Prayer and Intercession
— Guy C. Carey
Prayer in the life of the believer is not an option. The true believer filled with the Holy Spirit can not help but to pray. There is a prayer which is an expression of ourselves to God. There is also a prayer where Christ expresses Himself through us.
There is individual prayer and corporate prayer. This corporate prayer can be “two or more gathered…” or a family, a church, an organization, a city, or a nation. The Father has recognized and responded to all of these.
Personal prayer must be established as a foundation for corporate intercession. Daily communication with the Father through personal prayer is the preparation of the solider. Corporate prayer will have the goal of entering into the intercession of Christ. That is, to allow Christ to pray through us. This is the employing of the soldier in the army.
The goal of personal prayer is to fulfill the Apostle Paul’s command in I Thess. 5:16-18, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” When one has given themselves to prayer on a personal level then their corporate contribution is all the more powerful and substantial.
Let’s understand the role of intercession in the life of the believer. What is intercession? Intercession means to “stand in the gap,” to appeal on behalf of another, to fight for one who is defenseless. The “gap” is the place where the enemy has broken through; rushed in. To intercede is to mediate or arbitrate a difference or disagreement usually where grave consequences exist.
Intercession is the function of a priest or prophet, the servant of God. God has always looked for those who will intercede —
“And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought salvation to Him; and His righteousness upheld Him.” (Isaiah 59:16)
“The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice. And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 22:29-31)
√ Abraham (Genesis 18 & 19)
√ Moses (Numbers 21:1-4, Numbers 11:1-ff)
The highest priestly honor and most costly function is to be an intercessor – to become one who stands in the presence of God to plead the case of another and one who stands in the presence of men to plead for others. This was the ministry of the high priest on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. See Leviticus 16:1-34, Exodus 30: 10-30, and Numbers 29: 7-11.
This is a ministry of spiritual warfare. The one who stands in this place stands in direct opposition to “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). Satan stands before God bringing charge against the brethren.
JESUS THE INTERCESSOR
When the people accused Jesus there was no basis for their accusations. Not so with us; we are flawed and imperfect. We are frail vessels prone to stumble and fall. We needed a deliverer and one who would intercede for us with the Almighty Creator. Our deeds, thoughts, and motives all warrant the wrath of God. We are by nature children of disobedience. God has given us such an intercessor. His name is Jesus the Anointed One. He is the lamb of sacrifice and the scapegoat. Our sins have all been placed on Him.
We have a priest after the order of Melchizedek. “For it is witnessed [of Him], ‘Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’” (Hebrews 7:17) An eternal priest, who stands before the Father and pleads for us —
“…but He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens…” (Hebrews 7:24-26)
“For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a [mere] copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…” (Hebrews 9:24)
“… who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:34)
“Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)
Jesus our intercessor is compassionate and merciful. He is well acquainted with our condition —
“Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17-18)
“He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:3-4)
He is approachable and willing to help —
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as [we are, yet] without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
WE ARE INTERCESSORS
We are not only privileged to have such a high priest, but we are privileged to be allowed to participate in His priesthood by the power of the His Holy Spirit, who dwells in us. The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit as each believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The church is the house of the Father. Jesus said, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a robbers’ den.” (Mark 11:17).
The Spirit of God searches the thoughts of God and reveals the same to us.
“For to us God revealed [them] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the [thoughts] of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the [thoughts] of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)
Paul teaches us in Romans 8:26-27 that the Spirit of God Himself intercedes through us even with groanings too deep for words. The Spirit prays perfectly. He prays in the will of the Father and God always says yes to Himself!
“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for [us] with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to [the will of] God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
To be an intercessor is to allow the Holy Spirit to pray the intercessions of Jesus Christ through you to the Father. This is a holy function of every saint. It is the calling that each must yield to. Some have a special grace in this area, but all are called to pray without ceasing. There is only one way to enter this realm and that is to experientially abide in Christ.