1Ti 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” This week we will talk on intercessory prayer. Andrew Murray said on intercessory prayer, “Prayer has a twofold use: one, to obtain strength and blessing of our own life; the other, the higher and the true glory of prayer, for which Christ has taken us into His fellowship and teaching, is intercession. There prayer is the royal power a child of God exercises in heaven on behalf of others and the kingdom”.
Intercessory prayer is simply to pray to God on the behalf of others (Rom 15:30). We begin to intercede when we move from praying for ourselves, into praying for the needs of others. It is part of the privilege of our role as priests. The role of the priest is to speak to God for men. All true Christians are priests now (Rev 1:5-6, 1Pt 2:5). As priests, we speak unto God for men. We intercede.
In the Old Testament, God was always looking for an intercessor. He looked for one to stand in the gap between He and the people. He looked for a mediator (Eze 22:30, Jer 5:1, Isa 59:16, 63:5). Abraham was that kind of man (Gen 18:22, 20:17). Moses was that kind of man (Num 11:2, 21:7). So was Job (Job 42:10), Daniel (Dan 9:16), and others. They were intercessors. They pleaded to God for the people. They were types of Jesus.
In the New Testament, Jesus, our High Priest, has become our intercessor with The Father (Heb 7:25, Rom 8:34), through the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:26). What does this mean? It means that our intercession as NT Christians is different than that of the OT. In the OT, their intercession was almost always about pleading with God not to destroy or pour out judgment on the people, because the Lamb of God had not yet been judged in their place. A normal man had to stand in the gap and plead for mercy. Now, Jesus stands in the gap, forever living to make intercession for us. His death on the cross satisfied God’s wrath (Isa 54:8-10).
It is essential for us to realize this. Too often, New Testament Christians pray like Old Testament saints. They pray as if Jesus has not come. They pray as if The Father is totally ignoring what he put His Son through on the cross. They pray as if Jesus isn’t standing in the gap for us 24-7. They pray as if Jesus never said, “It is finished!”. They pray as if God’s wrath has not been satisfied by Jesus’ death. Essentially, they pray as if nothing changed 2000 years ago on a hill outside the city gates of Jerusalem. However, everything changed!
God is not fuming in Heaven, looking to judge someone. He judged sin in His Son already. God pleads with man through His children, “Be reconciled to Me. I have reconciled Myself to you (2Cor 5:19-21)”. This is not the day of wrath. This is not the day of vengeance (Isa 61:1-2, Lk 4:18-20). God’s wrath against sin was poured out on Jesus on the cross. That sacrifice settled the account. If man rejects that payment in this age, he will pay for himself in the age to come. He is storing up wrath against the day of wrath. There will be a judgment day, but that is not today. In this age, God’s purpose for His children is to spread the Gospel, so men would be reconciled to Him.
Concerning intercessory prayer: there is no prayer of intercession in the NT that I am aware of where someone is pleading with God not to pour out His wrath and judgment. If I am wrong, let me know, and I’ll speedily repent. Yet, how many NT intercessors do you hear pray this all the time? I’m not being critical - I have prayed the same way. But if we’re going to follow the NT example, we need to pray as they prayed. Below is a list, though not exhaustive, of NT prayers or prayer Scriptures. I believe if we would pray for one another - our spouse, our children, our church, our community, our pastor - these following prayers everyday, we would see radical transformation in our lives. I pray you take the challenge. (Though a different subject, it’s vital for us to know the difference between God’s judgment and sowing & reaping – two very different things).
Our intercession now, is letting Jesus pray through us. It is praying in the Spirit. It is praying according to the finished work of Christ; The Word; The will of God. We see in NT prayer: For the Christians to know all they are and all they have in Christ (Eph 1:16-23, 3:14-21); For Jesus’ return (Rev 22:20); For healing of the sick (Jam 5:15-16); For prosperity (3Jn2); For signs and wonders to confirm the Word (Act 4:29-31); For leaders (1Tim 2:1-2); For the harvest (Mt 9:38); For open doors to ministry (2Thess 3:1, Col 4:3); For boldness of speech (Eph 6:18-19); For interpretation of tongues (1Cor 14:13); That we would love one another (2 Jn 5); For our love to abound (Philp 1:9); That we would be sincere (Philp 1:10); That we would be filled with all the fruits of righteousness (Philp 1:11); For wisdom (Jam 1:5); That we would do no evil (2Cor 13:7); That we would be completely sanctified (1Thess 5:23); That we would be filled with all knowledge, wisdom; and spiritual understanding (Col 1:9); That a brother in sin would be restored (1Jn 5:16, Jam 5:19-20). That we would present our bodies a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1); That there would be no division among us (1Cor 1:10); That we would avoid those that cause division (Rom 16:17); That Christians would submit themselves to their pastors (1Cor 16:15-16, 1Thess 5:12-13); That men would be reconciled to God (2Cor 5:20); That we would walk worthy of our vocation (Eph 4:1); That we would walk pleasing to God more and more (1Thess 4:1); That we would listen to and obey the Word of God (Heb 13:22); That we would abstain from fleshly lusts (1Pt 2:11).
Again, this is not a complete list, but enough to get us started praying the way NT Christians ought to pray. We will continue this subject next week Lord willing. Until then, rejoice in The Lord!