Intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbour on our knees. -Charles Bent
I like to look at home education as a people movement. It started out with just a few people, and no one seemed threatened. It didn’t take long, however, before this little grass roots movement became an enormous group of people connected to each other for the same cause through a web of curriculum, lifestyle changes, new or revised laws, and No. 2 pencils. People took notice, and some were threatened. So support groups and conventions began springing up around the country linking people together in their goals, values and aspirations. Support included topical discussions on every subject from home educating multiple children to courtship to whether or not it’s okay to nurse a baby in public (it is—with propriety).
Unfortunately, however, I didn’t see much on prayer. More unfortunate is that I didn’t realize how much prayer was missing from these support networks, and from our own home environment. And I’m sure I haven’t noticed anything new nor am I proposing anything new; my goal here is simply awareness and a call to spur one another along in these good things.
Interceding for others isn’t a new concept. It traces back to Abraham who interceded for Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah, Moses who interceded for the captives in Egypt and all of the prophets who interceded for their people and cultures. As a matter of fact, part of the role of the prophets was to speak with God for the people of Israel. Most notable is when Isaiah prayed with King Hezekiah to save the nation from Assyria and the armies were suddenly turned back (Isaiah 36-39). No one can argue that God heard their prayers, their cries for help, and moved His hand for His own glory.
We also have examples from the New Testament beginning with Jesus who prayed protection for his followers and sought forgiveness for his captors. Jesus’ entire life was an example of One who intercedes for us for blessings, protection and forgiveness. Indeed, His whole life was an intercession, spanning the deep chasm caused by our rebellion. Paul prayed for the churches in Ephesus and Colossae and their people. He asked others to pray for them, and his devotion to prayer and intercession are timeless examples we still use today.
Intercession includes many things. We pray for safe travel, that others might come to know Christ, healing and health, childbirth or conception, wisdom, spiritual growth, marriages, blessings for others, etc. We pray for God’s mercy and grace, His discernment and for forgiveness. We intercede because we know that God is intimately involved with what is going on in our lives and we are called by Him to share in that involvement.
As a support group I feel we are called to a higher level of intercession. While it is important to pray individually, list in hand, during our private devotional time, it is equally important to pray as a group.
A friend recently pointed out the power of group prayer in The Acts of the Apostles. Chapter two depicts a compelling event we call, “Pentecost.” This event describes a culmination of all Jesus had done and said to be translated into action in the lives of the people. During this gathering, the Holy Spirit supernaturally entered into each person breaking them free from their bondage of religion and giving them a new, fresh calling. It was an incredible paradigm shift from a false trust in structures and laws to the Truth; the Holy Spirit now living in them. Similarly, when we gather together in prayer the Holy Spirit powerfully works in each of us both individually and as a group. He imparts a new, fresh calling; an insight into His work and vision to see things through the Word. We, together and individually, have become the temple of the living God (1 Cor. 3:16), to be used by Him for His own glory.
Interceding for our brothers and sisters in Christ through group prayer is utterly powerful. We lay a fortress that the devil cannot rupture or divide. We set up an invitation for a strong army of heavenly beings, a rising of the Holy Spirit and a manifestation of God’s promises and miracles. And when we engage in regular meetings of group-oriented prayer, we are accountable, encouraging and hopeful. We get to know one another deeply and intimately through prayer. We love deeper and cast aside our petty judgments. And we spur one another along in these callings, these hard places and these uncertain paths. What proceeds from these prayer groups is hardly imaginable, but always and unequivocally Kingdom work. Hence, it should be what tops our list of home education support. Because without prayer there is no real support. It simply vanishes when we least expect it and cannot be found when we need it most.
All across the country home educators are beginning a new season. If you are a part of this people movement, I challenge you to partner with others who can be a support system for you in prayer, encouragement and accountability. I also challenge you to remain tenacious and diligent not allowing the adversary to gain a foothold on this good work you are doing. Practice intercession for the sake and longevity of home education. It will not return void.
Tomorrow I will post a creative plan for organizing an intercessory prayer group; a model which can be replicated anywhere.