Intercession - May I pray for you? By Jude Gotrich
As a parent, nothing pleases me more than when someone asks about my children. I will never be able to find the words describing how deep my love is for my sons and, when others show their love and interest in them, it connects them with the children I love and it warms my heart that others love them too.
God has children. That's who we are and His love for His children is certainly beyond any man's description. When we pray for each other, God is pleased that we have expressed our interest and love for those He greatly loves. He delights in our love for each other.
Prayer was designed not only as conversation with God but also connecting us to the Body of Christ as we pray for each other. This is intercession. In fact, no other singular component was more prominent in the prayer life of Christ than intercession. He demonstrated His selflessness and His divine focus through His prayers for others.
When we pray for others we are never closer to our own Christ likeness than when we intercede. During intercession we take the focus off ourselves and place the prayer power on wholeness for the Body of Christ.
Some biblical perspectives on intercession are outlined in Journey Into Intercession by Eric Bolger and these principles shed light on our task as we stand in the gap for others. He points out biblical characters in each book of the Bible and how their lives and prayers proved to be significant intervention for others.
Intercession grows in the soil of a deep personal relationship with God. Think of the lives of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, Mary and Paul and you have a clear picture of the depth of relationship with God. We never see these people praying to a distant force or impersonal God. God is their trusted companion as well as sovereign Lord. Therefore, effective intercession builds on the foundation of divine intimacy.
Effective intercession flows out of a need to bring God glory. When we pray for others we are asking for the fullness of what God intends for their lives. And then God's answers to those prayers serve to show our great need for Him, a spiritual hunger that only God can satisfy and ultimately brings glory to Himself through the answers to our prayers.
Intercession depends on the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the essential, not to be ignored, element in the ministry of intercession. Paul describes in Romans 8 how the Spirit helps us in our weakness, our inarticulateness, our lack of strength and knowledge of the situation as we intercede. We also live in the context of an unseen world but ever so real spiritual realm. This is where the Holy Spirit is champion. Therefore, prayer is ultimately the energizing Spirit speaking with God himself.
As you pray for others you place yourself as mediator - you are standing between God and others and asking God to respond to their needs. This is clear in the model of the priest. It began with Melchizedek and then God has extended the invitation to us to be a ‘kingdom of priests' (Ex. 19:5-6). Again in 1 Peter 2:9 there is a calling that belongs to all believers to be a ‘royal priesthood, a holy nation, belonging to God.' And it does not point to the believer "priest" as the hero in this scenario but the focus is on God who has "brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
Intercession is a beautiful picture of community, of family, focusing on the needs of others for the strength of the Body. God has initiated this deeply personal relationship with Him and as we fall more in love with Him, we fall more in love with others. Nothing could be further from our selfish society than to think of others and pushing aside our own agendas for attention. As we place this attribute of intercession in our lives, we take on the very mantle of the Incarnate Christ, living fully in the strength of His Spirit and praying to a Holy God. As intercessors we experience the essence of the Triune God.