What Is Intercessory Prayer?
What is Intercessory Prayer?
Intercessory prayer is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another’s case. In intercessory prayer we act as a mediator, standing between God and those we pray for, and appealing to God to intervene on their behalf.
Intercession is to be part of our corporate life as brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul urged “first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (1 Tim. 2:1). Our role as intercessors for one another, follows the pattern of Christ and the Holy Spirit, who intercede before the Father for us. Scripture tells us that Christ “is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us” (Rom. 8:34, cf. Heb. 7:25). Likewise, the Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers when we do not know what to pray, interceding for us before the Father “with groans that words cannot express.”
This may give the impression that God must be convinced to act on our behalf, but the opposite is actually true. God does not need convincing, rather, he wants us to learn to depend on him in all the circumstances we face in life, and he wants us to learn that we can depend on him. He has provided us with the intercession of the Son and the Spirit to show us that he is concerned with our needs. Likewise, we are commanded to intercede for one another so that we may learn to be concerned for each other, just as he is concerned for us.
Often when we think of intercession, we think of praying for the circumstances that our brothers and sisters face in their daily lives, such as health, job situations, important decisions and relational concerns. Indeed, we are invited to bring all these before the Lord in prayer. A brief survey of the prayers recorded in the New Testament, though, provide a broader perspective of intercessory prayer. They include prayers for wisdom and spiritual insight (Eph. 1:18-20); for spiritual strength and a growing knowledge of the love of God (Eph. 3:16-19); for discernment regarding the choices we make and the values we adopt (Phil. 1:9-11); for understanding of God’s purposes (Col. 1:9); for perseverance in faith (2 Th. 3:5); and for boldness and clarity in sharing the gospel of Christ (Philemon 1:6; Ac. 4:23-30; Eph. 6:20; Col. 4:4). Just as the discipline of intercessory prayer teaches us to be mindful of the temporal needs of others, then, it also calls us to greater awareness and concern for spiritual concerns that are important to God.
On the second Monday of every month, we have an opportunity to gather as brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for the concerns we know of within our own congregation as well as for the spiritual health, ministry and witness of the Church around the world. Consider joining us as we intercede together on behalf of God’s people.
Pastor Jon EnrightNovember 5, 2015