Mankind tends to get into excesses. It is a common tendency of people to binge or have some sort of excesses. Many seem harmless, and some are very dangerous and unwise.
Some become ALCOHOLICS, and they have an uncontrollable urge to drink liquor.
WORKAHOLICS can't stop working, and will go from duty to duty, and seem to have an insatiable desire to continue.
Some CHAIN SMOKERS cannot stay in church for the whole service because of the need to light up and inhale a cigarette.
Some COFFEE ADDICTS need three cups before they are fit to converse in the morning.
DRUG ADDICTS will steal, lie, or do most anything to get more drugs.
GLUTTONS overdo the need for sustenance. Some are lazy, and rest 20 hours a day.
Some are SOAP OPERA ADDICTS and cannot miss an episode.
A WORRIER will spend all day worrying over many things which will never come to pass.
A recreation FAN ("fan" is short for "fanatic") will miss church, skip Bible reading and prayer, etc. all to see their Super Bowl, or World Series, etc.
A BUSYBODY will do most anything to find out someone else's business. They want to involve themselves in God's business of judging, instead of the saint's business of loving.
NAGS, or CONSTANT COMPLAINERS will be sure to figure out a list of complaints, for they have nothing else about which they want to talk. They are always ready to tell you the reasons they cannot serve God, or the reasons they disagree with the sermon, etc.
Many people are "BINGERS" who will go from one binge to another.
Excesses can so distract us that the rapture will sneak up on us, our loved ones can remain in sin, or backslide to that state unnoticed, our own spiritual strength can slump, etc. without us noticing. We are warned in the Bible to "take heed to ourselves".
"Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."
There are many who have become "overcharged with surfeiting, ...drunkenness, and the cares of this life." We may tend toward binges and excesses, but we most often tend toward the wrong binges and improper excesses. This is why "temperance" is commanded.
I Corinthians 9:25
"Every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things (The text is speaking food-wise)."
"Let your moderation be known unto all men."
"Temperance" is a fruit of the Spirit. This means it is one of the natural bestowments upon us at salvation. It is either allowed to mature and grow, or can be hindered in our Christian lives. Mary and Martha were both Godly women, yet one tended toward being a "workaholic", and thereby missed some great lessons from the Lord. We need to beware of excesses, and need to control ourselves. Temperance often needs to be exercised.
One excess that is rare to see is one who becomes a PRAYERAHOLIC. It is easy to become a FAN, or an ALCOHOLIC... and many do become entangled in those excesses. Then, why is it so rare to find a PRAYERAHOLIC? It is one of several excesses that we are commanded to have. Over and over in Scripture we are commanded to pray - "always, in everything, everywhere, for all things, and for all men..."
"...men ought always to pray..."
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit..."
"Continue in prayer..."
I Thessalonians 5:17
"Pray without ceasing."
I Timothy 2:8
"I will therefore that men pray everywhere..."
"From the rising of the sun, unto the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised."
"Seven times a day do I praise Thee because of thy righteous judgments."
Moses was a PRAYERAHOLIC.
"Thus I fell down before the Lord 40 days and 40 nights... because the Lord had said He would destroy you..."
Samuel was a PRAYERAHOLIC.
I Samuel 12:23
"As for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you."
Anna was an PRAYERAHOLIC.
"She was a widow of about four score and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day..."
We need to learn to be PRAYERAHOLICS, and the Lord definitely needs PRAYERAHOLICS.
I Peter 4:7
"The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
PRAYERAHOLICS will not get stuck on one type of prayer. The true PRAYERAHOLIC will not just give requests. There will also be supplications, praise, thanks, and intercession. As an alcoholic will not just drink one kind of liquor, but will drink whatever is available. True PRAYERAHOLICS will pray, supplicate, intercede, praise, give thanks.... just to keep communing with the Almighty God.
INTERCESSORS are too much alone. Much of the work of intercessory prayer is private between God and you. There are times when we need a helper.
"If two of you agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father Which is in heaven."
Sometimes Jesus would go to be alone and pray. But sometimes, He would ask for others to accompany and pray with Him. We are to be bound together as believers, and we should sometimes seek to be part of an INTERCESSION TEAM.
"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor." For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together, they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart."
We do need each other. Individuals cannot function effectively without deep links to each other. Isolationalism brings unhealthy and unhappy results. Total isolation is virtually always intolerable.
Many Christians do not get into prayerful relationships with friends or even family. This is sad, and unfortunate. The devil encourages this isolation trap. The Bible emphasizes the word "koinonia" which means "fellowship." This conveys the idea of sharing, having something in common with another, entering into another's life, assisting another." We must learn to take off our masks of "perfection", "superiority", and "spiritual maturity", and learn to humble ourselves and admit our vulnerability and our need of fellowship.
