This article is adapted from Healing the Nations: A Global Call to Intercession by John Sandford. To learn more about this book, click here.
Are you concerned about your nation today?
Is your heart grieved? Do you long to see change?
Many of us don’t understand how free will works in the context of our nation and intercessory prayer. The Lord gave us the earth and our life—He put them in our care, and we get to decide what to do with them.
Though He does move sovereignly at times, the Lord protects our ability to choose. He is careful not to step beyond where we have invited Him, because He doesn’t want to trample on our free will. Consequently, He often chooses to restrain Himself—though He longs to help us.
God’s Heart Is to Help
Imagine you are visiting your son and daughter-in-law, and through the bedroom door, you happen to overhear them intensely arguing. You love both of these grown-up children, and everything inside you wants to help them.
But it’s their house—their marriage. Do you have the right to step in and just tell them what to do? Many of us with adult children have discovered this doesn’t work!
But what if your son knocked on the door and asked you to help them? Wouldn’t that change everything?
“Hey, Mom and Dad. Alice and I are having trouble talking about this certain issue, and we know you guys are really great with this issue. Could you come help us work this out?”
Suddenly, you have an open door to step into their marriage and give them wisdom, help them, comfort them, and lead them into life. Why? Because they invited you in.
That is how free will and intercessory prayer work with the Lord. He is far more of a parent than we are. His heart is larger, His love is greater, and His consideration for us is deeper and more beautiful. He wants to help—all the time. He desires to come to us and assist us wherever we need it.
But it is our house. It is our earth—our city, our family, our kingdom. We are the ones who oversee these things, and He does not wish to injure our free will.
Every time we go to Him in prayer and invite Him in, we give Him a grand gift. He has permission to step in and do for us what He knows we need.
Called to Intercession
Whether we feel like anointed “pray-ers” or not, all of us are called to intercession. One way we know this is because of Hebrews 7:25:
Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (NASB)
Jesus lives to make intercession for us before the Father. The One who lives in us is always interceding, which means that if we allow Him to just be Himself, we will always be interceding as well. Prayer will come bubbling out of us, because He is praying.
The goal of Elijah House is to unite a believer’s whole heart with Jesus. Our breath is intercessory prayer, because intercessory prayer is the work of the One who lives inside us.
Prayer That Begins With God
Certain kinds of prayer often start with human beings.
“Oh God! We need help!”
“Our nation is facing a terrible situation! This whole thing is awful. Please get us out of this.”
“God, this governor is a tyrant. Could You give us a new governor before this one hurts more people?”
“It’s not fair that we’re facing all of these hardships. God, would You do something about this?”
Those types of prayers often begin with us. Hopefully they begin in our spirit, where we are sensitive to the Lord, but sometimes they can begin in our fleshly desires. We see the unjust, painful things happening around us, and we react in a fearful or possibly bitter way.
Intercession, however, is unique in that it is prayer that actually begins with God.
He is the Shepherd wanting to save His sheep from the threat against them. “Invite Me into your home. Invite Me to protect your children from night terrors. Invite Me to stand between you and the enemy. I want to protect you from all these things.”
He is the Father wanting to defend His children. “I heard what that person said about you. I know what they’re doing. I will take care of this if you trust Me and ask Me to help.”
He is the Creator moving miraculously to give us what we need, when we need it. “You and your wife are going to see miracles. I am with you, and I am going to do this for you.”
He is the Prophet who sees what is coming and looks for someone to stand in the gap. “I do not want this bad thing to happen to your nation. Pray as I tell you to pray.”
You and I have the care of our nation. In our free will, we can try—and fail miserably—to do everything on our own, or we can open the door to the Lord.
Let’s invite Him to do whatever He wants to do—in our life, our home, our city, our nation. We can use our free will however we please, and let’s use it to ask for His help.
Want to read more? Check out Healing the Nations: A Global Call to Intercession by John Sandford. Click here.