In my last post I looked at the relational posture of intercession. Today I want to look at the activity of intercession.
1) The word ‘intercession’ is obviously from the verb ‘to intercede’, which is officially defined as
to act or interpose in behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition (source: dictionary.com)
Often people will speak about intercessory prayer as ‘standing in the gap’ for a person or circumstance; it often carries connotations of doing so on behalf of someone who cannot or will not do so themselves.
In 1 Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel speaks about interceding for the entire nation:
Then Samuel said, “Assemble all Israel at Mizpah and I will intercede with the LORD for you.” -1 Sam. 7:5 (NIV)
In Isaiah God makes a stunning assessment regarding the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel:
He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. -Isa. 59:16 (NKJV)
We see the power and the significance of those who ‘stand on behalf of’ a nation and intercede before God! Here is God wanting to save his people and the first thing he does is look for someone to partner with; someone who will call out and ask him to do it. The concept here is not that the intercessor has the power to bring about salvation, but God is wanting partnership and relationship. In the NIV translation is says that God was ‘appalled’ that he looked and could not find anyone.
There is another verse in Isaiah that has powerful implications for intercession:
And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You -Isa. 64:7 (NKJV)
In context this is a very negative statement by the prophet, but the implication is again that God is looking for intercessors, those men and women who would stir themselves up to ‘take hold’ of God through calling on his name!
These Scriptural references are related to interceding for entire nations, but the principle applies to intercession on a smaller scale as well. God is not only looking for intercession for the nations: when we intercede for our spouse, children, neighbor or local church we are just as much stirring ourselves up to take hold of him!
What person or situation are you being prompted by God to intercede on behalf of?
I encourage you to take some time today to meditate more on the verses mentioned above and ask the Holy Spirit to stir you up in a fresh way toward the ministry of intercession!
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