Sabbath School Lesson for July 18-24, 2020


Various aspects of intercessory prayer were examined this week:

  • Why we need to pray for others? (Sunday)
  • Who is OUR Intercessor? (Monday)
  • What were some examples of Paul’s intercessory prayers? (Tuesday)
  • How was Daniel’s intercessory prayer answered? (Wednesday)
  • How do we keep our prayers focused? (Thursday)


No plans for a witnessing ministry would be complete without prayer. There are many ways prayer is essential in our outreach efforts, and we should do all we can to make it a part of our partnership with God.

Intercessory prayer, however, is often misunderstood, underappreciated, and neglected. But, it informs us of witnessing opportunities and empowers us to do the work we are called to do.

We must remember that God never forces the will of anyone on earth. Therefore, our prayer requests become invitations for God to work even harder to save those for whom we pray. It is also a beautiful way to keep our connection with God open and strong, and will strengthen our ministry and our faith, as no other witnessing tool can.

Memory Text: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 NKJV

Praying for one another is something we are expected to do–as fellow believers, or just fellow travelers on this sinful planet. We can all use the prayers of someone who cares about us enough to mention us by name in their prayers.

It’s these kind of prayers that will give power to our witnessing efforts.

Sunday: A Cosmic Struggle

Many have questioned how intercessory prayer works, but we should not allow our incomplete understanding to prevent us from utilizing this valuable form of communication with God. We are dealing with an unseen enemy, with “spiritual wickedness in high places”  (Ephesians 6:12 KJV). We can’t afford to be without all the armor of God, which includes prayer (Ephesians 6:18).

There is a cosmic conflict going on between Christ and Satan, and prayer for spiritual help is needed to keep us working on the side of good in the universe. There will understandably be things we won’t be able to comprehend about intercessory prayer, but we have examples and directions in the Bible to do it. Prayer keeps us focused on the final victory that has been promised God’s people when we pray fervently for God’s will to be done in all things.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Revelation 12:7-9, Jude 9, Daniel 10:13, 21

  • Since the Messiah is sometimes referred to as a prince (Daniel 9:25), why is it commonly believed that the one who goes to battle with Satan is Christ, the Messiah?
  • Why is Jesus the only one strong enough for these close encounters with the devil?

Ephesians 6:12, 18

  • Why is prayer for divine aid always needed in our battles with evil?

2 Corinthians 10:4, 5

  • What kind of weapons are needed to fight off Satan?
  • Why must there be more than outward obedience to God, in order to be protected from Satan’s attacks?

Monday: Jesus–The Mighty Intercessor

Jesus’ success as the Master Soul Winner was no doubt tied to His prayer life. At His baptism, we first hear of Him praying (Luke 3:21), when it says that while He prayed, heaven was opened. His Father and all the heavenly hosts were tuned in to the requests of the Word made flesh (John 1:14).

Numerous times in the Gospels we read of Jesus retiring to a solitary place and addressing His Father. The disciples must have heard and known of these prayers, because one day, they asked Him to teach them how to pray as well.

We do know the content of one of His prayers. This was when He prayed for the disciples, as told in John 17. And what an intercessory prayer that was! He not only prayed for the disciples He lived and traveled with in Judea, but for all those who believed and followed Him in later years (John 17:20).

That means you and I, as Christians, have been automatically put on Christ’s prayer list. We, in turn, need to pray for those who have not accepted their Savior yet. No wonder we are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)! The field is wide open for those needing our prayers.

Bible Verses to Consider:

John 3:21,22

  • Why was Jesus’ prayer so instantly acknowledged on the day of His baptism?

Luke 5:16, Luke 9:18, and Matthew 14:23

  • Why is it important for us to pray alone at times?

John 17:20

  • How does it make you feel to know that Jesus prayed for you specifically?

Tuesday: Paul’s Intercessory Prayer

The introductions to several of Paul’s epistles (letters) included his prayers for them. Many who received these letters were new converts in newly-formed churches where Paul had ministered. He invited them to pray for him, as he was praying for them–an accurate description of intercessory prayer.

