“The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10 AMP
The basis of intercession is love. It would be hard to intercede for anyone you do not love. Christianity is all about love and when we intercede for others, we reflect the love of God through prayer.
For the past three weeks, we have discussed prayer in general, praying with expectations, and praying in the spirit. None of these aspects really reflect and make known the root of Christianity, which is love. When it comes to prayers, it is through intercessions that we show love.
Every believer must be an intercessor. When we pray for ourselves and our family alone, we are showing the love and nature of God, only to an extent. But remember, Jesus never said we should stop at Jerusalem, Judea, or Samaria (family and relatives, literally speaking). He also said we should extend His love to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8)…for which we are given the grace and empowerment.
Prayer is not something reserved for ourselves alone. We must extend it to others as well. Remember, even when we were yet to be legal members of the family of Christ, He prayed for us (Luke 23:34).
If you choose to keep quiet about your neighbor’s problems simply because you aren’t affected at the moment, that neighbor’s problem would sooner or later become yours too.
There is a blessing attached to interceding for others.
You could be praying for a particular person in your neighborhood to land a job that would take him out of unemployment. God can decide to promote you at work to a level where you become useful to that person or better still, make you an employer of labor. That’s the beauty of intercession.
After Job prayed for his friends, scripture makes us understand that God restored him and gave back to him, twice of all he had lost initially. Job 42:10
Intercede for the body of Christ and the members.
The church will do well to intercede for members of the body. Likewise, we must also individually intercede on behalf of the church too.
We are in a time where there is a lot of persecution against the church. Only the strength of God (through prayers) can keep her together. But when there are no prayers rendered for this cause, the church becomes easily shaken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us that a cord of three is not easily broken. Praying for the church’s unity keeps the church stronger against attacks from the enemy.
Also, it is important that the church intercedes for individual believers. When Peter was arrested and kept in the prison, it is likely that he didn’t pray to be released…we have no record of that. He may have thought to himself that he was about to be martyred like Stephen. But it was the church that interceded on his behalf and he received a supernatural deliverance. Acts 12:5.
If you check the epistles, you would realize that the apostles were always praying for the church; to whom the letters were addressed (Philemon 1:4; 2 Thess. 1:11). There are also instances where the apostles asked for prayers from the church (Colossians 4:2-3; 1 Thess. 5:25 ESV)
Even Jesus prayed for the church that the gates of hell won’t prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 and also interceded on behalf of the disciples –and by extension, us (John 17:15). And again, specifically for Peter in Luke 22:32. Not leaving the persecutors, and those that crucified Him out, Jesus also prayed for them. Luke 23:34.
We are to keep praying for the body of believers all the time–regardless of denomination. After all, we all know in part and see in part and it is the coming together of the different parts that make us one as a body. Ephesians 4:1-6
Intercession is not for fellow believers alone. Intercede for your enemies too. Luke 23:34
The right response to persecution is intercession. Jesus didn’t teach us to hate our enemies and this is evident in the fact that while we were yet sinners, He died for us, not leaving anyone -including the unborn and the dead -out Rom. 5:8. He told us in Matthew 5:44 to pray for those who persecute us. The type of prayer Jesus meant was not that of evil, but a sincere prayer wishing them the best…which He showed to us on the cross in Luke 23:34
This isn’t such an easy task but the grace of God is made sufficient for us in Him.
God honors intercessory prayers.
The proof that God answers prayers of intercession is seen multiple times in scripture but I’ll give a few examples for the purpose of this post. With Abraham –God was upset at the nation of Sodom and destruction was to come upon them but after Abraham pleaded with God through intercession, God honored Abraham’s prayer. Genesis 18:22-33.
Then, with Moses. The Israelites were doomed for destruction when they were in the wilderness, on their way to the promised land. But Moses pleaded with God on their behalf and God honored his plea. Exodus 32: 9-14.
“Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.”Psalm 106:23
The scripture also revealed that God honors the prayer of an intercessor in James 5:14-15 ESV which says “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
Refusing to pray for others is a disappointing thing for any believer because we are still enjoying the benefits of Christ’s intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). The Bible makes us understand that the Holy Spirit also intercedes on our behalf (Rom. 8:26-27). If we are enjoying such grace, then we must make it part of our lifestyle to pray for others –believer or unbeliever.
21. but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’” 22. This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. 23. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24. but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost[b] those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:21-25