Excerpts from 'Devotional Classics' edited by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith Douglas V. Steere (1901- ) Introduction to the Author Douglas Steere was educated at Michigan St, Harvard and Oxford in the early 1900's. A Rhodes scholar, brilliant thinker and skilled author of many fine devotional books. He has spent most of his life teaching philosophy at Haverford College in Pa. and is a members of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He is one of a few American authors who in the past century has combined academic integrity with spiritual authenticity. He holds a delicate balance between contemplation (the inner life) and action (the outer life). This selection is an excerpt from his 1938 book 'Prayer and Worship'. this section deals with the subject of intercessory prayer, that is praying for people and events. Excerpts from 'Prayer and Worship' 1. The Inner Springs of Prayer Prayer for others is a form of petitionee prayer that makes deep demands on the faith of an individualistic generation that has so largely lost its sense of inner community. Yet, at no point do we touch the inner springs of prayer more vitally than here. For when we hold up the life of another before God, when we expose it to God's love, when we pray for the quickening of its inner health, for the power to throw off a destructive habit, for the restoration of its relationship with others, for its strength to resist temptation, for its courage to continue against sharp opposition - only then do we sense what it means to share in God's work, in His concern, only then do the walls which separate us go down and we sense that we are at bottom all knit together in a great and intimate family. 2. No Greater Intimacy There is no greater intimacy with another than that which is built through holding him or her up in prayer. 3. Lapping at the Shores of our Lives Intercessory prayer is cooperation with God's active love in besieging the life or new areas of the life of another, or of a situation. 4. You are Called You may pray for the release of some area of life in a friend and find that you are called upon to set right something in your life that has acted as a stumbling block to him. In intercessory prayer, one seldom ends where one begins. 5. Tiny Promptings, Gentle Whispers During these active forms of prayer in the silence, in contrition, in purification, in simplification and refreshment, in petition and in intercession, frequently, if we are sensitive and listening, there come clear thoughts, clear insights of things to be done. These insights are precious and need to be heeded if we are to live in response to that which we feel in prayer. 6. Established in Power We need spiritual staying power to carry out intercessory prayer. Profession of Truth w/o the life and power is but a slippery place which men may easily slide from. We need to pray in the power that will establish our abilities to carry out the leadings of the Spirit. We must wait on God for the strength to fulfill His leadings and insights. Read: Deuteronomy 9:12-21 Reflection 1. When a friend comes to you with a problem, which are you more likely to do; pray for your friend, help your friend or a combination of both? 2. Steere notes that when we pray for someone we will on many occasions, be led to do something forthem in addition to praying for them. How do you know when God wants you to do more than pray for a person? 3. Steere also says that during prayer for others, we may be led to make some changes in our lives. Has this ever happened to you? 4. Moses tells the people in Deut. 9:19 that it was his prayer that saved them from destruction. In what instances have you become aware of the power of prayer to effect real changes in particular situations? 5. Set aside some time each day to pray for members of your church. 6. Commit one person to prayer this week that you know needs to experience God's love. 7. Listen for the tiny promptings of God during your times of prayer. Be open to hearing what you can do in the situations for which you are praying. 8. Become a living prayer this week by writing a letter, donating food, visiting the sick or setting a relationship right. In doing so you might just become someone else's answer to prayer.
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