“Intercessory prayer is exceedingly prevalent. What wonders it has wrought! The Word of God teems with its marvelous deeds. Believer, thou hast a mighty engine in thy hand, use it well, use it constantly, use it with faith, and thou shalt surely be a benefactor to thy brethren.” C.H. Spurgeon
What is intercessory prayer? According to Webster, intercede means simply, “to go or pass between; to act between parties with a view to reconcile those who differ or contend; to interpose; to mediate or make intercession; mediation.” Intercession basically means to stand between two extremes. It means to earnestly plead with a person on behalf of another. Intercessory prayer happens when we stand in the gap between God and others.
We live in a world that is full of spiritual warfare and God wants us to pray for the salvation and redemption of others. It is not His desire that any should perish but that all would receive eternal life (1 Timothy 2:4). God wants and desires us to pray for others:
“And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord (Ezekiel 22:30; 31)
Jesus the Ultimate Intercessor
There are numerous examples of individuals in the Bible who accepted the challenge to intercede on behalf of others, but the greatest example of intercession can be seen in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us, “He always lives to make intercession” (Hebrews 7:25). Jesus still sits at the right hand of God and continually makes intercession on our behalf. Jesus’ intercession isn’t just a prayer that He prayed, but the life He lived. Everything that He said and did was not for Him, rather it was all for us! The essential meaning of the cross is Christ’s mediation for all who would be saved. The Bible tells us “there is one God and Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ.” (1 Timothy 2:5). True intercession begins by following Jesus’ example of self-giving and then flows into fervent prayer for the lives of others.
Next up: A reflection on Paul’s teaching on Intercession. Thanks for reading
Dr. Winfield Bevins is founding rector of Church of the Outer Banks and Canon for Church Planting for the Diocese of the Carolinas. He is the author of several books, including Our Common Prayer and Creed.
Dr. Winfield is the Director of Church Planting at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He also directs Asbury’s Anglican Formation program. As a seasoned practitioner, he has helped plant several churches and has used his experience to train leaders from around the world. He is the author of several books including his forthcoming book Ever Ancient Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation (Zondervan, 2018). As an author, one of his passions is the intersection of spiritual formation and mission. He and his wife Kay, have three school aged children and live in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky.