1. Dedication. An intercessor must be committed to Christ, to others and to the task of intercession. There simply is no substitute for dedication. As Phillips Brooks once said, “If man is man and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing; it is an infinitely foolish thing.”
2. Reliability. It’s not our ability that God looks for, but our availability. Paul Daniel Rader once said: “If you can beat the devil in the matter of regular daily prayer, you can beat him anywhere. If he can beat you there, he can possibly beat you anywhere.” Or as a country preacher once said, “If your day is hemmed with prayer, it’s less likely to come unraveled.”
3. Integrity. In Alice Smith’s book Beyond the Veil, she writes: “If we accept an assignment from God, we can be sure that He will attempt to build integrity into our lives. I (Alice) love Psalm 26:11-12: ‘But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me. My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord.’
“My paraphrase would read: ‘In all my public trust I will walk uprightly and pay strict attention to truth, honesty, justice and mercy. I will not plan evil schemes or use myself to promote my own cause. I will be true to the integrity of the Word. I will live a moral life in private and in public. I stand firmly on principles of proper conduct, and I will not turn aside.'”
4. Objectivity and empathy. Objectivity and empathy are tricky. Both are necessary, but they must be kept in balance.
If we are empathetic intercessors who cannot find objectivity in prayer, we will soon be consumed emotionally and ultimately overwhelmed with the prayer needs we bear. Remember the words of the old song “Leave It There” by Charles Albert Tindley: “Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”
On the other hand, if we are objective intercessors without empathy, who cannot feel the needs of those for whom we have been commissioned to pray, our prayer life will grow stale and eventually dry up.
5. Kind. Kindness is a necessary commodity for the intercessor-advocate, as illustrated by the following story.
An old man carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went. If he passed through a door with squeaky hinges, he put a little oil on the hinges. If the gate was hard to open, he poured a little oil upon the latch.
Every day he found a variety of ways to use his pocket oil can to others’ advantage. Neighbors thought he was eccentric, but he went on his way, doing all within his power to lubricate the hard places and make life easier and more enjoyable for others.
Do we carry with us the oil of human kindness? When the traffic is backed up, the grocery clerk is rude or your boss decides to come down on you, are you exercising the oil of gladness? Go ahead and do it. It will make your day. More