by Catherine Marshall  

One morning I awoke with a very heavy spirit.  The acute needs of many people were on my mind and heart, a large portion of them coming to me through the mail.  It seemed we were all under assault amid a growing spiritual warfare that appeared to be heading for some gigantic climax.  As I prayed for help in answering these letters, a vision began to take the shape in my mind.  It was composed of two parts: one was of this huge group of people, wounded, thirsty, frightened sheep who had lost their way and were reaching out frantically asking for help.

The second was a picture of a growing number of Christians - those with the time and the desire to do something for others.  In letters I received from some of these, they were forever asking, "how can I make my life really count for something?  I would like to serve Jesus in some way.  Or, "All around me people in need... folks needier than I am.  My heart goes out to them.  Yet how can I help?"

In the vision I saw these two parts (need and supply) coming together through some central, coordinating effort.  The passion in Jesus' heart has always been "feed My sheep." Those asking for prayer were often so lonely and isolated.  They had such a desperate need to know that Jesus loved them.  Jesus' way is to demonstrate His love to those hungry ones through His people so that they may know the care of other human beings.  On the other side are those with the time to care, time to write letters, time to telephone, time to pray.

During this same period, certain books and pamphlets had come into my hands stressing the fact that intercessory prayer is the most important work there is in the kingdom. In fact, so important that the Pioneer and Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ Himself, "ever liveth to make intercession" for us (Hebrews 7:25).

Having accomplished our redemption on His cross, the glorified Lord’s chief work before the Father’s throne is intercession for us. He is our perfect High Priest (Hebrews 2:10, 17, 18). But to complete His work, He also needs some of us on earth to share His concern, His passionate caring. And to be His Hands, His Feet and His Voice in co-intercession. Only then is the circle completed from heaven to earth and back to the Father’s throne again.

But let’s admit it: intercession is work. It means caring about others as much as ourselves, as well as sacrificing our time. And if I am anything like the typical Christian, I know all too little about the "how" of praying for others. So in my vision I saw that some teaching about intercessory prayer would be necessary, including sharing fresh insights and discoveries. All of that would take regular communication through a printed newsletter.

"It seems like a big order," I protested. "Are not My dreams always big ones?" came the gentle reply. And the dream lingered on and on.  It would not go away