Intercessory Prayer Saved My Life
One cool Virginia morning when my daughter Kelly was about 12, I was driving her to a dentist appointment in an unfamiliar part of town. The road we were on was a divided highway with two lanes going in either direction lined by cement curbs. I wasn’t speeding, but I was looking at the buildings to find a street number so I could determine if we were getting close to our turn. These were the days before GPS.
In an instant as I turned my gaze back to the road, I saw a disabled vehicle stopped dead right in front of us. Without looking to see if the lane was clear, I instinctively swerved into the left lane to avoid hitting the parked car and then swerved back into the right lane after we had passed it. “I’m okay!” Kelly said. That’s what she says anytime she thinks we’ve taken too big a risk while driving, and it’s funny most of the time, but it wasn’t funny that day.
“Thank God no one was in that lane!” I thought, and “Thank God I looked back to the road when I did or we would probably have been killed.” I was shaking, knowing in my spirit that we had been divinely protected. We got to the dentist’s office only to find out that the disabled car had been left there by one of the hygienist in that very office. It was all I could do to keep from telling her that her car had nearly caused a fatal accident. In reality, I was the one who didn’t have my eyes on the road!
After dropping off Kelly at school, I headed into work at the church office. One of our volunteers, Lindy Bruggink, said, “Are you okay? Earlier today, I had an overwhelming and urgent sense to pray for you and Kelly so I stopped what I was doing to intercede.” I burst into tears because I knew that her obedience to pray for us probably spared our lives, but definitely protected us from having a serious accident. I told her the whole story and she was grateful that she had not delayed but prayed immediately, and she was humbled that God has used her to bring heaven’s power to earth on our behalf.
Over the years, I have been protected and helped many times like this by people interceding for me and my family. Sometimes I know who those people are and when and what they’ve prayed, but most times, I don’t and won’t until I get to heaven!
I have also had the privilege of interceding for others. On one occasion, the home of a family from our home group had been destroyed by a tornado that ripped through our town. Right after it happened, the husband David called me to see if I could intercept his wife and two kids who were on their way home from visiting a friend. He had to stay at the house as emergency vehicles, the police and news crews were arriving at his home. He did not want his family to have to see their home in ruins without being prepared.
Again, in the days before cell phones, there was no way to intercept someone in a car when you didn’t know which route they would be taking to get home, except through divine interception which is intercession! I headed out in my car, praying in the Spirit, to find them on the roads of the busy northern Virginia streets. As I sat at a stoplight, I bowed my head and continued to cry out to God. As I finished my prayer and looked up to see if the light had turned green, I glanced to my left and, to my utter amazement, my friend and her kids were sitting right beside me at the stop light! I could not believe my eyes!
I jumped out of the car and told Stephanie to follow me to my house. I relayed that David was okay, but that there was some bad news I needed to share. I’m a big practical joker so at first she thought I was kidding. Then, the reality of the situation sunk in. She followed me to my house and we were able to allow her to take in the news while she wasn’t driving and while surrounded by trusted friends who could pray with them for the changed future that lay ahead.
Again, I was grateful for God’s power, released through intercession, to change the outcome of a situation.
The greatest example we have of an intercessor is Jesus Christ himself. In Rees Howells, Intercessor, author Norman Grubb writes:
“As the Divine Intercessor, interceding for a lost world, Jesus drained the cup of our lost condition to its last drop, tasting death for every person. To do that, in the fullest possible sense, He sat where we sit.” Jesus identifies with us fully because He became a man and experienced all of the challenges of the human condition - love, loss, suffering, betrayal, joy, sadness - you name it.
In intercession, it is not only our identification with the person for whom we pray that matters, as in sympathizing or empathizing with a fellow human being. But, it is that we identify with the Godhead’s mysterious but perfect plan for that person.
When God gives us discernment about another person it is not for the purpose of judging or criticizing or even counseling that person, but that we may intercede. Oh, that we would intercede first, and speak later! When we pray, we are not imposing our own ideas onto someone’s situation through the power outlet of God, hoping He will do our bidding. Rather we are identifying with God’s unconditional love for that person, allowing God’s power to break in through the Holy Spirit which resides in us.
The Holy Spirit is also an intercessor and, through this person of the Holy Trinity, we see the struggle of intercession. Romans 8:26 states: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Howell, referring to the Holy Spirit writes, “This One, the only present Intercessor on earth, has no hearts upon which He can lay His burdens, and no bodies through which He can suffer and work, except the hearts and bodies of those who are His dwelling place. Through them He does His intercessory work on earth, and they become intercessors by reason of the Intercessor within them.”
As intercessors, we are listening to God and praying the prayers for another that God puts into our hearts, minds and spirits supernaturally. At New Wineskins, we have benefitted for decades from the faithful intercessory prayers of so many obedient saints. As we pray through our prayer calendar for missionaries, mission societies and ministries, we are interceding for hundreds of brothers and sisters who need God to bring Heaven’s power to earth to protect them, to break strongholds, and to destroy the schemes of the Enemy of our souls. We thank you for your intercession on our behalf and we know that our co-laborers do, too.
Jenny Noyes is the Executive Director of New Wineskins Missionary Network. She is a passionate speaker, writer, and evangelist. When she's not working, Jenny can be found playing tennis with her husband Larry, spending time with her children, and enjoying the great outdoors. You can contact Jenny here.