Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Most people I know would not decline an offer to be prayed for. Even if they’re not convinced of the power of prayer, at the very least, they figure that much like chicken soup, it can’t hurt!Intercessory Prayer

But have you ever wondered about the benefits for the one doing the praying?

That’s a question I recently came to consider…and at least two results surprised me.

My prayer list includes a variety of requests from other people. And I’ve organized them according to need, including salvation, health, relationships, comfort, and ministry. A few years ago I heard a speaker challenge his listeners to thank God for answers for at least as long as the request had been prayed for, so I added a “Thank You” category, too.

As I considered my prayer time, the first surprise was the degree of hope generated by the “thank you” list. With each specific expression of gratitude, my spirit is encouraged as I rehearse God’s mercy in granting healing, restoration, or provision.

But the second surprise was especially unexpected.

Many of the requests echoed my own needs…some I had verbalized, but some I had not even thought to articulate until I prayed them for someone else. Of course, there are requests for salvation for loved ones and physical healing. But then there are others:

  • Removal of a critical spirit
  • Consuming desire for intimacy with the Lord
  • Every motive to be rooted in love
  • Christ to be the center and followed unselfishly
  • A heart to shepherd the ladies in my ministry
  • Stewardship of my time
  • Use of gifts to glorify God
  • God’s timing, leading, and use in ministry

Oh, how moved I’ve been as I’ve prayed these requests for others. How often I added my own name to each request. How convicted I am as I ask why I didn’t think to express these requests for myself. And how grateful I am that I can pray them now.

Yes, intercessory prayer helps the person I’m praying for. But praying for others also helps me.

What has been your experience with intercessory prayer?

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