Be a placeholder – Intercessory worship

It was happening again.

For the third time within a month, my friend Sandy was having excruciating stomach pain, an indicator of another pancreatitis attack.

She thought she could drive herself to the ER, but wasn’t sure.

I didn’t want her to find out. I drove her to the hospital Friday myself.

She was weak. She was tired. She was down.

There are times when life hits us with one punch too many. Sandy had been taking hit after hit.

After seeing an ER doctor, she was admitted to the hospital (again, the third time within a month).

So she couldn’t be with our church yesterday for corporate worship.

I wished she could have been with us as we sang together:

Sickness can’t stay any longer
Your perfect love is casting out fear
You are the God of all power
And it is Your will that my life is healed

Then our worship leader paused midstream. He asked us to shift our focus. Instead of praying and singing for our ourselves, let’s do it for a family member, for a coworker, for a friend.

Intercessory worship.

I sang for Sandy, worshiping our Father and trusting for healing on every level on her behalf.

As her hope fades, I am holding hope for her.
As she prays, I join my prayers with hers.
And when she can’t be with us to worship together in person, I can offer worship in her stead.

I know she’d do the same for me. God places us in community for such times as these. To be placeholders for hope, for prayer, for worship. 

  • We see fresh futures for those who are trapped in unsatisfying pasts.
  • We believe in God’s goodness for those who have become discouraged.
  • We anticipate grace for those who’ve forgotten there’s a new supply every morning.

I trust my friend will return. We won’t have to hold her place for long.

But until she does, may we stand strong in her absence.

* * *

Has anyone ever held your place in line, physically or spiritually? Please share in the comments.

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41 thoughts on “Be a placeholder – Intercessory worship

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Bill. She’s supposed to be released from the hospital today, but there’s still much uncertainty on whether this will continue recurring.
      I had never thought of intercessory worship either until yesterday, but yes, intercessory prayer is definitely valuable and this seemed like such a great extension of that.

  1. ~Karrilee~

    Oh I don’t think that there is a Mama out there who hasn’t done some Intercessory Worship for her Littles (or not so Littles) from time to time! Praying for your friend and love the encouragement to be the Body and stand together – in worship and in prayer!

  2. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I’m so sorry about your friend! I can’t imagine how sad it is to keep trying to get help, only to feel so sick again. She is blessed to have such a good friend in you, praying and doing the physical things like driving for her too.

    When I broke my leg this year, a prayer group at church prayed for me every day. It was beautiful. I also got a Prayer Shawl as a gift from the church too. It is so comforting to know that I am missed, and covered in prayer. Prayer does change things, I know that first hand. Keep on interceding for your friend, it’s the best thing you can do.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I so appreciate you sharing your personal story, Ceil. How blessed you were by your church community! We all need those reminders that, yes, our prayers DO matter because sometimes it can seem futile when we don’t see immediate results. You’ve encouraged me to stay stronger in prayer for my friend.

  3. Jody Collins

    Lisa, of course I’ve heard of intercessory prayer(not my gift), but the idea of interceding in worship is wonderful…I will remember as I’m lifting my songs to the Lord that I can also be praying.

  4. Betsy de Cruz

    Beautiful encouragement here today, Lisa. I was especially drawn to your title because God has been calling me to more prayer and worship lately. I’m going to be a placeholder for my son who’s a freshman in college. He has heavy reading in a class, Christian Scriptures, so he’s not really reading scripture in a devotional time. I don’t say anything to him. (He knows what I think.) But I’m praying that God will give him more passion for Jesus!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, that freshman year is always a tough one for us mamas. 🙂 Praying that you find peace in prayer for your son, Betsy. Sending up a prayer right now for him (and you) myself.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate you praying for Sandy! I got to take her home from the hospital yesterday and shop for a zero-fat diet for a couple weeks as was recommended. (Yikes!) With God’s mercy, I’m hoping that it will help keep her out of pain.

  5. Jerralea

    Lisa, what a wonderful idea – intercessory worship, and also being a placeholder. Those are two revolutionary ideas to me! I’m definitely going to be thinking about this the next time I’m in worship mode.

    Praying your friend experiences total healing.

  6. Lois Flowers

    What a beautiful way to bear one another’s burdens, Lisa. I love the thought of intercessory worship … praising God in the place of someone who might not have the strength to praise Him herself. Your friend is blessed to have you in her life.

  7. Alyssa J Howard

    I love this! I was just reading today in my studies about how we are called to lift each other up as believers – to stand with one another in the faith. What a beautiful example of what it means to stand for a sister in Christ!

    Alyssa (visiting from #RaRalinkup)

  8. Tiffany

    Love this idea of being a placeholder, Lisa. There have been several times in my own life, when I was to weak to pray, and others did so on my behalf. It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing and I pray you’re friend finds health again soon.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve been in that position, too, Tiffany, and it’s always a blessing to know that others are interceding on our behalf. So when we can return the favor, it’s an honor. Thanks for your prayers for my friend!

  9. Ginger Harrington

    I have never thought of intercessory worship, but now that you mention it, I know I have done it. Last week in worship God put a friend’s needs on my heart and I prayed throughout the worship. Visiting you from #RaRaLinkUp and it is a welcome pleasure.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The phrase was new to me too, but yes, we’ve probably experienced the action at different times. Your friend is blessed that you lifted her up through your worship last week!

  10. Anita Ojeda

    YES! Many times :). I have felt rather discouraged about the new church I’m at (ok, I guess since we’ve been here it’s not ‘new’ any more), and I’ve actually texted friends from my old church and asked them to worship for me in song because I was having a difficult time singing at my new church (as in, I really missed the praise and worship part of my old church and how the harmonious sounds always covered my tuneless praise 😉 ).

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m sorry that your ‘new’ church is lacking in this area, Anita. That can be so frustrating, especially when you’ve gotten used to being blessed by it elsewhere. I know that I’m spoiled now where I am; I would have a hard time returning to a place that didn’t value worship in song with enthusiasm and spirit and truth. It makes such a difference to me. But it’s good that you still have friends at your old church who can hold you up where they are!

  11. Laura Thomas

    Just beautiful, Lisa. Worship is so powerful… I know often when I’m singing, a certain person will come to mind, but I love the idea of intentionally going into a song praying and praising on behalf of a specific someone. “Your perfect love is casting out fear” <3 Thanks so much for this… stopping by from Tell His Story 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a blessing you have been to others, Laura, by doing this. When I think that others may have been doing this on my behalf at times when I’ve been unaware–it floors me. And to know we can do it for others anytime! God is good to allow us to “work” with him behind the scenes. 🙂

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