Intercessory Prayer



He said to them, “Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,’ and he from within will answer and say, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give it to you’? I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs.
“I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.”
—Luke 11:5-10

What is intercessory prayer? Simply put, to intercede is to stand between. That is the core of intercessory prayer. Those who intercede put themselves between God and the person or thing for which they are praying.

Why do we intercede? In the Old Testament, it was a responsibility of the Levitical priests to stand between a righteous God and sinful mankind. Numbers 14 has one of the greatest accounts of intercessory prayer. Moses was able to stand between God and sinful man because Moses had developed intimacy of communication. Numbers 12:8 records that God spoke with Moses as friend to friend and not through visions and dreams as He did with other prophets.
But with the New Testament came a new order of spiritual priests of whom the Lord Jesus is the High Priest. We are a holy and royal priesthood (Hebrews 7:11-19; 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:5).

How can we intercede? We who have received Jesus, the Light of the world, are children of God (John 1:12). And as children of God, we may come boldly to His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). This access to God is the key to intercession.

How do we intercede? Jesus is our model for intercessory prayer. He stands before His Father and between His Father and sinful mankind, making intercession just as the Old Testament priests did (1: Timothy 2:5; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25).

How do we prepare? Intercession is warfare. We fight against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and the spiritual world (Ephesians 6:12). To fight this battle successfully, we must prepare.

1. We recognize that Jesus is ultimately in control and rules over all (Ephesians 1:21-23).
2. We recognize the high stakes of the battle (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
3. Most importantly, we must put on the “armor of God” to protect us in this spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:10-20).

How long do we intercede? As the old saying goes, as long as it takes. Intercessory prayer doesn’t give up. It endures all setbacks and overcomes every obstacle. Intercessory prayer “presses on” until we apprehend God’s will (not our will) in whatever situation we are facing (Philippians 3:12).

What did Jesus say? Jesus gave a great model for intercession in the story of the persistent friend: A friend knocks on his neighbor's door at midnight to ask for three loaves of bread. The neighbor does not want to get up, but because of his friend's persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs (Luke 11:5-8).
If we persistently ask, we will receive. If we persistently seek, we will find. If we persistently knock, the door will be open (Luke 11:9-13). In God's time, our persistence in intercessory prayer has, does, and will reap the harvest for His Glory.
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