So if you have read the book (Contending for the Habit of Daily Prayer, Revised and Expanded) or been through the The Daily Prayer Project, you know how strongly I am pushing for the first priority of prayer to be the pursuit of intimacy with Jesus. Still doin it! But, prayer is dynamic and it’s components operate in a kind of symbiosis with each other. So, while the efficacy of our prayers is directly related to the level of our intimacy with Jesus, powerful intercession and petitions should and will flow out of that intimacy.
Mary and Martha
I was reminded again this week how important intercession can be to intimacy with Jesus. Somehow, as we whole-heartedly and with abandon find ourselves praying for others we find that interwoven in those prayers are opportunities to cry out for Jesus in worship, longing, surrender.
Let’s look at the story of Mary and Martha before we go any further:
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:38-42).”
I have said that if all you do in prayer is pursue intimacy with Jesus then, like Mary, you will have chosen what is better! HOWEVER, I have said that knowing that out of that intimacy will flow intercession sand petitions led by the Holy Spirit and, I believe that then we will witness greater answers to prayer!
So, Yes! Intimacy first. But intimacy only? No.