Session 3: "Qualities
of an Intercessor: The Heart That Prays"
A. The saga of redemption reveals Godís quest for the
1. Jesus first showed us the heart of God.
a. It is a heart that seeks and saves us. (Lk.
b. It is a heart that woos and wins us. (1 Jn.
4:19; Rom. 5:7-8)
c. It is a heart that fills and floods us. (1 Jn.
3:1; Jn. 1:16; Jn. 7:38-39)
2. Jesus ministry aimed at reclaiming the hearts of
a. He exposes our hearts.
(1) He found hard hearts in his own disciples.
(2) He found rigid hearts in the Scribes and
Pharisees. (Lk. 11:42)
(3) He found burdened hearts in the crowds who
came to Him. (Mt. 9:36)
b. He enlightens our hearts.
(1) He turns our minds from darkness to
light in conversion. (2 Cor. 4:4; Acts 26:18)
(2) He floods our hearts with light in
Christian development. (Eph. 1:18)
c. He restores our hearts.
(1) He circumcises our hearts. (Dt. 30:6; Philip.
(2) He cleanses and renews our hearts. (Ezek.
36:25-27; Eph. 5:25,26)
(3) He writes His laws upon our hearts. (Jer.
31:31-34; Rom. 10:5-10)
3. A heart reclaimed by Jesus is a heart revitalized.
a. It is a heart that worships. (Jn. 4:24)
b. It is a heart that prays. (Jer. 29:13; Heb.
B. This teaching focuses on four characterisitics of a
heart that prays.
1. It is an abiding heart.
2. It is a humble heart.
3. It is a thankful heart.
4. It is a zealous heart.
Body of Teaching
I. The heart that prays is an
A. Abiding in Christ is all
about connecting with Godís plan.
1. Our connection with Christ is the source of our
a. Apart from Him we are impotent. (Jn. 15:5b)
b. Apart from Him we wither and die. (Jn. 15:6)
2. Our connection with Christ is the key to our
a. We ARE the branches joined with the Vine. (Jn.
b. We ARE the Body of Christ joined to the Head.
(Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 12:12- 13)
3. Our connection with Christ is the means to
a. We draw upon His Spirit to produce the fruit
of His nature. (Gal. 5:22)
b. We depend upon His Spirit for the fruit of
effective ministry. (Col. 1:29)
4. Our connection with Christ is the invitation to
a. We are no longer servants limited to our
indentured niche. (Jn. 15:15a)
b. We are friends who have ownership in the work
of the kingdom. (Jn. 15:15b)
B. Abiding in Christ enables effective prayer.
1. To abide in Christ is to connect with God.
a. It is a vital connection demonstrated through a
life of love: "As the Father has loved me, so have I
loved you. Now remain in my love." (Jn. 15:9)
b. It is a vital connection demonstrated through a
life of obedience: "If you obey my commands, you
will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fatherís
commands and remain in his love." (Jn. 15:10)
c. A LIFE OF LOVE AND OBEDIENCE MAKES US
TRUSTWORTHY TO GOD.
2. The life of abiding enables the prayer of abiding.
a. Godís order: Calling . . . Fruitfulness . . .
Answered prayer: "You did not choose me, but I chose
you and appointed you to go and bear fruit -- fruit that
will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in
my name." (Jn. 15:16)
b. Abiding in Christ guarantees answered
prayer: "If you remain in me and my words remain in
you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you."
C. Rees Howells learns the power of the prayer of
-- Norman Grubb, Rees Howells: Interesssor (Fort
Washington, Pennsylvania: Christian Literature Crusade, 1952),
1. He was given a challenge to pray for the
conversion of some drunken women.
2. He was given a prayer assignment by God to pray
the ringleader of these women into the kingdom by Christmas
3. He was given the condition of praying only and not
using personal influence to reach her.
4. He was given a method of prayer by which to reach
her, and it was to be through the prayer of abiding.
5. He was given a process to submit to in which he
would go through the cyle of conviction, repentance, and
consistent obedience as God put his finger on areas in his
life that needed purging.
6. He was given assurances six weeks into the process
that his abiding was complete, the Enemy was defeated, and the
woman would now make a move.
7. He was given victory as the woman began coming to
the meetings that night and, six weeks later, gave her heart
to the Lord on Christmas Day.
