Prayer Changes Things…Beginning With Me

I can remember the day my sister called me with panic in her voice. As I sat in my office as a new temp hire at Stephens Inc., I remember her screaming to the top of her lungs that her then boyfriend had a gun to her baby’s head. As I visualized this scene, thoughts of this pattern of behavior that I had become accustomed to with her begin to play out in my mind. Such as the time she went to jail because she drove her car and ran over her then boyfriend, or the time her children were taken from her by DHS because she left them at home alone to chase her boyfriend on a high speed chase on the freeway.   I responded to this incidence in my usual tone by telling her to call the police because there was absolutely nothing I could do. I immediately hung up the phone and called my mother, who I felt had the patience and strength to handle these situations a lot better than myself.

For years I have prayed that God would save her from herself. That He would remove every unhealthy habit from her life. She is a person with a good heart who deserves God’s best. After praying this for so long, I grew tired and ran out of the right words to pray, or even how to pray about this situation that so greatly affected me. I began to pray for her six children because I believed God would keep the kids out of harm’s way.

That was 13 years ago. I am still praying for my sister and her children. But this year I am praying a little differently.

Instead of praying that she would stop dating the wrong guys, or that she would stop dating all together (my original prayer), I begin interceding on her behalf. The Holy Spirit began teaching me the power of intercession. So I went in—on her behalf.

Intercession–to intervene on behalf of another

Synonyms: mediate, conciliate, negotiate, moderate, arbitrate

The Latin translation of the prefix inter means between, among, or during. The word ‘cedere in Latin translates into yield, withdraw. The English definition translates the root word cess or cede into go.

So I begin to think of the work of Jesus Christ in our lives now as He sits at the right hand of the Father. There are many days that I mess up, that I don’t follow the right path. Jesus Christ serves as my mediator with the Father. He is my advocate. He intercedes on my behalf. He pleads or arbitrates my case.

This is the lesson that was given me this year when I began allowing the Holy Spirit to show me how to pray. I now pray for domestic violence in its entirety and its vicious cycle. I pray that women everywhere would be surrounded with believers who will help them to see their identity and immense value in Christ. I pray that they have support networks that will help them to know that God has not forgotten about them and how deep and how wide Jesus love is for them. I pray that they KNOW they were not an accident or a random mistake but that they have purpose in the earth. That God knows our needs, and He hears us when we call out to Him.

I send her encouraging text messages, scriptures, and I speak words of life over her. She may grow tired of it all, and sometimes feel overwhelmed, but I made a commitment to myself. I will shower her from my overflow. I will pray until my words produce a manifestation.

This year, my sister has impacted my life in more ways than one. Not only did I learn that God has given me a ministry within reach—right here in my family, but I learned how to withdraw from the world in order to pray on behalf of another. Most importantly, I learned how Jesus works on my behalf daily. Our work as Christ followers doesn’t end when there are people within our reach who are hurting and dying spiritually. We have a lot of work to do. And this work requires tuning into God and following His example and most importantly, giving of ourselves.

Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, and offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV


April McCullough