Intercessory Prayer is the greatest work

A bricklayer named Max was working on a three story apartment cutting bricks on the floor when he was commanded by the Spirit to drop to his knees and pray the following prayer: “Thank you Father for the Angels you put about me to care for me in all my ways, to lift me up in their hands lest I dash a foot upon a stone.”

Max recounts, “What was so amazing about this was is at that time I wasn’t an active Christian and I had no known knowledge at the time of where that verse came from. I later learned it came from Psalm 91. It was as if I was pushed down to the ground, ‘Say this!’ and I did.”

A few hours later Max was standing on the edge of the top scaffold when someone shouted a warning to him. Again, in his own words, “When I spun around a large stack of concrete blocks was already tumbling over on top of me. I had nowhere to go but down, but they literally parted in the middle and fell smashing down three stories plus the length of a very steep driveway.
“We both watched the stack split in half and fall on either side of me. He actually said to me, ‘How did that happen?’ in wonder because the whole thing sort of defied the laws of physics.” (Testimony on the Power of intercessory Prayer by Michael Bradley). An act of God divided the stack of bricks and saved Max.

In Max’s story we see that God has a great love for us. When no one else has our back with prayer, the Spirit can come to our aid. Indeed, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” (Tennyson).

Stories about intercessory petitions are as old as we are. We remember when we wanted permission to use the family car, and so we asked Mom to ask Dad if we could have the car.

Prayers of intercession go back to biblical times. Jesus said, “My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 16:23). Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us after his ascension, and the Spirit is the most powerful prayer assistant we have.

When we do not know how to pray, “The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. … He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27).

It struck me recently that our salvation story is one of intercession. Jesus redeemed us and made restitution for our sins to the Father. He bought us with his blood. In the true story about Max above, we see how intercessory prayer is really needed. We need to pray for others, and sometimes the Spirit will prompt us to.

Jesus told St Gertrude the Great the following prayer would release a vast number of souls from Purgatory: “Eternal Father. I offer thee the most precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with all the Masses being said this day throughout the world for all the holy souls in Purgatory. Amen.”

Each one of us at our baptism was anointed priest, prophet, and king. As followers of Jesus we have credentials to pray. The most powerful intercessory prayer I know is, “For the sake of your Son, have mercy Lord.”

(570 words)

By Ken Rolheiser