Frankie Mazzapica - Intercession For Those Who Are In Despair
Thank you for tuning in today. My name is Frankie Mazzapica. The title of the message is "Intercession For Those Who Are in Despair". Intercession, let me just share with you a working definition of what intercession is. Intercession is when you go before the Lord and you're representing someone while you're praying. You don't know if that person is praying themselves, but you are going to pray for them. If someone is praying for themself, but you feel a burden that their prayer would be answered, you are going before the most high God and you are bringing their need before them. Intercession, people who pray from an intercession position are telling God, "I am going to pray, I am going to worship until you do what I know you already want to do". It's like I am going to knock on this door, I am going to ring the doorbell.
Have you ever had somebody do that? They come up, they knock on the door and you think to yourself, "I'm gonna pretend like I'm not home". Hello, just nod at me. I'm gonna pretend like I'm not home, I'm gonna just kind of duck down so they can't look through the windows. You're looking at me like I'm the only one that does that, that's cool. But after a while, some of these relentless go boo-boo-boo-boo-boo, boo-boo-boo-boo, and as you're walking up to the the door, you're thinking, "Okay, okay, I'm coming," and then you just, "I'm coming, I'm coming," but down here, you're like, "Come on, stop knocking". This is what the scripture is saying, I am going to knock, I am going to pray, and I'm not going to stop until my friend, until my family, until what I need begins to take place. This is what intercessors do. Come on, are you with me this morning? Encourage me.
So I wanna just lay the foundation, I got three major points. The first point is, people who intercede determine whether battles are won or lost. Number two, people who intercede begin to fight for the destiny of others so that their destiny may prevail. Number three, people who intercede cause freedom to the people who are heavy burdened or stuck in addiction or are depressed. These are the things that happen when you intercede. So let me just lay the foundation of where I'm getting this sermon. It's in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 8, where Paul says this. "I do not want you to be unaware". "I don't want you to be unaware of the afflictions that we experienced while we were in Asia. For they were utterly burdensome beyond our strengths. We despaired life itself".
See, so often we want to portray ourselves as if everything is perfect, I'm good, I'm okay. "Hey, how you doing"? I'm good. "How's the family"? Good. I asked somebody the other day, I said, "Hey, look, give me your high-low, what's the best thing going on? What's the biggest challenge that's going on"? He goes, "Well, the best thing that's going on is my family is doing good, God is blessing my business. And the worst thing that's going on is, man, I'm just working too hard". And I'm like, "Are we gonna play this game? You're working too hard"? It's kind of like when you go to a job interview and the guy says, "Tell me your weaknesses," like you're gonna tell them your weaknesses. You're not gonna say, "You know what? I hate getting up in the morning, I gotta be real honest with you. You know, when I work, I like to surf the internet and just look at Facebook, you know, I get bored while I'm working, if I'm gonna be real honest".
No, you don't say that. What do you say? "Uh, sometimes I just work too hard". It's like, really? That's your biggest weakness, you're overly committed to the company? Are we really gonna play this game? The Apostle Paul says, "I'm not playing this game, I want you to know that things are so hard I despair life itself. I don't even think I wanna live another day". See, the Apostle Paul had already gone through things that are unimaginable. It wasn't that he couldn't pay his bills, no, no, no, no, no, it's far worse than that, even though that is incredibly stressful, incredibly stressful. But he received 39 lashes with a whip 5 different times. If you were to take off his shirt, all you would see is criss-cross slashes. He was stoned once, he was beaten with rods three times, he was shipwrecked three times.
Now, the largest muscles in the room, the tallest man in the room, it would be unbearable, regardless of how big you are, how strong, it would be unbearable for you to handle that type of torture. But for Paul, it was even more difficult, he was 4'9," he was hunchbacked, he was bowlegged, he was bald, which, so, he was kind of good looking if we're... He had a unibrow, his nose was crooked, so he was at least partially Italian. I'm Italian, I can say that. And so his nose was partially crooked. So you take this small stature of a man and you whip him 39 times 5 times, he's backing up and he's saying, "Look, I'm gonna be real honest, my life is not great, and the worst thing, the weakest thing, the biggest challenge is not that I work too hard, the biggest challenge I'm facing is I don't even want to live anymore".
