Most christian people are familiar with the prayer term as being the way we communicate with God.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy (1Timothy 2:1)
“First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people”
Paul is making some sort of a classification of prayers, showing us that there are more types: supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings.
In this article we will focus on what is the intercession prayer and how we should be use it.
The word intercession means the action of intervening on behalf of another, the act of using your influence to make someone in authority forgive someone else or save them from punishment.
The original Hebrew word “pagha” is found in different contexts of the Bible that give us a more complex image about the actual meaning of the intercession and the intercessor.
In different contexts, the word “pagha” is used and many times translated as : “to encounter, meet, reach, entreat, make intercession” (1Samuel 10:11), “to strike upon” (associated with the image of the thunder – Job 36:32), “falling upon” or “attacking” (1Samuel 22:17, Judges 8:21, 15:12, 2Samuel 1:15), “staking out and claiming territory” (Joshua 16:5-7), “negotiating with God on behalf of others” (Genesis 23:8, Rut 1:16), “to lay, burden” (Isaiah 53:6, Matthew 11:30).
Probably each one of us prayed at some point for God to intervene for our beloved ones.
The word intercession could be illustrated through the image of a lawyer in front of the Judges and juries, pleading for a guilty one. In our case, we know that the Judge is righteous, holy and merciful and He is happy to welcome us in His throne room because He brought righteousness for the sin of humanity by the blood of Jesus. His type of judgment is described through Isaiah’s words (Isaiah 1:18).
“ Come now, let us settle the matter” says the Lord. “ though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.”
This is why we can go before His throne without fear, knowing that through Jesus we have favor at the Father. We can see this kind of relationship between God and man in Abraham’s intercession for Sodom (Genesis 18:20-32)
“ The Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry has reached to me. If not, I will know”. The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached Him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What is there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all earth do right?”. The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake”. Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord , thought I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it”. Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty can be found there?” He said, “ For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there”. Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it”.
Another reason why we can boldly stand as “lawyers” is that Jesus Himself is interceding before the Father for us, so when we agree with being intercessors, we’re becoming partners with God in the mission of bringing His will on earth. Intercession is a relational based activity, we go before God, we hear His words and then we speak His words so that we can start seeing things through His eyes and work with Him until we see His perspective influencing our reality. The foundation of accurate communication and us hearing His voice, is in our intimacy and personal relationship with Him. Each one of us develops a specific way of “hearing” Him based on our gifts from the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 12, 14) and the unique way that we are created.
Spiritual Gift 1My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. 2. I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk.3.Now I want you to know that if you are led by God’s Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus.4.There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit.5. There are different ways to serve the same Lord, 6.and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.7.The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others.8.Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit..9.To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick.
or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God’s Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean.
But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.
One Body with Many Parts 12.The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does.13. Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God’s Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit.
14Our bodies don’t have just one part. They have many parts. 15Suppose a foot says, “I’m not a hand, and so I’m not part…
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God wants to show us the target of our prayer, He wants us to know how to hit the mark, it’s why the Holy Spirit was given to us, so that He will lead us in His ways out of the darkness and blindness. Many times God’s strategy doesn’t necessarily seem logical, but it’s surely the most directional and has the greatest impact (Joshua 6:2-5).
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast of trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”Joshua 6:2-5
Through our commitment of following God’s leading we are becoming professional archers, able to hit any mark. But why would we need this kind of abilities if there wouldn’t be a danger, a war to fight? And this is where we start understanding intercession as an act of getting involved in a war, the war that Paul describes in Ephesians 6:12.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”Ephesians 6:12.
So through intercession we are actually starting to fight in this battle against the evil, this war is ongoing either we choose to be part of it or not and those battles are influencing our reality, if we are involved in it we can win, but if not we are defeated without knowing what hit us. Paul also shows us that there is an equipment available for the battle that God provides (Ephesians 6:13-17). And he also reminds us (Ephesians 1) that the position we battle from is the Heavenly realm where we are sited together with Christ, from this position we in authority over any other authorities or powers of the darkness.
We can get involved in the fight for someone’s life or circumstances, for our working place, a region, a city, a nation or global issues. Just as God encouraged and guided Joshua in taking the Promised land, as citizens of Heaven, through intercession we have the authority to take back the territories from any evil domination for the Kingdom of Heaven. You surely heard about cities that are known for specific bad stuff like people always arguing there, crimes, ruined and abandoned buildings, the lack of places where to work or people in the streets always being angry, bitter, stressed or in a bad mood. Knowing the character of God we can recognize pretty easy that this is not His fingerprint, but rather there are other authorities ruling over this places. Even from the Old Covenant, God calls onto people to intervene for what happens in their cities, nations and the lives of the people around them, He’s calling people that would take courage to stand before Him for the cause Ezekiel 22:30
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”Ezekiel 22:30
This is how we can make a practical difference, through the decision of interceding in order to see the promises of God becoming a reality of the place where we are and in the lives of the people around us. God did not make us powerless in front of our circumstances, He defeated darkness so that we could walk in His victory and live according to it.
Jesus Himself is encouraging us into this battle, He sent us the Holy Spirit to guide us, He is interceding for us and through His words “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” and “my yoke is easy” He is inviting us to follow His lifestyle so that we can abide in His victory. He showed us how to live as intercessors through His life, through how He came and carried our burden, He interceded for Israel and all the nations so that our sins would be forgiven. Through all of these He showed us how He loves us. The same way when we intercede, motivated by love, we choose to carry a burden until we see the Father’s will changing the situation, oftentimes this requires perseverance in keeping out motivation, our faith and our vision knowing that if we don’t quit we win the battle.