“Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” – Hebrews 7:25.
Have you ever felt the urge to pray for the community or the world at large? That is intercessory prayer. The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who lifted up others in prayer.
Intercessory prayer is a prayer for the needs of others. Praying for other people is not just a religious exercise for Christians seeking to check all the boxes on their spiritual to-do list. According to Scripture, praying for other people is important. When we pray for one another, it helps in very practical ways.
Jesus is an example of intercessory prayer. In the midst of His greatest trial, Jesus prayed fervently. What would you have prayed about when facing torture and death? It’s fascinating to see what was on Jesus’ mind as He prayed, not only for Himself but for His disciples and for us: “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:120-21).
God gives us instructions to pray for others in several places in the Bible. James tells us to “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16). The apostle Paul encourages us to intercede (pray) for Church members and ministers and for himself: “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:18-20). And 1 Timothy 2:1-2 adds, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”
God is at work and He invites us to join Him in His work by praying for others. The work of intercession is never completed. It is an ongoing and persistent task. The subject matter changes often, but the call to pray is the same… and always necessary.
- What does intercessory prayer mean to you?
- Do you pray for other people? Do these prayers work? What do you do when a prayer is not answered (as you thought it would be)?
- What lost friend or relative can you intercede for today?