And so, all of a sudden, something starts happening to him and the people that signed up to go on this missionary trip with him. I'm laughing because the people who signed up to go on the missionary trip imagined just saving souls and praying for people and looking for the poor. And here they are in prison, locked up, getting beat. And they're backing up and they're thinking to themselves, "Paul, you have misled me". But anyway, and so, all of a sudden, Paul shifts, something happens on the inside. He goes from despair to, he ends up chuckling and laughing with the people who are with him, he starts finding this joy. And the definition of joy is not happiness, happiness is an emotion that kind of comes and goes, joy is when you begin to notice things in your life that you didn't notice before and it makes you appreciate all the things God has done for you. That's joy.
When you have no joy, you don't see those things, the only thing you see is trouble surrounding you from every direction. So they start feeling joy. And then Paul realizes what's happening, he says, "Somebody's praying for me". He pulls out a pen and writes the church in Corinth. And he writes, in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 11, he says, "And you are helping us when you pray for us". He stared at everything in his life, the battle was being won, not only by his own prayers, but by the prayers of others.
My father is a preacher. When I was born, he was my pastor. He used to be an evangelist, and he went to New Mexico when I was about, let me think, I knew what grade I was in. I think I was in the sixth grade, so I don't know how old that made me, I think it was eleven, twelve. But anyway, he went to go preach to the Navajo Indians, and it was a four-day trip. And it was crazy because I woke up in the middle of the night every single night, begging God that my father would not die. I was crying, I had my face in the carpet. I had no idea why this was happening to me, I just knew that I was begging God that my father would not die. And then, on the very last night, about midnight, around 2 o'clock in the morning, all of a sudden that worry, that fear, it was gone, and I felt scared that it was gone.
I was like, "Am I... is my...and I got sleepy and I went to sleep. My dad came home and my dad has always had asthma, and he forgot his inhaler, and every single night he was laying there. And he said, "As I was breathing in and breathing out, it was like breathing through a straw". See, my prayers, just as a young boy, determined whether or not that battle was gonna be won or whether it was going to be lost. Come on, put your hands together for that. When somebody crosses your mind for no apparent reason at all, the Lord is saying, "I need you to pray for them, they need you to pray for them". It may just cross your mind.
You may find yourself emotional and crying, or they may just cross your mind. That's the Lord saying, "They need you to pray for them, they're fighting a battle and it will be won or lost on whether or not. They are praying for themselves, but even if they're too weak to pray for themselves, it is your prayer that will determine whether or not it is won or lost". And if you're unsure, if you need a testimony to support my testimony and Paul's scripture, go talk to some parents in this room who prayed for their kid, even when their kid was not praying for themselves. Go talk to them and let them tell you, "My kid was looking for the Grand Canyon so they could just jump in, and I was praying for them, and he's doing good, she's doing good now". Can anyone testify to that?
The second point is, intercessors fight for people's destiny, God's assignment on their life. See, it is too easy in life for us to get distracted with a good thing but not a God thing, it's a good thing to do, it's a thing that you need to do or you want to do, but it's not necessarily God's assignment on your life. And when you see a loved one and you know, like you know your name, that there is something that God wants them to do, but they're not acknowledging that assignment. You may not even know what God wants them to do, but you know down in here that it's important and you don't want them to get distracted.
A person who prays from an intercessory standpoint fights for their destiny. Paul had a young man that he has embraced as his own, he wasn't his blood father, he was his spiritual father. I have a mother that I call my mother in the Lord. She didn't birth me, but she spiritually rescued me. Had it not been for her, I wouldn't be here right now, if it were not for her, I would know what a cool cell feels like, but she identified me, she saw me, she chased me. She lived in Chicago, Illinois, she was a pastor's wife, which meant nothing, because I didn't even know she was a pastor's wife when I met her, and she called me every single day for a year until she convinced me that God had a call of God on my life.
This is what a mother in the Lord does, this is what a father in the Lord does. And Paul said this, he said, "Timothy," this is in 2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 3, he says, "Night and day I am constantly praying for you". Timothy was unsure about the call of God on his life, he got stomach aches because he was so full of anxiety, he didn't think he was old enough, he was unsure with what he had to say. And Paul says this, "Night and day I'm praying for you". He's fighting for his destiny.
