Intercessory prayer is not the same as prayers for yourself,
or for 'enlightenment', or for spiritual gifts, or for guidance, or any personal matter, or any glittering generality. Intercession
is not just praying for someone else's needs. It is praying with the real hope and real intent that God would step in and
act for the good of some specific other person(s) or other entity. It is trusting that God will act, even if it's not in the
manner or timing we seek. God wants us to ask, even urgently. It is casting our weakness before God's strength, and (at its
best) having a bit of God's passion burn in us.
The intercessory prayer that first comes to you about
someone may not be what God wants you to pray for. For instance, you might be praying to lift a burden, but the Lord might
be using the burden to prepare them to do something for God. Then again, your prayer might be what God wants to happen. Thus,
we are to pray listening for the Spirit, and pray that God's will be done. I find myself concentrating better when I mutter
the words; it gives my mind more focus. The mind may go off to explore something during personal devotions, but not while
you're interceding for others -- those others must be your first concern. So, it's sometimes best to do it before you seek
stillness (though God will sometimes lead you out of stillness into intercession -- be open to it).
The place where intercession must start is with you.
It's great to know that others may be stepping up for someone before God, but God wants you to put something of yourself on
the line. Otherwise, it's too cheap to be real. Your private devotions are not just for your own benefit. If God's love is
at work in you, you will care about others, and your love for them will lead you to take it to the ultimate Source of strength,
healing, and love. Don't be fearful; be persistent and stubborn. God doesn't mind; God likes to see divine love at work in
you. God honors your part in the relationship