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Intercessory Prayer, We Miss You!

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Intercessory Prayer, We Miss You!

This is just a line to let you know how things are since you’ve gone. It’s not the same without you, nor will it ever be. Although our lives seem shallow and empty when you’re not here, we’ve learned to make up for you in other ways. We’ve learned to live without you.

We now run the aisles, leap for joy, jig to the music, sing catchy choruses, and tap our feet in time to the rhythm of the drums. We use sticks, banners, black lights and our sign teams do a tremendous job acting out recorded music. We’ve learned to worship without you.

The prayer rooms are mostly silent now. Those that do go there, for the most part, come away dry-eyed. A lot of praying now is chanting and singsong style. That’s how we know we’re in the groove. We pray memorized phrases that come automatically. We love what we call Prayer Walks. Most of us don’t even close our eyes anymore during prayer. We just walk and pray while we look around. We pray because it is required. No one prays till they break through anymore. We just pray till our ten minutes are up.

Family altars are almost unheard of now. You can’t imagine how busy we are and how hectic our schedules have been. It’s unbelievable. We get up in the morning and never stop till we go to bed at night. We do try to make it to church most services and get some praying in there during the service, but prayer at home is kind of out of the question. That may be another reason you haven’t heard much from us.

Oh sure, we still believe in prayer, as such. But not very many of us are anxious for you to come back. (You were always the polite type, you know, never forcing yourself on anyone. You never came uninvited. You only left because you were ignored.)

The sad truth is you’re not really needed anymore. You see, most of us have hospitalization insurance now. (It sure takes away that old desperate feeling we used to have.)  So now, there’s no need to pray more than the few minutes it takes to drive to the Emergency Room.  Also, we don’t have to ask for our daily bread like we used to. We now have better jobs with good benefits and government programs to fall back on.

If we lose our jobs, there is always Unemployment or Welfare. If we retire or become disabled, Social Security now supplies our needs.  So, you can see, we’re doing OK.  Other things have filled the void in your absence. Sure we miss you. But we’re getting over it some how. Actually, we’re too busy to entertain you right now, even if you tried to come back. I hope you understand.

We are having revivals now without you. It’s not hard. The pastor fasts and prays, along with a couple others. The evangelist preaches mostly just to sinners now. Most of us try to get to church in time for the first song or two.  We justify the fact that the number of new converts is down.  Yes, there seems to be diminished conviction, less lasting victory, fewer miracles and many young people are backsliding. We agree, however, that it’s not us that are at fault here; it’s just the times we’re living in. It’s like this everywhere.

As your friend, I’m writing this to you, knowing how much it must hurt you to have folks say they miss you…  and yet in their material and intellectual progress, they’ve weaned themselves away from the haunting memory of you.

What hurts, I know, is that we were children you personally raised. You were always there when we needed you. (But now… we don’t.) You taught us about faith. You taught us about miracles. You taught us about a move of God. You taught us about revival. You taught us about how to touch God. Thank you for that, but you see, this is a new day and we are trying to go to the next level. Our services are structured differently now.

Do you know… can you believe, that now when you are ever mentioned in church, everyone gets real quite?  They all feel guilty I’m sure. It’s like they experience a momentary twinge of guilt while they consider their part in your disappearance.  Once in awhile some even get misty eyed when we talk about the old times you shared with us. But all that feeling vanishes along with the pizza right after church.

No, Intercessory Prayer, your coming back really wouldn’t work right now.  We’re too blessed. We’re doing too well.  We’re comfortable. In your day, you served your purpose, but the sentiment of most today is that we can manage OK without you now.  We’ve got better clothes, cars, homes and prettier and bigger churches than ever.

By the way, do you remember all the folks of yesteryear coming into the sanctuary with red-rimmed eyes?  Remember the baggy looking knees in men’s’ suits?  Remember all night prayer meetings?  Remember the depth that was in worship?  Remember when sinners couldn’t sit in their pews any longer, and would run to the altar?  Remember when you could feel unity and brotherly love? When folks helped bear one another’s burdens? When the saints didn’t watch the clock? When they could hardly wait to enjoy the after service atmosphere, praying around the altar until the wee hours of the morning? Boy, those were to good old days. We call that “Old School.”

Well, it’s pretty much all gone now. But you ought to see our new Hammond C-3, our new drum set with a cage and everything. Electric bass guitars are just awesome and the electric guitars too. We use Praise Singers to help cover up the fact that our congregations don’t sing like they should or used to. We let them do most of our worship for us. Our Choirs just do terrific on the new style songs. Old saints don’t like the new songs much, but the younger crowd seems to like them. Many music directors don’t even know some of your old favorite songs, so they don’t get played much anywhere.