D. A personal experience in the power of the prayer of
1. I experienced an infilling of the Holy Spirit at a
2. I noticed an abiding presence of the Spirit when I
3. My mother entered the room asking me to pray for
her "splitting headache."
4. The Spirit nudged me to lay hands and pray
silently for her without speaking aloud and interrupting the
quietude in abiding.
5. The headache instantly disappeared upon completing
II. The heart that prays is a humble
A. Prayer itself is an exercise
1. God specifies humility as a condition for answered
a. "If my people, who are called by my
name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and
turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
(2 Chron. 7:14)
b. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under Godís
mighty hand,that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all
your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1
2. The Lordís Prayer models prayer as humility and
a. We enter through worship and not with a focus on
b. We petition for Godís kingdom and will rather
than our own.
c. We ask for our daily bread instead of assuming
we are self-made people.
d. We forgive our debtors in prayer rather
asserting our "rights" against them.
e. We plead for deliverance from temptation instead
of being self-gratifying.
f. We close with a doxology of praise that focuses
on God instead of self.
B. The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican makes
humility the passport to grace. (Lk. 18:10-14)
1. One was confident of his righteousness and one of
2. One stook up and one stood off.
3. One looked in and one looked down.
4. One beat his drum and the other beat his breast.
5. One compared himself with others and one with God.
6. One exalted himself and one humbled himself.
7. One went home self-satisfied and one went home
C. Christian prayer blends humility with confidence.
1. Humility in prayer recognizes and submits to the
grace of God.
a. Grace is the gift of God. (Eph. 2:8-9)
b. Humility is the passport to grace. (Jam. 4:6)
2. Confidence in prayer receives and appropriates the
grace of God.
a. Confidence characterizes our approach in prayer.
b. Confidence characterizes our petition in prayer.
D. YWAM missionaries learn the power of humility in
prayer for evangelistic effectiveness.
-- Charisma, 600 Rhinehart Road, Lake Mary Florida,
32746. Copyright April 1990, Strange Communications Company, pp.
1. John Dawson and a YWAM delegation target Cordoba,
Argentina in 1978 to evangelize at the world soccer finals.
2. Dawson and company encountered indifference from
the sports enthusiasts.
3. The YWAM missionaries withdrew for a day to pray
4. The Lord revealed a demonic principality of pride
over Cordoba that needed to be countered by Christian
5. The group advanced on the central shopping mall,
scattered, knelt with their faces to the cobblestones, and
prayed for a revelation of Jesus to the city.
6. The stronghold was broken, people gathered to
hear, the indifference was ousted, and repentance and tears
flowed as many came to Christ.
III. The heart that prays is a
A. Thanksgiving is the climax
and seal of prayer.
1. We come to God as a child coming to his father.
2. We base the petitions of our prayers upon the
promises of God.
3. We expects answers to our prayers and thank God
4. NOTE: Thanksgiving in prayer becomes the channel
B. Thanksgiving is associated with watchful prayer.
1. Paulís exhortation to the Colossians
a. The word "devote" is from a Greek root
meaning "to be strong."
b. To be watchful and thankful in prayer
strengthens oneís prayer life.
2. There is a vital connection between watchfulness
a. We observe this in the analogy of a child on a
(1) Watchful: His senses are tuned to the sights
and sounds around him.
(2) Thankful: He is happy to be along for the
b. We observe this in the analogy of a soldier on a
(1) Watchful: His senses are tuned to the enemyís
presence and tactics.
(2) Thankful: He is appreciative of the military
intelligence that safeguards him.
3. Watchfulness and thanksgiving in prayer assure
victory in prayer.
a. Watchfulness in prayer results in evangelistic
(1) Believers perceive the enemyís tactics
against the spread of the gospel.
(2) Believers pray effectively for an open door
for the gospel.
b. Thankfulness in prayer anticipates breakthrough
(1) God WILL open a door for the message.
(2) The gospel WILL be clearly proclaimed.
C. Thanksgiving is associated with petitionary prayer.
1. Petionary prayers are prayers of
a. We are not making requests of God
but giving our requests to God.
b. We are not telling our problems to
Him but casting our cares upon Him.
2. Prayers of relinquishment result in thanksgiving.
a. They allay anxiety by focusing from our
problems onto the Lord.
b. They release anxiety so that Godís peace
guards the heart and mind.
3. The basis for relinquishment and peace is
"Christ Jesus" -- the focus of our
thanksgiving. (See verse 7b.)
a. In Scripture, this is demonstrated logically.
