<<prayer for others>>

Intercession is praying on behalf of others;  intervening before God for 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).

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

It is asking God to intervene and move in the lives of others

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). "You don't have because you don't ask" so "Ask and you will receive" (Jn 16:24; Jas 4:2).

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 and bring about a change of heart in them. While He will not override their free will it is asking they will choose to

All Christians are to be intercessors 

conform to His ways. 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 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). It is God’s desire that every believer be active in intercessory prayer. What a wonderful privilege we have in being able to come boldly before the throne of Almighty God with our prayers and requests! So while we don't have the right to demand anything we can declare what He has said. 

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 defend or 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). 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 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 prayer...Pray also for me…Devote yourselves to prayer…pray

The power of intercession is under-estimated until experienced

for us" (Rom 12:12; Eph 6:18,19; Col 4:2,3). When he mentions "Pray without ceasing” this refers to having an attitude 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: declare, free will, God's will, others, prayer, spiritual warfare, supplication.