“For every sanctified man being a self-denying man and a God-advancing man, his God is his center.”
–Simeon Ash (d. 1662)
The heart of intercessory prayer is not found in a form or lifeless set of instructions. It is not found in chanting a certain monosyllabic word over and over. You won’t find it on a trip to Peru or staring into a crystal. The heart of intercessor prayer is not to be found in any ‘thing’ at all. It is to be found in a person. The Lord Jesus Christ is that person. He lived for us. He died for us. He lives for us. The author of Hebrews writes, “For Christ has entered…into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (9:24 excerpted) In describing the continued priestly role of Jesus, the author notes, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
Intercessory prayer finds its foundation and fulfillment in Christ. We are able to intercede for others because Christ has done so for us. Seven hundred and fifty years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah described the key to the greatness of Christ, “Therefore I will give him a portion among the great…for he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (53:12 NIV excerpted) Isaiah was looking forward and seeing the person and word of God’s suffering servant. In the same way, Job when in the midst of abundant afflictions garnered hope from his heavenly advocate, “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high.” (16:19) Incredible! Jesus had not yet come but these men were comforted with the knowledge that their God would intercede for them.
The intercession of Jesus is not based on divine obligation or moral imperative but rather on his deep love for us. He is the believer’s friend. Friends love each other. Friends share mutual interests. The great interest of Jesus is in the growth of his people in grace and holiness. Is this your interest in others? Is it in their growth in grace and holiness? The flower of intercessory prayer can only bloom when planted in the soil of other-centered love. Where are you planted? Have a blessed week and see you Sunday.
Love in Christ,