Intercession is praying to God on behalf of others. In John 17, Jesus gives us an example of intercessory prayer. In verses 6 to 19 He prays for His disciples, and in verses 20 to 26 for all believers.
Back in the Old Testament, Isaiah already mentioned that Jesus made intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12). And just as in the New Testament we find Him interceding for His followers in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 7:25), so we are encouraged to intercede in prayer for others, especially for other Christians whether they are members for our church or not.
The Holy Spirit, too, intercedes for us because so often we do not really know what to pray for so that we are in harmony with God’s will and He can give us what we ask for (Rom.8:28).
In Galatians 6:1 Paul reminds us that successful intercession happens when we are ‘spiritual’ – led by the Holy Spirit – so that we can really pray in harmony with God’s will. In intercessory prayer, we must always aim to pray for the good of others, remembering that God may have better plans.
The results that come when a whole church intercedes in prayer for the relatives, friends, and work associates of its members are illustrated in a recent testimony in Ministry magazine. As the pastor and his church members prayed every day for about 50 names on their list, one by one these precious souls became interested in coming back to God. More than half on the list were baptised. This inspired the church members and more names were added to the prayer list, until it grew to more than 200 names.
Ellen White wrote, “Select another and still another soul, daily seeking guidance from God, laying everything before Him in earnest prayer, and working in divine wisdom. As you do this, you will see that God will give the Holy Spirit to convict band the power of truth to convert the soul” (Medical Ministry, 245).
Study texts such as Galatians 6:1 and 1John 5:16 to discover other aspects of intercessory prayer. Then start an intercessory prayer group in your own church and see what God will do.
Mart de Groot