TIME, SPACE AND INTERCESSIONSome time ago, I received a letter from one of our members who was concerned over the implications of the Agnes Sanford item on minstering to the sick. She felt that intercession by those not present was not given its place in the article. The article that follows is a digest of material furnished me by Mrs Stanley Kammerer of South Kingstown, RI to present the other side of the story.
Does intercessory prayer transcend the time/space limitations we know as humans? Can there be any other response than "Yes indeed"? Laying on hands may seem to be superior to long-distance intercession; but is it not possible that this depends neither on the one ministering or on the reeiver. It is God's sovereign choice to use the tools that He selects and we offer for His use.
If we are one in Christ and Christ is with each disciple, we are certainly at one with each other. The spirit of the person for whom prayer is offered needs only accessibility to the prayer and to the prayer that opens the way for the Lord to move. "Lord I believe. Help Thou my unbelief."
Consider too the viability of our own OSL Intercessory Prayer Line. It is always accessible so that we can know with reasonable certainty that people all over the country are joined in prayer to supply our prayer needs. The prayer opens the way for God's power to flow, even though the intercessors are not by our side.
There are certainly illustrations from the ministry of Jesus when He did not go to the sick to pray, but prayed from a distant place. The daughter of the Syro-Phonecian woman, the centurion's servant, and the son of the nobleman who approached him in Cana were all granted healing to those for whom they interceded even though they were not in Jesus' presence.
Perhaps the key to our understanding is not so much that we are there or away at a distance, but that we are obedient to the One who calls us to pray and faithful to the one in need of the prayer. Where the way is beyond our reach because time is too short or distance is too long, God spans the moments and the miles with a love that knows no limits.
Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Morte d'Arthur" has Arthur saying, "Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. Therefore, let thy voice rise like an incense for me day and night." Is it not the soul that needs the prayer as well as the body's pains? "For what are men better than sheep or goats that nourish a blind life in the brain. If, knowing God they lift not hands in prayer, both for themselves and those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way bound by chains of gold about the feet of God."
We are indeed bound by chains of gold about the feet of God in our times of intercessory prayer. Those chains of gold are the delicate threads that set our intercesions free from time and space to become the celestial wireless that opens our world to become the Kingdom of our God. Therein lies our participation in God's healing ministry across the miles and moments that seem to separate us from those we love.
Milton wrote in Paradise Lost, "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, or a hell of heaven." It depends upon our will to seek and serve the King - offering our own prayers as a channel of His grace and love to others, and to ourselves.
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