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What is Intercession?

Christians will say that “I am standing in the gap for someone’’ or “holding them up in prayer.” A common term for this is intercession: the act of intervening on behalf of another. Jesus did this for His disciples:

 But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers... (Luke 22:32 AKJV)

Jesus prayed for Peter and showed us how to intercede for others. The New Testament clearly states that when Jesus was on Earth, He was operating as “a Son of man.” This means He was doing what man should be doing if he was in a right relationship with God. We must look to the Bible to learn how to pray for others more effectively.

Our Lord has revealed how to appropriate the fullness of His grace and mercy for ourselves by residing at the Throne of Grace. Can we intercede for the ones we love so that they are free from the attacks of the enemy? Let’s look at what the Bible tells us.

According to chapter 9 in the Book of Daniel, as we have discussed, he intercedes for his people and his nation. He did so with a grieved and sorrowful heart, confessing that God had rightfully punished his people and his nation. In a broad, general way, he acknowledged the following:

  • The sins being committed

  • The ancestors’ sins

  • The lack of repentance for the sins

  • The lack of knowing God’s ways

These are the necessary ingredients when interceding for someone or praying for grace and mercy from God. We don’t need to confess each specific sin, for God knows them. When we pray for others, our prayer should have all of the above ingredients. This is the same way we place others before the Throne of Grace as we discussed in the first Class/Chapter in the Removing Attacks course/workbook.

In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the books the number of years which, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass by before the desolations [which had been] pronounced on Jerusalem should end; and it was seventy years. And I set my face to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes... (Daniel 9:2-3 AMPC)

Daniel studied the scriptures and acknowledged that the time for grace and mercy had come according to prophecy, which is what you are doing by going through the courses at this church.

Intercession and Prayer

Prayer is presenting a situation to God and talking to Him about it; however, intercession is going much deeper into prayer. It is acting as a mediator for someone and crying out for mercy. God responds to intercessory prayer because He feels your heart. We can pray for anyone the Lord places on our heart, but this is different from intercession.

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! (Psalm 35:1 AMPC)

This verse was directed toward all of God’s people. This means if the person is a Christian, a member of God’s family, we can ask the Lord to contend for us. We have so much more than Daniel had for his people. We have the sacrifice of our Lord and His righteousness. Make sure you use the scriptures to support your claim! Here is an additional verse when praying for others:

And I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD... (Jeremiah 24:7 AKJV)

You may choose to quote this verse in prayer as you ask God to give them a heart to hear Him and know His ways. This is one of the three items you can often ask God for:

  1. Wisdom - God gives it freely and never criticizes us for asking (James 1:5)

  2. Grace - by definition grace is receiving something you do not deserve.

  3. Mercy - the blood of Jesus cries out for mercy and He asked for mercy when those who had put Him on the cross spit at Him and mocked Him. (Hebrews 12:24, Luke 23:34)

Christians will often ask for prayer from each other for healing or relief of finances. If we are not hearing what to say from the Holy Spirit, these are three things that we may be able to ask for. We cannot turn this into formula prayer, so let the Holy Spirit guide you as to what to say concerning these items. You should be aware that when you pray, it doesn’t mean everything in their life gets better. It means that which would keep them from God is removed.

  • We hope our loved ones will feel God tugging on their heart and turn towards Him.

  • We ask God to strengthen us to stand in faith if He has to bring them to their knees and prepare our hearts to know what to say and do.

Can We Pray for Non-believers?

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me. (Jonah 1:1-2 AKJV)

The people of Nineveh were not Jews. Even though they were not God’s people, He called His prophet to speak to the Ninevites so they could be saved. We can ask God to speak to those who do not yet know Him, but our access to the Throne comes when we take Jesus as our Lord so we cannot place them at the Throne of Grace.

The bottom line is this; follow the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. If your heart is grieved for a person, as you pray for grace and mercy, you are going in the right direction. Don’t seek out someone else to pray for a person when the Holy Spirit has touched your heart: God is placing His desires in your heart. Simply ask Him to send someone to speak to them as He sent Jonah, so that they may turn from their sin and be saved.

More Effective Prayers

The results of our prayers often depend upon our heart. Is your heart grieved for the person you are praying for? If not, consider these verses:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you… (Ezekiel 36:26 AKJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 AKJV)

Ask God to change your heart to align with Him if your heart is not moved with compassion and grief for others. You can use these scriptures in your daily prayers.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people (1 Timothy 2:1 ESV)

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