<<prayer for others>>

Intercession is praying on behalf of others; it is intervening before God on the behalf of those in need of divine mercy and grace with intense earnest prayer,  to alter the outcome of what otherwise would have happened (1 Kgs 13:6; Ps 106:23; Jas 5:16).

sin has damaged     we need to see God intervene to restore 

Through prevailing praying we are "urged to make requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving for everyone...who wants all people to be saved...travailing until Christ be formed in them for His glory”, regardless of the personal cost to ourselves (Gal 4:19; 1 Tim 2:1,3,4). Focused intense prayer is the most aggressive, proactive and beneficial work we can engage in for God's Kingdom. It is not just a quick one-time prayer, but rather a request that is brought before the Lord many times until there a breakthrough (Lk 18:1-8).

Reflecting the OT pattern, as believers we have a ministry as priests, to stand between a righteous God and sinful man (1 Pet 2:5-9; Rev 1:6, 5:10). In OT times the blood of animal sacrifices was the means of approach before God; today because the blood sacrifice of Jesus was complete and does not have to be repeated we can approach God boldly bringing the sacrifice of our own lives, and praise to Him in intimate relationship (Rom 12:1; Heb 4:14-16, 13:15).

An intercessor, compelled by the seriousness of sin and its consequences when people are walking in rebellion with God, petitions the Lord to intervene. In humility, yet with a boldness claiming God’s Word that it is “not His will that any should perish” in hell, and that prayers spoken in faith will bring results, the pray-er claims God’s promise – “I will do whatsoever you ask in my name…” (Mt 7:7-11; Jn 14:13; 2 Pet 3:9; 1 Jn 5:14,15). The Lord is displeased when there is no intercession on behalf of the lost, with no one to pleading for them. Instead, may this be our commitment, “I will certainly not sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you” (1 Sam 12:23; Isa 59:16). 

OT cities were typically surrounded by a protective wall yet when there was a breach or weak point enemies could enter and attack the people. Soldiers standing in the gap able to repel invaders is a vivid picture of the role of an intercessor to protect vulnerable people who for whatever reason are unable to pray for themselves (Ezek 22:30). Jesus stood in the gap between the judgement of a righteous God and us guilty sinful humanity, who because of our sin has left us vulnerable to divine punishment. His sacrifice on the cross was the only acceptable payment to protect and restore us to God (1 Tim 2:5; 1 Pet 3:18). We are to follow His example and stand on behalf of others by pointing people to God and praying strategically because this is spiritual warfare on behalf of those whose minds are enslaved in ignorance and unable to effectively fight their own battles (Jn 13:15; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 6:12).

The Holy Spirit and Jesus are interceding for us before God’s throne (Isa 53:12; Rom 8:26,27,34; Heb 7:25).  The Bible instructs, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions…keep on praying for all the saints”. Paul exhorted his readers to “Be faithful in

      The power of intercession is under-estimated                                                                 until experienced

prayer...Pray also for me…Devote yourselves to prayer…pray for us" (Rom 12:12; Eph 6:18,19; Col 4:2,3). When he mentions "Pray without ceasing” this refers to having an attiude of prayer all the time, indicating a dependency on God (1 Thes 5:17).

Characteristics of an intercessor include: an intimacy with God; a boldness to speak up and challenge God’s stance as Abraham did (Gen 18:22-25); a conviction of God’s justice; a concern for God’s glory, not personal respect or honour; a dedication to the task, risking their own life; a willingness to identify with those being interceded for, using ‘we’ rather than ‘they’ (Dan 9:5,6).

See also: God's will, prayer, spiritual warfare, supplication.

Quite simply, intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others. The role of mediator in prayer was prevalent in the Old Testament, in the cases of Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel, Hezekiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Christ is pictured in the New Testament as the ultimate intercessor, and because of this, all Christian prayer becomes intercession since it is offered to God through and by Christ. Jesus closed the gap between us and God when He died on the cross. Because of Jesus’ mediation, we can now intercede in prayer on behalf of other Christians or for the lost, asking God to grant their requests according to His will. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

A wonderful model of intercessory prayer is found in Daniel 9. It has all the elements of true intercessory prayer. It is in response to the Word (v. 2); characterized by fervency (v. 3) and self-denial (v. 4); identified unselfishly with God’s people (v. 5); strengthened by confession (v. 5-15); dependent on God’s character (vv. 4, 7, 9, 15); and has as its goal God’s glory (vv. 16-19). Like Daniel, Christians are to come to God on behalf of others in a heartbroken and repentant attitude, recognizing their own unworthiness and with a sense of self-denial. Daniel does not say, “I have a right to demand this out of You, God, because I am one of your special, chosen intercessors.” He says, “I’m a sinner,” and, in effect, “I do not have a right to demand anything.” True intercessory prayer seeks not only to know God’s will and see it fulfilled, but to see it fulfilled whether or not it benefits us and regardless of what it costs us. True intercessory prayer seeks God’s glory, not our own.

The following is only a partial list of those for whom we are to offer intercessory prayers: all in authority (1 Timothy 2:2); ministers (Philippians 1:19); Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6); friends (Job 42:8); fellow countrymen (Romans 10:1); the sick (James 5:14); enemies (Jeremiah 29:7); those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44); those who forsake us (2 Timothy 4:16); and all men (1 Timothy 2:1).

There is an erroneous idea in contemporary Christianity that those who offer up intercessory prayers are a special class of “super-Christians,” called by God to a specific ministry of intercession. The Bible is clear that all Christians are called to be intercessors. All Christians have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and, just as He intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will (Romans 8:26-27), we are to intercede for one another. This is not a privilege limited to an exclusive Christian elite; this is the command to all. In fact, not to intercede for others is sin. “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23).

Certainly Peter and Paul, when asking others to intercede for them, did not limit their request to those with a special calling to intercession. “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (Acts 12:5). Notice it was the whole church that prayed for him, not just those with a gift of intercession. In Ephesians 6:16-18, Paul exhorts the Ephesian believers—all of them—on the fundamentals of the Christian life, which includes intercession “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Clearly, intercessory prayer is part of the Christian life for all believers.

Further, Paul sought prayer on his behalf from all the Roman believers in Romans 15:30. He also urged the Colossians to intercede for him in Colossians 4:2-3. Nowhere in any biblical request for intercession is there any indication that only a certain group of people could intercede. On the contrary, those who seek others to intercede for them can use all the help they can get! The idea that intercession is the privilege and calling of only some Christians is without biblical basis. Worse, it is a destructive idea that often leads to pride and a sense of superiority.

God calls all Christians to be intercessors. It is God’s desire that every believer be active in intercessory prayer. What a wonderful and exalted privilege we have in being able to come boldly before the throne of Almighty God with our prayers and requests!

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