By Kaelanne Jordan
Understanding Intercession was the title of Dr Peter Timothy’s presentation, Monday, September 6, part one of a two-part series on intercessory prayer. Session 2: ‘Scripture and Intercession’ will be presented Monday, September 13.
Putting the series into context, Dr Timothy Episcopal Delegate for Evangelization explained that the first two sessions are part of an eight-part intercessory seminar developed by Fr John Theodore CSSp and himself.
Intercession, Dr Timothy explained, is a prayer of petition that a person, group, family or individual prays to God on behalf of another. The focus of intercession, he emphasised, is the “key term”—“other-oriented”.
“During intercession, the person or persons pray for others, usually because of their love and concern for them. The person or persons praying are convinced that mere human effort is incapable of fulfilling the obvious needs. Thus, in faith, those who are praying turn to the Almighty Father.”
According to Dr Timothy, there are “very strong” biblical roots highlighting intercession as a principal part of the life of God’s people. He shared a few examples, first citing 2 Kings 19:10-19, the passage where God delivers Jerusalem from Assyria, as the whole “focus of intercession”.
“In modern-day speech, I will venture to say that Hezekiah takes the letter, and he goes to the temple and he puts it before God and he says to God, ‘God this is higher than my pay grade. I can’t handle this. I need you. And it is only You who can save us’.”
He further referenced Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18: 18-32), Elijah’s for the Israelites (1 Kings 18:36-45), Judith’s for the nation’s safety (Jud 9:7-15), Moses’ during the battle with the Amalekites (Ex 17:8-16).
In giving a “closer look” at Exodus 17:8-16, Dr Timothy asserted that this particular passage is “a classic example” of intercession in the Old Testament that “gives so many beautiful, wonderful stories and points about intercession”.
He outlined the following points/lessons from the text:
1. Joshua and troops were on the frontline engaging the enemy.
2. What is happening in the valley is not dependent on the skill of Joshua and troops.
3. The battle is affected by a man out of sight on the hill.
4. It is not about a quick fix, perseverance is needed.
5. When Moses’ arms fell, the enemy advanced.
6. Moses could not do it alone. He was helped by Aaron and Hur.
Dr Timothy shared some key principles to remember:
· God is sovereign—Judith 8:11-17
· We cannot bribe God—Judges 11:29-35
· God wants it more—Matthew 7:11/Jeremiah 29: 11-14
· Our God is the Creator—Genesis 18:14
· Never become complacent and think our prayer do not matter—Ezekiel 22:30-31
· Some situations call for more sustained efforts and prayer—Mark: 9:28-29/ Daniel 10:12-14
· Pray with confidence—James 1:5-8
At the end of his presentation, Moderator and Head of Pastoral Planning and Development, Gary Tagallie posed the question: Is intercessory prayer for everyone or “special kinds of people?”
Intercession is for everyone, Dr Timothy responded. He added that while all can pray, some experience a “tug” in their heart to the vocation of the Ministry of Intercession.
“…That’s the main thing that they do. That’s their main contribution they are giving to the Church.”
Tagallie, in a follow-up question then asked if one has to undergo a special kind of training as an intercessory minister.
To this end, Dr Timothy outlined that intercession is a prayer ministry that requires training. “…Just as we are called to evangelise, there is the School of Evangelization…”
He, however, clarified “ say you are training to be an electrician …as you know it’s only a qualified electrician that certify a house that is wired and that sort of thing….”
He shared that in the 1990s, he, along with Fr Theodore, Mary Baptiste and the Zion RC Community began a ministry in the Archdiocese called the Association of Catholic Intercessors. “It was to encourage people to become intercessors but also a major part of that ministry was sharing and teaching people about intercession. And it is coming out of that experience that Fr John and myself devised this particular seminar.”
Fr Timothy mentioned that the Zion RC Community under their teaching arm, the Gethsemane Institute, offers a seven-week course on intercession. These seminars, he said, can assist in understanding more about intercession and growing in the Ministry of Intercession. Usually, the sessions are available on request “but if anyone is interested, they can always contact the Evangelization Commission and request it….” Evangelization Commission can be contacted at 671-0133, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or they can be found on Facebook: Evangelization Commission.