Intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others. Because of Jesus’ mediation, we can now intercede in prayer on behalf of other Christians or for the lost, asking God to grant their requests according to His will. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Christians are to come to God on behalf of others in a heartbroken and repentant attitude, recognizing their own unworthiness and with a sense of self-denial. True intercessory prayer seeks not only to know God’s will and see it fulfilled, but to see it fulfilled whether or not it benefits us and regardless of what it costs us. True intercessory prayer seeks God’s glory, not our own.
The Bible is clear that all Christians are called to be intercessors. All Christians have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and, just as He intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will (Romans 8:26-27), we are to intercede for one another.
To intercede means “to intervene on behalf of another.” We see this in many different places throughout the Bible, like when Moses intercedes on the behalf of Israel. Just like Moses interceded for the people of Israel, we see the Philippians going to God in prayer on behalf of Paul. This is important because God partners with His people in order to bring about His desires.
……there is a direct correlation between the prayers of his people and His actions. James told the early church, “You do not have because you do not ask…” (James 4:2). The Philippians accepted God’s invitation to partner with Him to bring about His desires for the church in interceding for Paul, and we get the same invitation to partner with God in prayer……in prayers of intercession we should seek to be aware of God’s desires for someone and join Him in what He is doing. It does not mean manipulating God to do our will, but rather becoming aware of God’s desires for someone and joining Him in that.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
In Daniel 2:14-23, Daniel humbly prayed that God would discover to him the king’s dream, and the meaning of it. Praying friends are valuable friends; and it well becomes the greatest and best men to desire the prayers of others. Let us show that we value our friends, and their prayers. They were particular in prayer. And whatever we pray for, we can expect nothing but as the gift of God’s mercies. God gives us leave in prayer to tell our wants and burdens. Their plea with God was, the peril they were in. The mercy Daniel and his fellows prayed for, was bestowed. The fervent prayers of righteous men avail much. Daniel was thankful to God for making known that to him, which saved the lives of himself and his fellows. How much more should we be thankful to God, for making known the great salvation of the soul to those who are not among the worldly wise and prudent!
Prayer is most effective when we act as a mediator, interceding on behalf of others, meaning that we have given our time to thinking about them and their needs. We give our time to go to God and ask for His intervention so to help them change. God acts on our behalf because we sacrificed and begins to change us away from our egocentricity, our self-centeredness. God is training our minds to think about others rather than the self.
In Colossians 4:2-4 Paul instructs us not only not to neglect prayer, but also to keep at it in earnest. He advises us to watch for opportunities to pray for others and for situations, especially in the church, that require prayer. This important work belongs to us individually.
True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance. Intercession means to “fill up…[with] what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ” (Colossians 1:24), and this is precisely why there are so few intercessors. People describe intercession by saying, “It is putting yourself in someone else’s place.” That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.
Our work is to be in such close contact with God that we may have His mind about everything, but we shirk that responsibility by substituting doing for interceding. And yet intercession is the only thing that has no drawbacks, because it keeps our relationship completely open with God. What we must avoid in intercession is praying for someone to be simply “patched up.” We must pray that person completely through into contact with the very life of God.
Intercessory prayer is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another’s case. One study Bible defines intercession as “holy, believing, persevering prayer whereby someone pleads with God on behalf of another or others who desperately need God’s intervention.”
In intercessory prayer, we follow the Old Testament priestly function and the New Testament pattern of Jesus – standing before God and between a righteous God and sinful man. In order to be effective standing “between” we must first stand “before” God to develop the intimacy necessary to fulfill this role.
As New Testament believers, we no longer sacrifice animals as in Old Testament times. We stand before the Lord to offer up spiritual sacrifices of praise (Hebrews 13:15) and the sacrifice of our own lives (Romans 12:1). It is on the basis of this intimate relationship with God that we can then stand “between” Him and others, serving as an advocate and intercessor in their behalf.
Intercessory prayer is prayer for the needs of others. Praying for others is an unselfish expression of love.
Why does God want us to pray for others? Because intercessory prayer reflects God’s own character of outgoing love and mercy. God wants us to think like He does, and praying for others helps us to think beyond ourselves and to grow in compassion for others.
Intercessory prayer is not a numbers game. God does not have to wait until 10 or 20 or 100 people pray about a situation in order to intervene. Prayer is not a vote or petition that God has to act on if enough people “sign” it. Our prayers can’t force God to do anything.
Also, intercessory prayer is not something we should do to try to earn points with God so we can collect when something bad happens to us. Our motivation must be love—outgoing, unselfish concern.
- Pray for others from the heart, with deep feeling and sincerity.
- Pray for others regularly.
- Pray for others in detail. God knows everything; but He wants us to come to Him with all our specific requests because He likes to hear from us and to know what is important to us. The Bible compares our prayers to incense, and God loves prayers that are like “sweet incense beaten fine” (Leviticus 16:12). Detailed, thoughtful prayers are more pleasing than rushed, summary prayers to “bless everybody.” Making a prayer list or prayer journal can help you remember the details.
- Pray for others with faith, knowing that God has all power and loves the people we are praying for. Faith reminds us that God knows what is eternally best for each person, and that even if God does not answer in the way we want at the time we want, we can trust He has all of our best interests in mind.
- Pray for others with love
- Pray for others fervently—with intensity, zeal and passion.
- Pray for others with a desire to help where we can
- Pray for others occasionally with fasting
Chapter 10 Questions
- When you have an issue/trial/concern that requires immediate prayer, do you seek to share this need with others for prayer support or do you keep it to yourself ? If you keep it to yourself…what is hindering you from reaching out to fellow believers ?
- Page 77 “ God can use the intercessions of others to lift the burden of a trial. But God may also lift the burden by changing our perspective. Wisdom is seeing life from God’s point of view “ (Bill Thrasher) Have you experienced the “ change of perspective “ after seeking and using intercessory prayer ?
- Page 78 “ Through the help of others we can achieve heights of prayer that we could not achieve alone. “ Please share any experiences …..
- Page 78 Three suggestions….prayer with a soul mate….prayer with your spouse…..and making prayer a point of life with others . Please discuss and share experiences .
- Please share any insights from the book or from the notes.