The call to intercede for others through prayer is a high calling. But it can be a confusing one, too. Our minds conjure up images of the great ones of the faith, kneeling for hours before dawn, standing in the gap for the lost and the hurting. Yes, I want to faithfully pray for others, but if this is the standard, I'm doomed to failure.
I'd like to think that I could really be a Prayer Warrior. But in reality I'm more of a prayer half-ling, a mere hobbit of intercessory middle earth.
What if we discovered that intercession wasn't so much a role to accept or a great charge to keep—but rather a way to deeply love and care for others? What would our response be then?
Luke 5:17-26 is a familiar story to many of us. It's filled with spectacular images: crowds of eager, anxious people, pressing in, trying to get through the door of a house. Many of them sick, some with walking sticks, some very old, babies and children crying, holding on to their parents' hands as the crowds push forward. The air is hot, thick, and dusty. The noise level is climbing.
And we see Jesus, standing inside this crowded house, calmly attending to the throng.
At the outer edges of the crowd we see four men, each of them carrying a corner of the stretcher that's holding their paralyzed friend. They have evidently heard that Jesus has a miraculous touch and are determined to take their friend to him.
We know what happens next: The four men see that walking through the front door with their friend on a stretcher simply isn't an option. The crowds won't allow it. Not to be dissuaded, they go for Plan B.1