(1) Every good and perfect gift comes from God.
(2) Our sins have separated us from God. (Isa.
(3) Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God. (Rom.
(4) Through Jesusí grace, we receive every good
gift. (Jn. 1:16)
(5) Therefore, Jesus is the focus of our
thanksgiving. (1 Thess. 5:15)
b. In Scripture, this is demonstrated sacramentally.
(1) In the NIV, the gospels use "thanks"
and "thanksgiving" sixteen times.
(a) Six are of Jesus giving thanks over the bread
and wine of communion.
(b) Eight are of Jesus blessing the loaves and
fishes to feed the hungry crowds.
(c) One is of Jesus breaking bread with the two
disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
(d) One is of Anna giving thanks for Jesus in
acknowledging his messiahship.
(2) These references to thanksgiving are all in the
context of prayer.
(a) Jesus gave thanks in prayer for that which
symbolizes the true bread of life.
(b) Anna gave thanks in prayer for Him who is
the bread of life.
D. Thanksgiving is the key to answered prayer. (Psa.
1. It honors God.
2. It prepares the way for God.
3. It ushers in the power and presence of God.
a. Thanksgiving for what God has done
beckons him to do more of the same.
b. Thanksgiving for what God has done embraces
what he will do.
c. He will show us salvation: peace,
wholeness, harmony, and blessing.
E. Merlin Carothers shows us how thanksgiving
ushers in Godís blessing.
-- Merlin R. Carothers, Power in Praise (Escondido,
California: Merlin R. Carothers, 1972), pp. 7-8.
1. First, he lays the biblical basis for
a. God works our good through every circumstance of
life. "And we know that in all things God works for
the good of those who love him, who have been called
according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
b. We should be thankful in every circumstance
of life. "Be joyful always; pray continually; give
thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you
in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:16-17)
2. Carothers relates how thanksgiving in prayer
restored a womanís self-esteem and her marriage.
a. Emotional traumas crushed her self-esteem, led
her to become gluttonous, and resulted in her husband filing
b. Growing depression and mounting unpaid bills led
to thoughts of suicide.
c. A light dawned when a friend gave her a copy of
Merlin Carotherís book Prison to Praise which
enabled her to see God at work in every circumstance
of her life.
d. She prayed, "God, I thank You that my
life is just as it is. Every problem I have has been your
gift to bring me to the place where I am right now. You
wouldnít have permitted any of these things to happen if
you hadnít known that it was best for me. God, you realy do
love me! I mean it, God, I know you do love me."
e. Upon finishing the prayer, the mailman
arrived with a letter from her husband expressing a desire
and willingness to see their marriage restored.
f. Her self-esteem was healed, her marriage
restored, and she began a weight loss program and achieved
an ideal weight.
3. Carothers relates how thanksgiving in prayer
delivered a daughter from insanity.
-- Merlin R. Carothers, Power in Praise (Escondido,
California: Merlin R. Carothers, 1972), pp. 3-4.
a. The girl in question had been in an insane
asylum and was considered by the medical staff as hopelessly
b. Her parents were enlightened by Carotherís
teaching to see how God uses thanksgiving to turn lifeís
challenges into blessings.
c. They saw that their prayers had been to no avail
as they were despairing prayers and not thankful ones.
d. They thanked God for the entire situation and
expressed faith in Godís wisdom and love for them and
e. They received a phone call from the asylum that
their daughter was remarkable improved, and she was out of
the hospital in two weeks.
f. A year later she was married, expecting a baby,
and described by her brother as "the happiest girl in
IV. The heart that prays is a zealous
A. It is zealous to uphold the
honor of God in a world of compromise.
1. Jesus was zealous for the house of God. (Jn.
2:13-17; Mt. 21:13; Psa. 69:9)
a. He saw the Temple made into a market place.
b. He drove the marketers from the Temple.
c. He declared the Temple a house of prayer and not
a den of robbers.
2. Moses was zealous for the honor of God. (Exod.
a. He interceded before God to uphold Godís
b. He broke the tables, burned the idol, scattered
the debris upon the water, and made the people drink it.
c. He called for a decision: "Whoever is for
the Lord, come to me."
d. He commanded that the idolaters be slaughtered.