To be an effective INTERCESSOR, we need to be able to feel another's hurt to become effective instruments of prayer. To live a life of isolation will make us unable to empathize and effectively intercede.
As you enter into the ministry of INTERCESSION, you will find that your love has been growing, your sensitivity to the hurts and problems of others is growing. A third benefit of intercession is to find that you begin to hear the voice of God more clearly, and more often.
To align yourself with an INTERCESSION TEAM, will instigate some true koinonia. It may be a PRAYER CHAIN, or a CLOSE SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP with another intercessor. It is ideal when two partners in marriage can develop an intercessory ministry together. Simply by sharing the same prayer list, and occasionally praying at the same time, and discussing the needs and hurts of others about whom both are praying will develop a great, and powerful team of intercession.
This fellowship of an INTERCESSION TEAM will destroy some of the attacks of the devil.
The devil seeks to bring us suffering, but fellowship and being part of an intercession team will cause the uplifting of the one against whom the devil has made the attack.
Burnout and fatigue are conquered when an intercession team prays. When one is tired, and exhausted, the other can pick up the slack, and the first can momentarily rest without feeling the guilt of having given up.
When one of the team fails, the other is there to gently guide, lead, and intercede for the fallen. Many of the rest of Christianity will "shoot the wounded", but the team partner with whom there is humble admission of sins and faults will be able to restore with love and humility.
In the INTERCESSION TEAM, there needs to be admission of the need of the other. They should cultivate deep relationships, and commit self to caring and praying about the problems of others without condemnation.
Make a covenant with God to be an intercessor. Find other intercessors to stand with you for others. Ask these team members to "agree" together for the needs of others. God will abundantly bless the intercessory prayers of the team. "One" will be able to "chase a thousand," but when God finds two who will agree together God will allow them to "chase ten thousand."
Psalms 133:1-2 NIV
"How GOOD AND PLEASANT it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like the precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard... down upon the collar of his robes."
INTERCESSION IN THE SPIRIT
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with GROANINGS WHICH CANNOT BE UTTERED. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
I Corinthians 14:2, 14
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries... For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful."
Some have falsely believed that when we pray in our prayer language, the devil is unable to understand what we say. This is a false concept. These are the tongues of men and angels. He is a fallen angel, who knows the languages of heaven, and he has been around long enough to know all the languages of earth. In Africa, for instance, some who are baptized into the Spirit, will speak in perfect English. Does the devil not know English in Africa? And if here in this country, when we are baptized into the Spirit, does the devil not know Japanese if that is the language that God gives us with which to pray?
It is not the devil who does not know what is prayed, it is we ourselves. As it says in I Corinthians 14:14, "my understanding is unfruitful." We do not understand what we are praying when we pray "in the Spirit." There are reasons for this. Sometimes, what God wants us to intercede about, is not for us to know at this time. You may be praying about an accident that will occur tomorrow, and if you knew about it, you wouldn't get into the car. However, God may be allowing the accident, but the injuries, the damage, and the possibility of fatality may be altered by intercession.
There are many such reasons that the Lord may want you to pray in tongues. This is a very vital part of being an intercessor. Anyone without this gift of the Spirit will be seriously hampered in their ministry of intercession.
Surely, there are many warnings and directions concerning the use of "tongues" and "interpretation" of these tongues. They can be used out of turn in a church service (I Corinthians 14:27). They can profit nothing in a church service if love is not present (I Corinthians 13). Tongues can be done "decently and in order" (I Corinthians 14:40). Paul said that he prayed in tongues more than all of them in Corinth to whom he was speaking (I Corinthians 14:18).
The use of "tongues" in our intercessory prayers is for the most part a private use of this gift, outside the church services. We pray privately to God alone, and pray in a language that we do not understand. We do not understand what we are asking, yet the Spirit is giving our spirit this unknown tongue to ask God for things that are His will for us to have. This assures us that God will be answering these prayers.
"So what" - if we do not know what we are praying. We know that whatever it is, it is God's will. We know God hears our prayers when we pray according to His will. And if He hears, He will answer. Intercession is hard, if we do not know how or what to pray. Praying in the Spirit is a perfect and needed resolution of that problem.
When we are tired, sick, confused, unsure of God's will, or having to concentrate on our working or driving... we can pray in the Spirit. Intercession can go on, unhindered, flowing easily. As you pray in the Spirit, your mind is at rest, and your spirit prays unhindered by the limitations of the human mind.
Sometimes there are deep mysteries in our lives. Why did God do this? Why did He not do that? Will He ever do this other thing? Is it possible for Him to do ...? Praying in the Spirit can give us rest, that even though we do not have answers to all things now, we can still intercede in the Spirit and know we are praying according to His will.
Try it, speak in tongues and intercede in this manner, as well as in your own language. See if your prayers suddenly have more effectiveness. If your life hasn't changed in a week, then don't keep on! I am certain it will have drastically changed.