You would be proud of our church buildings. Carpet on the floors, there are pews now instead of benches and they are padded too, besides. The arched beams are beautiful, we also have the loveliest of imported chandeliers.  Our pastor has polish too. He doesn’t preach long. We are more concerned about sermon length now, than content. Our pastor spices up his sermons with cute sayings… but I guess that’s progress for you. “Win some, lose some.”

Speaking of “lose some”, we’re losing a surprising percentage of our young people. An unbelievable number of marriages have gone on the rocks. Many lives have been in jeopardy. But that’s to be expected I guess. Teenagers seem to be at war with their parents and want to dress more and more like the kids at the public school. Our youth meetings may not have much in the way of prayer, but we have great icebreakers, skits and games.

We have plenty of medicines nowadays to help our aches and pains. What more could we ask for?  Sure we miss you, but I guess we really don’t NEED you right now.

I hope you’re not offended.  I don’t mean for you to be.  You’ll always have a special place in my memory.  You were very kind and generous to me. You sure got me out of some hard times. I can’t thank you enough!  Still, this is a generation now that doesn’t know you at all. Your coming would probably scare them.

Remember the night when my mother sat at the piano bench and you joined her there? Remember how she wept and groaned in the Spirit and slumped to the floor during the revival service and how some tried to call the ambulance because they thought she was sick? They never knew you and her were talking.

That’s what I mean. A good many never got to know you well.  And most never knew you at all. Those that knew you personally have waited so long to talk to you that they are now, to say the least, embarrassed.

So while we are trying to work out our feelings about you, and see where you might fit into our plans in the future, you might try your luck someplace else. Try Brazil, Ethiopia, or how about the Philippines?  You might have better luck in Third World Countries, or behind the iron Curtain. You might even luck out and find someone to talk to you in some little storefront on the other side of the tracks. Surely someone somewhere needs you.

We’re terribly sorry, Intercessory Prayer, we miss you, but we really don’t NEED you… right now!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 28, 2010 at 5:28 am

12 Responses

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  1. THAT’S THE TRUTH…it could not have been written any better

    Henry Perkins

    February 28, 2010 at 6:21 am

  2. Thank you so much. I have been teaching on old time prayer & I would love to nclude this in my lessons. Is it on loan? I’ll give it back as soon as I’m done!
    with much gratitude, Bro. Anderson

    Tom Anderson

    February 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

  3. A great article. We are all hungry for this in our services. I have lived long enough to know the difference beween hype and the real spirit.

    Marian June Davis

    February 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm

  4. I agree. This could not have been written any better.

    Lani Ellingsworth

    February 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

  5. “We are all hungry for this in our services” unquote
    The one thing I’ve tried to do when I’m hungry is GET something to eat. It’s seems reasonable that a true appetite would be the driving force to cause folks to go after what they’re hungry for. The reason intecessory prayer is missing is because there is no real hunger for it. If there was we’d see more of it. We need more prayer warriors and less prayer spectators…I appreciate you Elder…great article and blog.

    Larry Billings

    March 1, 2010 at 7:43 am

  6. Thank you so much, for allowing me to use “Intercessory Prayer, We Miss You” in my teaching. I am honored to be teaching a group of Apostolic ministers, next week, on “Return to Prayer – Return to Power” This article came just in time, to add such a great dimension to my teaching. It is refreshing to know there are still some who long for her return! Sweet Hour of Prayer….no longer, let’s have a moment of prayer.

    Walter Ross

    July 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm

  7. Dear Bro.Ballestero,
    After reading this article many, many times, I wish I knew how to send it to my email address so I could share it with others. If there is someway you
    can do this I would be so appreciative.
    Sincere thanks,
    Bro. Tom Anderson

    Tom Anderson

    August 20, 2010 at 12:14 am

  8. Brother Ballestero,
    After reading this, I feel an undeniable guilt. I have been missing something, and this article has helped me to realize exactly what it is. Perhaps if I would stop the “drive to work” prayer and get more serious my cup would feel more full. Thank you for this!

    Tabitha Barham

    February 15, 2011 at 11:40 pm

  9. I absolutely love this!!! God has been speaking to my heart about this type of prayer. I’ve felt it heavy on my heart and this was just my confirmation. I’ve seen the difference it can make.


    April 19, 2015 at 1:52 pm

  10. I was at office and i had to go to the restroom to cry and pray, this touched my heart so deep. I hope we never lose that here in Perú.

    Johnny Vásquez

    August 24, 2018 at 10:08 am

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