Praying for others – Part 1
Intercession is the act of petitioning God or praying on behalf of another person or group of persons. It is the holy, believing, persevering prayer, whereby someone pleads with God on behalf of another or others that desperately need God’s intervention.
God has made His servants co-labourers with Him in His vineyard and has appointed them as mediators and intercessors for the lost and needy (I Corinthians 3:9; Romans, 9:2). He has always been seeking for a man – even one man or woman – to stand in the gap and build a hedge through prayer to turn away His wrath from men. But the search has not always been successful, and He has been disappointed in many generations and with many nations. Hence, where He could not find a man with enough influence to turn the hearts of the people away from sin and back to Him, His judgment had to necessarily follow (Ezekiel 22:30).
What an unfathomable mystery that God should be persuaded by the intercession of human beings to alter and turn from wrath to mercy. God is not an unmerciful deity and is not rigid in His dealings with man, but is a compassionate God, Who delights to be moved by the love, faith and prayers of His faithful people.
The Lord also responds to the prayers of His people and at times, changes His declared course of action, when they sincerely call upon Him and commit themselves to Him and His Will. Our consolation should be that God has not and will never disregard the intercession of His servants as long as hope for redemption remains. Therefore, the best bet for us is to intercede that God will manifest His power and presence for the benefit of mankind.
Believers today must make it a practice to intercede unceasingly for the people on earth (Matthew 6:10). The sinful nature of this world separates human beings from God. It has always been necessary, therefore, for righteous individuals to go before God to seek reconciliation between Him and His fallen creation.
In the numerous intercessory prayers in the Scriptures, God’s burdened saints pleaded with Him: (i) To turn away His judgment (Numbers 14:13-19). (ii) For forgiveness of sins (Daniel 9:3-19; Acts 7:60). (iii) For the salvation of others (Romans 10:1). (iv) For the restoration of His people (Nehemiah 1:4-11). (iv) For people to be delivered from danger (Acts 12:5,12). (v) For God to bless His people (Numbers 6:24-26). (vi) For the sick to be healed (1 Kings 17:20-21). (vii) For the Holy Spirit’s power to come (Acts 8:15-17). (viii) For effective mission’s outreach (Matthew 9:38; Ephesians 6:19,20). (ix) For effective pastors (2 Timothy 1:3-7). (x) For the people in authority to govern well (1 Chronicles 29:19; I Timothy 2:1-2).
Anything we know and which the Bible reveals as God’s perfect will for His people can appropriately be the focus of intercessory prayer. We must continually cry out to Him and “give Him not rest” until He brings to pass all that He has promised for our good (Isaiah 62:7). Further Reading (King James Version): Isaiah 53:12; Romans 8:26-27,34; Hebrews 7:27; Acts 12:1-12. Genesis 18:23-30; Joel 2:17; Ezra 9:3-15; Galatians 4:19; Colossians 1:10-11; Romans 15:31; Psalm 122:6-8; James 5:14-16; Ephesians 3:14-17.
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