The privilege of intercession – Part 2
Jesus Christ is our perfect example in all areas, including prayer. He engaged in intercessory prayers as a major part of His ministry. Christ’s intercession for His people began on earth and now continues in heaven. When the Lord was physically here on earth, He interceded for His disciples and encouraged them to do the same (Luke 18:1).
After warning Peter that Satan had planned to sift him as wheat, Jesus said to him, “I have prayed for you that your faith fail not” (Luke 22:32). Jesus’ first words on the cross were a prayer for those who had persecuted Him (Luke 23:34). The “high priestly prayer” recorded in John 17:1-19 provides the best example of an intercessory prayer by the Lord.
One of the earliest and best examples of intercession is where Abraham speaks to God on behalf of Sodom (Genesis 18:23). His plea is with compassion and concern for the well-being of others, rather than his own needs. Such selfless concern is the mark of all true intercession. Another good example is the intercessory prayers of Moses, the leader of a nation and a righteous man, who successfully petitioned God on behalf of the children of Israel (Exodus 32:30-33).
Daniel did not sit back and passively wait for the promised restoration of Israel to come about (Jeremiah 25: 11-12; 29: 10-14). But he began to intercede earnestly with prayer and fasting for the fulfilment of God’s Word (Daniel 9:3). Daniel began his intercessory prayer (i) by recognising His faithfulness and love and His covenant and mercy shown to those who love and obey Him. (ii) He made his confession, identifying himself with the people of Israel, who had sinned and rebelled against God. (iii) He asked for Jerusalem’s restoration, not because of any righteousness on the part of Daniel or of Israel but for the Lord’s sake (Daniel 9:17, 18). There is no wonder, therefore, that God responded and demonstrated His great mercy and loving compassion as a God who fulfills His promises.
The Scripture often refers to the intercessory prayers of believers and records numerous examples of remarkable, powerful and wonderful results from such prayers. A scriptural example of the power and the result of intercession includes Moses’ prayer for Israel. On several occasions, he prayed intensely to God to change His decreed and declared will, even when God had told Moses His course of action.
A good example was after the children of Israel rebelled against the Lord and refused to go into Canaan, God told Moses that He would destroy them and make a greater nation out of Moses (Numbers 14:1-21). Moses then took the matter to the Lord in prayer and pleaded for them. (Numbers 14: 13-19). At the conclusion of his prayer, God said, “I have pardoned according to thy word” (Numbers 14:20). Other powerful intercessors include Elijah the man of God (James 5:16-18); Daniel, (Daniel 9:3) and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:3-11).
There are also numerous examples of people in the New Testament, who prayed and obtained answers: Parents pleaded with Jesus to heal their sick children (Mark 5:22-43; John 4:47,53). A group of mothers asked Jesus to bless their children. (Mark 10:13) A man pleaded for his servant to be healed (Matthew 8:6-13). The church gathered together to pray for Peter’s release from prison (Acts 12:5,12). The church in Antioch prayed for the success of the ministry of Barnabas and Paul (Acts 13:3).
If only we will make up our minds to get involved in this privileged ministry, we also will have a share of the showers of blessings that will follow.
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; I Peter 2:21; John 17:1-19; Luke 22:31-32; Genesis 18:23-33; Daniel 9:3-19; Exodus 32:9-14; Luke 23:34; Romans 1:9-10; I Thessalonians 1:2-3; Colossians 1:3,9-12; Exodus 32:11-14; Numbers 11:2; 12:13; 21:7; 27:5; I Kings 18:21-46; Daniel 9:3-23; Mark 5:22-43; Matthew 8:5-12; I Samuel 7:5-11.