The past few weeks I have been hearing a lot about prayer. I have heard preachers on the radio talking about prayer, I’ve been reading about prayer and just in general, hearing that we should be praying. Not too long ago I did a blog on prayer, and that prayer is just a conversation we have with God on a regular basis. Yesterday, I found myself before the throne of God begging and pleading with him on behalf of my son, which led me to another type of prayer, which, in turn, led me to a scripture about intercessory prayer.
The writer of Hebrews states, “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:24-25) As I read these words and pondered on Jesus Christ whom the scriptures are referring to, I pictured in my mind my Lord and Savior sitting beside the Throne of God and pleading for the salvation of all men. My heart was moved, it was touched by the image. His nail pierced hands, His beaten body, now in all His glory, seated at the right hand of God the Father, but still His heart is bleeding for us. He is ever present before God the Father, asking and begging for the salvation of many, for the salvation of those who still refuse to believe in Him. He is still giving of Himself, constantly.
Prayer is conversation with God, of that there is no doubt. But the type of prayer we pray is different with each passing day. Paul exhorts Timothy to pray for all men. He states, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men,” (1 Timothy 2:1) Paul clearly divides the various types of prayer that we are to be involved in, and he clearly states that we are to pray for all men. Of course we know that all means all and that’s all all means, so what exactly is he saying to us, and how does this fit with the picture of Christ who lives to make intercession for us? Bear with me as I try to explain in my meager human words what the Lord has shown me today.
Paul first tells us that “supplications” be made. Supplications refer to the asking of a need. It can also be defined as a request for something specific. For instance, you might pray that the Lord heal you of a sickness or provide you with enough money to buy groceries. Supplication is a specific request brought before God, in the knowledge and belief that He will provide for you.
Secondly, Paul states that we should “pray”. Praying is conversation with God. I looked up the definition of prayer and what I got was “conversation”. Prayer is being in constant communication with God. There is really no other way to describe it or explain it. Prayer is simple to do and simple to understand. Prayer is when we are driving in our car and talking to God about our day, our heart aches, our illness, just a general conversation between two persons- you and your God.
Next, Paul tells us that “intercession” is to be made. What exactly is intercession? We have read in Hebrews that Christ is in constant intercession for us that He lives to do just that- intercede on our behalf. Intercession is when we come before God seeking something on someone else’s behalf. There are many examples of intercession in the bible. From Abraham to Jesus Christ, those who loved God, at some point interceded for the sake of others. As I was reading about intercession I realized that when we come before God our Father and seek the salvation for a loved one, we are more Christ-like than at any other time.
As Christians, we are to be always in prayer, offering up supplications and thanksgiving to God for all things and for all men. Yes, even the man in the oval office. We are to live according to this “rule” (for lack of a better term) so that we may live a godly and peaceable life. (1 Timothy 2:2) Out of all these examples that Paul lists, intercession was the one that intrigued me the most. I have spent a few days studying and seeking God’s understanding for this simple, yet powerful word.
One definition I found in regards to intercession was that it is a technical term used for approaching a King. When I come before the throne of God, I am coming before the throne of the One True King, and I am pleading with Him on behalf of someone else. How many times in the bible have we read about someone interceding on behalf of someone else? I was reminded of Abraham, when he interceded for Lot and his family who were living in Sodom. Abraham was before the throne of God, seeking that Lot and his family be spared, that they would not be destroyed. (Genesis 18:22-33)
And Moses, how he stood in the gap and interceded for the nation of Israel. (Numbers 16:20-22) As I thought about these two men and what interceding actually meant to them, I was convicted. They fell down before the Lord God and basically (this is my interpretation only) said, “Lord God, don’t hold what they do against them- put their sins on my account.” Isn’t that what Christ Jesus did for us? To be Christ-like, to be a Christian, we too must be in intercession for all men, we too are called to cry out and say- Lord, don’t charge them with this sin, put it on my account.
As I pray for the Lord God to draw my son, to save my son, to open the heart of my loved ones that refuse to turn their lives to Jesus Christ, I pray, “Lord, do not hold their sins against them, put them on my account. Just as Christ stands in the gap for me, let me also stand with Him for their sakes.” Prayer is conversing with God, supplications are making requests to God for our daily needs, but intercession- intercession is laying down our desires, our wants, and our hopes and standing with Christ on behalf of those we love. Intercession is saying to God that no matter what it takes, no matter what He does, we will stand with Christ for the salvation of all men. Intercessory prayer pleases God because He desires as well that all men come to the saving Grace of Jesus Christ.
Are we, as Christians, who seek to have a Christ-like walk, are we willing to stand with Christ and intercede for the lost and for the broken and for those who have turned their backs on God. Imagine what an impact we could make on the lives of those around us and in our community if we would only bow our hearts and our will, and seek the will of God for all men- which is that all men be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus is standing in the gap for you today, and He does it because of His great love for us, we are called to love as well, should we not also be standing for those who cannot?
Father God, let us stand for those who cannot stand, let us come to a place where constant prayer, supplication, intercession and thanksgiving are our way of life. Let us not fail to come before Your throne, our God and King, and seek the salvation of all men. As Christ intercedes on our behalf, may we also have the same mind and intercede for all men. Father God, bless Your word today, may it go forth
and not return void. In the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen and Amen.
(The statements expressed in this blog are personal statements. They are my own personal reflections based upon my own personal study time. My desire is only to stir up in those who read this blog a desire to go and seek for themselves what God has for each individual.)