Enough with the Vague Generalities of Prayer

“He prayed like he knew us.”

I said this a few days ago after having a long conversation with a friend. When we finished talking, he prayed for me. And I had to stop and pause because my breath was caught in my chest.

“I’ll pray for you” is one of those things we say to a lot each other in the body of Christ. I hope we mean it. I suspect many times we do not. In those times, what we mean is that we hope things get better, or that we feel a measure of comfort, or that we don’t worry about the future. Even when we do pray, it is often with vague generalities. But not this time.

This time my friend prayed for me like he knew me. He prayed for my family and I by name, each one of us, and for each family member he prayed different things specific to their personality. He knows us, he loves us, and he prays as such.

It was an amazing thing to experience and to benefit from, for in a moment, I not only felt truly known and loved but also advocated for in a very specific way before the throne of God above. In thinking more about it, I have considered that this is but a shadow of what we have in Jesus who is praying for us even now. Hebrews 7:16 tells us that Jesus, the resurrected Jesus, now has an “indestructible life.” And what will He do with that indestructible life?

Just a few verses later, in 7:25, we see that Jesus “is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.”

This is no mere general intercession; consider the wonder that he, through whom all things were made and in whom all things live and move and have their being, is the same one who is praying for us. He who knows us better than we know ourselves, the one who understands the darkest places of our hearts, the one who comprehends our deepest longings and motivations that even we ourselves don’t know, stands on our behalf before God.

Can you imagine the specific nature of that intercession? Can you hear him call you by name and describe your situation in intricate detail? This is the intercession of Jesus. It’s not made up of filler words like “just” and “um”; it’s not comprised of vague generalities for comfort or provision; it is specific. It is loving. It is fervent.

Jesus, the one who is closer than a brother, prays like someone who knows you.

And loves you.

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