“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise” (James 5:13).

John Henry Jowett writes about the mighty ministry of intercession. Sometimes the word intercession sounds rather bland. And mighty? When we intercede for others, most of us wonder whether anything will really change.

In times of crisis, we may pour out our hearts for those in danger or those swamped with grief. But at other times we may drift away from intercession, letting it slip to the margins. Yet praying for others—interceding on their behalf with our heavenly Father—may indeed create mighty results. Remember the remarkable story of what Jesus said to Peter, who was soon to be assaulted by the devil. “Simon, Simon…Satan has desired to have you” (Luke 22:31). What was going on in the spiritual realm that impinges on our own? Jesus knew that momentous spiritual battles were raging, and he said to Peter—right after telling him that Satan was after him— “But I have prayed for you” (Luke 22:32). Jowett says this: “That ‘but’ is the massing of the forces of heaven against the subtle hordes of hell. Let me ever remember that the Lord’s prayers are always the conveyers of holy power to those for whom he prays.” That’s enormous comfort when we consider that, according to Scripture, Jesus prays for us now as we struggle in our own spiritual warfare—as does the Holy Spirit “with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (Romans 8:26).

Jowett writes, “When we invent little devices to protect us against the evil one, he laughs. It is like a child erecting sand ramparts against the sea. The only thing that makes the devil fear is the presence of God.” Jesus intercedes for us. He is present with us as we pray. And we have the golden opportunity to intercede through Beseeching the Forces of Heaven prayer for others, because Satan is like a lion looking for whom he may devour. As Jowett says, “Only God can deal with devils.”

Adapted from “The One Year Book of Encouragement”