Jon Graf, author, intercessor and president of the Church Prayer Leaders Network, set out to answer for church leaders and members. He says most young believers do, in fact, pray like children. "They focus almost entirely on personal needs," he says.
But there is a way forward.
"When a parent's teaching a child about prayer ... the parent helps them see, 'Well, maybe you should pray for your friend Billy's salvation,'" and so they kind of help them learn," Graf says. "And really what happens is we start with that petition, praying for our own needs. But we need to move into intercessory prayer from there. And intercessory prayer is kind of being a go-between, between somebody else's needs and the Father in heaven. And so we start to learn to pray for other people and other situations."
But in many churches, Graf says, people keep their prayers focused on personal needs. Though these needs are important and worth bringing to the Father, Graf has a passion to bring the kingdom into people's prayers.
"We need to try to help people to see beyond that, to see more kingdom things, to praying for lost people, praying for the world, praying for nations, praying for America, praying for their city, those kinds of things," Graf says. "And that's all a part of moving them beyond just praying for their own needs."
What would it take to change the world and impact the kingdom through your prayers and those of your church? Listen to the entire episode of the Greenelines podcast for more information, and subscribe to both Greenelines and Graf's own podcast, Pray Beyond, on the Charisma Podcast Network. For still more information on intercessory prayer toward racial healing, read the most recent book from Graf and PrayerShop Publishing, Make Us One.
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