Point number three, intercessors fight for a person's freedom even if they're not praying for themselves. People who intercede for others are like lifeguards that cause a person who's drowning to be saved. People who intercede for others are like paramedics that stay with a person until bravery rises up in their heart. This is what people who intercede do. In Mark chapter 9, there was a man who had a son who was full of demons. These demons would cause him to go into seizures and become rigid, it caused him to grind his teeth. And in those days, there were no heaters or air conditioners, so every time they built a fire the demon would pull him into the fire to try to kill him.
Any time they passed a lake or go along the sea to go fishing, the demon would try to pull him down and drown him. No, demons don't do that today, specifically, but what they do do is they grab people and try to drown them in addiction, drown them in fear, drown them in anxiety, to where they're no longer the person that God has called them to be. Now, they are a shell just trying to make it through a day. This is when demons come in and distract and pull. Now, I'm not saying everything is a demon, but what I am saying is that there's more demonic activity than what we will ever know and there is far more than what we realize. And we are making a horrible mistake, and we are falling into the devil's trap when we think that nothing is a demon, because he's laughing.
The Bible says, Genesis chapter 4, verse 7, that he sits at our door, in waiting, to pounce, waiting like a jungle cat crouched down, hiding in the bushes, with a tail that looks like it's like a coat hanger, still. And he's waiting for an opportune time, one moment where you get distracted, one moment and he jumps into our life. And when he jumps, he plays both sides of the door. On one side of the door, he says, "It's really not a big deal," but as soon as you do it, he's on the other side of the door and he says, "I can't believe you said that, I can't believe you did that," and guilt begins to saturate. This is how the enemy comes in. And when you intercede for yourself, the claw of the enemy just begins to shorten and slip, and he's got to run away like a wounded dog.
But then, the loved ones, all of a sudden they begin to experience freedom. The man, there was a man in Mark chapter 9, he brings his son who is being controlled by a demon. And he comes to Jesus and he says, "Will you please pray for my son? Are you willing to heal my son"? I love those words, "Are you willing"? because it is easier for us to believe that God will do a miracle in someone else's life, but to believe that he's willing to do a miracle in our own life, now that is far more of a challenge. And so, the Lord looks at him, in Mark chapter 9, verse 23, and he says, "All things are possible to those who believe". And all of a sudden panic rose up in the father's heart and he goes, "I don't even know if I believe you can do this, but I'm talking to you because I have no other options".
And so he looks at Jesus and he says, "Will you help my unbelief"? And the Lord looks at him with compassion, he lays his hand on his son, and he's completely delivered. Notice that the son did not come to Jesus, notice that the son did not pray, it was his father who prayed for him that brought freedom into his life. The power in your prayer is far greater than you or I will ever know. If we knew how powerful our prayers were, we would take serious what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Don't ever," ever, "Stop praying". Just pray all the time, don't ever come out of it. And sometimes the devil will say, "Well, you are not blocking time alone with God, and so therefore, you shouldn't even try to pray".
Well, you know what? Your appointment with God is the most important thing that you will ever do, but Smith Wigglesworth once said this. "I don't always pray for a half an hour, but I never let a half an hour go by without praying". He's constantly praying, he's constantly, every single thought that crosses his mind, he prays about it. Every time a discouraging thought comes to his mind, immediately he begins to praise God. "God, I love you, I thank you that you love me, I thank you that you're with me, I love you," because depression and fear are muted when you praise God. It is muted, come on, it is muted. Every time someone crosses your mind and you feel like that their only goal in life is to torment you, and they cross your mind, immediately you start praising him.
"Lord, I thank you, I thank you for what you're doing". I knew parents who had a son who was wayward. He was just, here's God right here, and he's going there, if God were over here, he's going there. And the mother and the father set their alarm, and every time the alarm went off, they would say, "Thank you, God, that you are relentlessly chasing my son. Thank you, God, that there are angels". And they set the alarm three times a day. Every time that alarm would go off, they would whisper the prayer if they were with people, they would say the prayer if they were alone, they were interceding for their son. They interceded for months, months, and they kept that alarm going. And what was the result? Today, that kid loves God more than he loves himself. This is the power of intercession.