3. Phinehas was zealous for the honor of God. (Num.
a. Israel succombed to sexual immorality and
idolatry with Moabites.
b. Moses called for the slaughter of the Israelite
men involved in this sin.
c. An Israelite man brought a Moabite woman to his
tent in full view of the Tent of Meeting.
d. Phinehas entered the tent and drove a spear
through both of them.
e. Godís anger abated because Phinehas was
zealous for his honor.
f. Godís made a coventant of peace and of a
lasting priesthood with him.
4. Ezekiel was filled with Godís anger against
idolatrous Israel. (Ezek. 3:10-17)
a. Ezekiel was commissioned to warn obstinate
Israel of the penalty of sin.
b. The Spirit took him in bitterness and anger of
spirit to Tel Abib.
c. He sat there for seven days overwhelmed.
d. God made him a watchman to warn Israel of her
sins and Godís jugdment.
5. Peter released Annanias and Saphira to the
judgment of God. (Acts 4:32-5:11)
a. The Jerusalem church shared everything in common
in Christian love.
b. Annanias and Sapphira pretended to do so but
held back some of their income.
c. Peter countered that Satan had prompted them to
lie to Godís Spirit.
d. Peter spoke judgment that led to their death.
6. Paul turned an incestuous man over to Satan. (1
a. Paul reproved the Corinthians for boasting about
an incestuous relationship.
b. Paul pronounced judgment for handing him over to
c. Paulís zeal was directed at destruction of his
body for the salvation of his spirit.
d. Paul called for separation from worldliness
using the imagery of bread without yeast.
B. It is zealous to extend the reign of God in a world
1. Jesus on the heart of prayer: "Come, Your
kingdom! Be done, Your will!" (This is a more
accurate rendering of Matthew 6:10.)
2. David Wells on the nature of prayer: "What
. . . is the nature of petitionary prayer? It is, in essence,
rebellion -- rebellion against the world in its fallenness,
the absolute and undying refusal to accept as normal what is
pervasively abnormal. It is, in this its negative aspect, the
refusal of every agenda, every scheme, every
interpretation that is at odds with the norm as originally
established by God."
-- Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds.,
"Prayer: Rebelling Against the Status Quo," in Perspectives
on the World Christian Movement. Revised Edition.
(Pasadena, California: William Carey Library, 1992), p. A-145.
C. It is zealous to deliver the people of God in a
world of oppression.
1. It is to unhold His honor that God delivers His
people. (Psa. 79:9)
2. His deliverance is not just from spiritual
oppression but also from human oppressors. (Psalm 7:1,2)
D. Dick Eastmanís zeal in prayer for the
liberation of political hostages.
-- Dick Eastman, Love on its Knees (Toronto, Carlilse,
Grand Rapids, Sydney, Johannesburg: Global Christian Publishers,
1978), pp. 35-37.
1. Terrorists in Holland were holding Dutch
grade school students hostage.
2. The terrorists declared their intention to execute
one per day if their demands not met.
3. Eastman prayed daily for their safe release as a
matter of discipline in prayer.
4. The terrorists became more demanding and no change
for the better was evident.
5. Eastmanís intercession was intensified as God gave
him a supernatural zeal.
a. Eastman saw a vision of the children in living
b. He saw the faces of his two young daughters among
c. He experienced intensity of prayer he had never
d. He began demanding the terrorists let the children
e. He found himself pounding his fist to his palm and
pointing and shaking his finger at the terrorists in the
f. His emotions ran the gamut of demanding, crying,
shouting, and trembling and then he felt the breakthrough and
victory were given. Intercession was complete.
6. The breakthrough comes.
a. That night, the news was on during the family
b. Walter Cronkite announced good news of three
c. Eastman began crying and prayed silently: "Jesus,
I didnít ask for three children, I asked for all of them to
be released. And that was a prayer born of your Spirit."
d. With a burst of boldness, he sharply pounded the
table and said, "And I claim the miracle now!"
(Both he and his family were startled as it just seemed to
rise out of him.)
e. Local CBS affiliate interrupted the broadcast with
these words: "We interrupt this broadcast to bring you
an update on the hostage crisis in Holland. The report given
by Mr. Cronkite was recorded earlier for West Coast viewing
and is incomplete. All 153 children were freed early this
A. Effective prayer issues from a heart surrendered to
B. The heart that prays is an abiding, humble,
thankful, and zealous heart.
C. These qualities of heart produce a prayer life that
releases fruitfulness, draws upon Godís grace, receives Godís
blessings, and upholds Godís honor.