“He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene …” (Isaiah 59:16 NIV)
Most of our prayers are of the low order, or maybe more like the fast-food order.
We pull up to the drive-thru and yell out our requests to God and then expect him to have our order ready by the time we pull up to the window.
Yet, God’s view of prayer seems far above the utilitarian. He calls us to a violent form of intercession, where we take on the spiritual forces of darkness on behalf of our race, once invaded, now occupied by the prince of darkness.
Paul teaches us to put on the whole armor of God. If you follow the sequence of his instruction, we’re suiting up for battle so we can stand firm in prayer (Ephesians 6).
We pray for others like Jesus would pray for them, thinking about them the way he would think, covering them with prayer, protecting them through prayer, and advocating for them in the same way Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and advocates for us.
It is other-centered prayer on the extreme end of “other.”
Isaiah describes God as “appalled” that no one was interceding for his people. We have the ability — more appropriately, the duty — to intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters (Isaiah 59:16 NIV).
And we do not do this alone, for the Lord is already interceding, and we are simply joining him. Like the armor Paul describes for us, the Lord is suited for battle. Isaiah says: “He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak” (Isaiah 59:17 NIV).