Intercessory Worship

by Sylvia Gunter

Do you feel that God promised you something, and it has been too long in coming?  Maybe you are feeling desperate and even despairing.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick when it is set on our expectations in our time frame.  You’ve asked “Why, Lord?  Where is it?  What’s going on?  Why are You silent?  When will You fulfill Your promises?”  You have examined your heart to see if there is sin in your life.  It seems that God is far away, and the heavens are brass.  You’ve bargained and pleaded, maybe even pouted a little.

David knew that taking up his harp in the midst of pain connected him with God in a special deep way.  In Psalm 42 and 43, ten times he asked “Why?”  Two times he asked “Where?” and once he asked “When?”  He described abandonment, oppression, betrayal, and accusation at the hands of wicked and deceitful men.  In the course of two short psalms, he recorded a range of intense conflicting emotions: thirst and satisfaction, fear and courage, doubt and faith, dejection and hope, despair and assurance of blessing, disturbance and peace, impatience and resolve, pouting and praise, tears and singing, accusation and vindication, rejection and confidence, weakness and strength, darkness and light, oppression and deliverance, mourning and joy.

Amid all that, David heard God’s songs in the night and sang tephillahs, prayer hymns or prayers set to music.  Four times in 16 verses, he broke into praise and thanksgiving.  “I will praise You with the harp, O God, my God.  I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.“  The word yet means continuance, again, repeatedly, still, more, all life long.  David was saying that regardless of his circumstances, he was devoted to praising the Lord.  In another place, he said that his heart was fixed and steadfast, making music and praising God for His great love, which never changes.

As we come into His presence with sacrifices of worship, we come before Him in spirit and in truth.  In the presence of the King of glory, we enjoy His matchless power and care, and He brings to mind others that He wants us to present before Him.  The real heart of intercessory worship is seeking His Face, then seeking His heart, not His hand.

Intercessory worship employs the name of God to attract the presence and power of God into a time and place for particular people.  I have seen God do amazing things in response to praise and worship obedience, where I simply exalted Him as God by faith and let Him be God.  Intercessory worship is faith in action.  We don’t see the answer, but we know the character of the One who is faithful.  Intercessory worship is as simple as singing “He is Lord,” which declares the authority of the rule of Jesus in all things.

Intercessory worship praises God even when the situation doesn’t change immediately, because He places His presence in our hearts in His promises, His vision, and His purposes.  And we will yet praise Him for His answer that He will bring forth in His appointed time.

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