Prayer and intercession is a curious topic that many struggle with. This is particularly true as we pray for those who are dying–and whose deaths seem timely or inevitable. How do we pray? What should prayer look like? How do we know when our prayers are effective–especially since God can answer prayer with a “no” ? In Crossing the Threshold of Eternity, I used the metaphor of a magnifying glass to describe why some prayers are more effective than others. Adjusting the magnifying glass to a correct distance from a piece of paper has everything to do with whether a fire will start or not. I’ve learned that it’s possible for my praying to be “out of focus” and not helpful. At other times when I seem to be right on target, the results speak for themselves.
Genesis 1.28 tells us about the principle of dominion over creation which corresponds to our need for prayer and intercession. The passage says that God has given humanity dominion in the world–responsibility. We have control over the land as well as accountability for production. We are created to have authority in this world and our Creator waits for us to extend dominion over the world around us through our actions, intentions and prayers. Interceding is a part of this responsibility. By praying for those on their deathbeds, we are extending petitions directly to God for His creation. I believe that our prayers can offer the support and encouragement the dying need for crossing to the other side.
A magnifying glass must be held at the right angle and distance to focus the rays of the sun on grass with such intensity that a fire results. The vitality of the sun has been there all the time but it required a human hand to create the proper concentration. Have you ever considered that you might not have explored how prayer needs to be under the “right conditions” to be as effective as possible? God’s love is no different than the magnifying glass. it’s around us constantly, but our prayrs become like a lens that focuses the power on a specific human need and alert us to the direction of God’s love and grace. Give some thought to the idea that we not simply ‘shouting at God’ but attempting to come into harmony with his purposes.