Personal Growth Through Intercessory Prayer
Jesus speaks these words in John 15:1-3 (NKJ), “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
This Father loves you, and He desires that you bear much fruit—fruit that remains. When your prayers avail much, He is glorified.
After ministering at a church on a particualrly bright Sunday morning, the last “amen” was said, and I walked down the steps to the main floor. Standing just in front of the podium I greeted those who were streaming forward to speak with me or request prayer.
Many expressed their appreciation for my books, which had given them hope, faith and inspiration. There were warm handshakes, hugs and exclamations of “I’ve had your books for years.Prayers That Avail Much changed me completely. I feel as though I’ve known you all my life!”
Several shared brief testimonies with me. One joyful gentleman said, “I’m a Christian today because my wife started praying the prayer of salvation from your book for me. Thank you for your obedience!”
As I continued greeting others I became aware of a tall woman with noble features and a lovely face, which I suspected concealed her deepest feelings. Her appearance was flawless. She stepped up introducing herself, and as we spoke, her eyes quickly welled with tears. Daubing at the tears, she explained, “I have prayed and prayed your prayers for my husband, but he hasn’t changed at all. If anything, he’s drinking more, and the abuse hasn’t stopped either. Why hasn’t God answered my prayers? What am I supposed to do now?”
Sensing her heartache, I reached out, took her hand and drew her closer. I listened as she recounted her situation. It was obvious that she had been pushed to her limits. I longed to pray with her for the strength to redefine her boundaries. Sensing great fear, an obvious stronghold, I wanted to share how fear is one of the greatest hindrances to praying effectual prayers. We want God to take steps to remove our mountains of fear and unbelief, and He waits for us to take a stand for truth and righteousness.
Sometimes we pray desperate prayers trying to manipulate God into changing others. Not only do we pray, but we attempt to change others, especially family members. When we are able to admit our powerlessness to change others, we are ready for God to open the eyes of our understanding, ready for the Holy Spirit to help us pray. We can then see through eyes of love, detach in a healthy way from those who have hurt us and step out of the emotional turmoil that keeps us unbalanced and off center. God restores our balance so that we can withstand Satan and be firm in our faith.
When one marriage partner in a relationship changes in this way, that change often generates change in the other person. In fact, a small change in one’s behavior can generate tremendous results. I thought to share these truths with the regal lady who stood before me. Perhaps her change would be the key to turning her situation around.
After validating her pain and expressing sympathy for her situation, I asked, “Can you share with me the transformation you have experienced? How have the prayers changed you?”
Her reaction was immediate. Instantly, her tears dried, and through clenched teeth she said, “I am not the one who needs changing!” With that she turned around briskly and walked away.
My heart ached for her as I prayed for God to reach this wounded heart with the truth that would set her free. What she did not realize was that God had given her the power to make decisions concerning her own life, and she wasn’t responsible for her husband’s behavior. She did not have to be a victim; God had called her to peace, and made her an overcomer. Her feelings of frustration and perplexity could catapult her to another level of spiritual growth if she would focus her intense desire on knowing God instead of changing her husband. Granted if all she said was true he needed to change, but seldom does a spouse change by our psychological discussions.
God is a loving Father, and He wants His children to mature and become reconcilers—living witnesses to others. Many times when praying for others, you have the opportunity to be the link that will reconcile them to God if you are first willing to allow your own heart to be changed in the process. Such change is seldom easy. But if you allow it, your life will produce fruit that creates a desire and willingness to change in the hearts of those for whom you pray.
—Excerpt from The Road That God Walks
© Copyright Germaine Copeland 2004
Germaine Copeland is the author of the best selling book series, Prayers That Avail Much. She has written scriptural prayers for the family. Read your Bible, pray and attend church where you can soak up the love and faith of God. You will receive emotional healing, experience spiritual growth and become more intimately acquainted with your Heavenly Father, and your relationships will grow stronger.