His introductory words about prayer made his letters more personal, encouraging, and faith-building. His readers knew they came from a  loving heart. Paul assured them that he cared about their welfare, and wanted them to grow in their relationship with God. And prayer was seen as an active calling to bring about these spiritual results.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Ephesians 1:15-18

  • What were some of the things Paul prayed for, when he “mentioned” them in prayer?

Philippians 1:3-11

  • What were some of the expressions Paul used that made them feel like he really loved and cared about them?
  • Why is it necessary to express our love to others, in actual words, in addition to our actions?

Wednesday: Unseen Powers at Work

Although we’ve been told that there are unseen powers at work in the universe, this was seen clearly during one of Daniel’s prayers. Daniel had been praying fervently for the meaning of one of his visions that included a time prophecy.

He needed more understanding about when God’s people would be able to return to their homeland, as the seventy-year prediction of the prophet Jeremiah was getting close, and there was no indication yet that the Jews would be able to safely return to Jerusalem. Had there been some misunderstanding of the time of their release from captivity in Babylon, now Medo-Persia?

Daniel was desperate to know what was going to happen to his fellow believers. And God did not disappoint him in revealing the events foretold. But, the angel who provided the answer to his prayers also explained the reason for the delay in coming.

Daniel 10:10-14 tells us that there had been some inner spiritual struggles with unseen forces that hindered the angel’s work. Michael, who many believe represents Christ, was sent to help him fight off the “kings of Persia”, who must symbolize Satan in this heavenly dispute.

How reassuring it is that Jesus Himself is available to see that our prayers for others are fulfilled. Those delays in getting answers to our intercessory prayers do not mean that God is not working desperately to answer our requests.

We must trust that God is doing everything possible to save those for whom we pray. Satan doesn’t make it easy for Him, but we can trust that our prayers really do make a difference in the lives of those for whom we pray.

Bible Verses to Consider:

Daniel 10:10-14, 12:1, Revelation 12:7, and Jude 9

  • Why is it reasonable to conclude from these verses that Michael is referring to Christ?
  • Why did the problem Daniel was facing warrant the Son of God’s intervention?

Thursday: Prayer Focus

One way to keep our focus while praying for others is to be as specific in our requests as possible. We can do this without prescribing our own solutions–we shouldn’t be telling God how to do His work. But we can safely express our heart’s desire for the answer that makes the most sense to us.

God wants to hear what’s on our hearts, whether it be questions, disappointments, or, sometimes even, complaints. So long as our prayers are earnest expressions of our burdened heart, God will do all He can to honor our intercessory prayers.

Paul, Samuel, Job, and others in the Bible were prayer warriors for their friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We, too, can join them in praying for those with whom we labor in love.

Bible Verses to Consider:

1 Samuel 12:23 and Job 16:21

  • Why is it necessary to pray for others? How does it improve our focus in life?
  • When do our prayers mostly sound like pleading with God?

Luke 11:1

  • Why are some people hesitant to pray out loud, and is this an unwarranted fear?
  • In what ways should we use Jesus’ model prayer, known as The Lord’s Prayer?

Friday: Conclusion

Many times the prayers that are spoken about in the Bible were intercessory in nature. God’s people tend to pray for those they care about, and there are many reasons why this kind of prayer is effective in our witnessing efforts.

Praying for others…

  1. draws the attention off our own trials in life and helps us overcome selfishness
  2. brings us even more compassion for the person we are praying for
  3. humbles us when we understand that our own failings must be addressed and forgiven before God can answer our prayer for another
  4. strengthens our relationship with God, because we are “working” with Him for someone’s salvation
  5. allows the Holy Spirit to speak to us about ways we can assist in winning someone for Christ

For all these reasons, and more, we can easily see why prayer is essential for us to become an effective witness for God.

Next Week’s Lesson: Spirit-Empowered Witnessing

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