A Guide To Intercessory Prayer
by Rev. Richard W. LaFountain

Intimate Prayer Patterns
"Lord, teach us to pray."
Tough Stuff
Becoming a praying person is not easy. The disciples soon discovered that 
prayer was work, and did not fit into their world-style of fun things to 
do. Yet they watched Jesus prayer and something inside was stirred. They 
wanted to pray as Jesus prayed, so they began to ask, not once, but over 
and over, "Lord, teach us to pray."  

An important lesson in Christian living is the realization that we are no 
different than the disciples or the people of Israel. We do the same 
things, have the same hang-ups, fail in our disciplines, are tempted and 
sin in the same ways, and struggle with the same life-long issues they 
struggled with. 

Learning to pray is a basic Christian discipline, and most of us think we 
learn it but never succeed in it. Praying is not asking – that is only the 
tip of the iceberg. Real prayer is intimacy in one’s relationship with God. 
It is prioritizing God in more than our rhetoric. It means having a time, a 
place, and a plan by which we spend rich luxurious amounts of time alone 
with God. It is the satisfaction of the heart-longing that David expressed 
for all God-seekers – "as the deer pants for the waterbrooks, so my soul 
pants for you O God." and "One thing have I desired, that will I seek 
after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever and inquire in his 

Secret of Prayer
True satisfaction in prayer will never come until we learn the secrets of 
intimacy. Intimacy means secret prayer, as Jesus expressed it to his 
disciples and as David announced it in Psalm 91:1, "He that dwells in the 
secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the 
Almighty."  David was obsessed with "dwelling" with God, and being in 
secret places with Him. Until we discover that secret love-affair with God 
we will never pray effectively. Prayer is not asking God, but living with 
God and loving God with all our inner being. 

Prayer Habits
It is with this intimacy factor in mind that we have redefined our own 
prayer habits. The following guide to intimacy in prayer is our own journey 
into the depths of God’s love. There is indeed a pattern for entering into 
God’s presence. David found it and spoke of it. Psalm 24 and 100 serve as 
templates for effective intimacy in prayer.

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? He that has clean hands and a 
pure heart… Open the gates (lift up your heads you gates)!  And be lifted 
up you everlasting doors and the King of Glory will come in."  (Ps 24:3-7)

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: 
be thankful unto him, and bless his name." (Ps 100:4) 

What is the principle? 
Gates must be opened and entered into. There is a proper way to enter into 
the Holy of Holies and an improper way. Too often we quote Hebrews 4:16 
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace…"  as an excuse to 
barge into the presence of God without thought or preparation, but that is 
not the intent of the writer. There is a right way and a wrong way to come 
into his presence. 

A Pattern For Intimate Prayer
A disciplined prayer life is to obey God rather than our own hurried inclinations, to take time to be holy, is to enter the presence of the living God with reverence and holy awe. This is God’s appointed way, not our cleaver devising. Let His Word be your teacher on how enter into intimate prayer times with God. Make this your pattern, for it is God’s pattern, and you will be blessed. Holy men of God, the monks, learned this secret a thousand years before us, and it is no less powerful today. Intimacy with God is not found in the marketplace but in the secret quiet place. Be Still Psalm 46:10 "be still and know that I am God." Isaiah 30:15 "in quietness and confidence would be your strength." Behold His Beauty Psalm 27:4 "to behold the beauty of the Lord." Psalms 104:34 "My meditation of you will be sweet." Be Thankful Ps 92:1 "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord." Ps 100:4 "Enter his gates with thanksgiving… be thankful unto him." Confess our sins Ps 32:5 "I acknowledge my sin unto you, and my iniquity…I will confess my transgressions" I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins he is faithful…to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Cover our nakedness Psalms 32:1 "blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." Rev 3:18 "I counsel of you to gold… white raiment… that the shame of your nakedness does not appear." Cast our burdens Ps 55:22 "Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you." 1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you." Now that all this is done we may enter into the holy of holies. "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:22) Now let’s look at each of these steps of intimacy carefully and in detail.