5 Things To Know About Intercessory Prayer
1. Intercessory prayer leads us to pray as Jesus did.
"Intercession is a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of all men, especially sinners. He is 'able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them'... Since Abraham, intercession — asking on behalf of another — has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God's mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ's, as an expression of the communion of saints." - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2634 and 2635
2. The Holy Spirit is the best guide for us in our intercessory prayer.
"On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of the Promise was poured out on the disciples, gathered 'together in one place' (Acts 2:1). While awaiting the Spirit, 'all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer' (Acts 1:14). The Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls for her everything that Jesus said was also to form her in the life of prayer... The Holy Spirit 'himself intercedes for us... and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God' (Acts 2:1)" - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2623 and 2634
3. The intercessor's first movement is to ask God for forgiveness.
"The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' (Luke 18:13). It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that 'we receive from him whatever we ask' (1 John 3:22). Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer." - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2631
4. Through intercessory prayer, we grow in charity because we move beyond our own needs to those of others.
"In intercession, he who prays looks "not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others," even to the point of praying for those who do him harm. The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely. Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel but also intercedes for them. The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: "for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions," for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel. - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2635 and 2636
5. Through intercessory prayer, we grow in humility because we learn to rely on God's providence, even in the midst of struggles.
"By prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him... Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God...The 'spiritual battle' of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer." - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2629 and 2725