“He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds. We have all strayed like sheep.
Each one of us has turned to go his own way, and the LORD has laid all our sins on him (Isa 53:5-6 GW).
Hello! Today in “Truth for the Journey” we are continuing our study on this topic of “intercession.” We will take several articles over the coming weeks to discuss this subject and already we have many of you writing in; either through Facebook, email or other, telling us how much you are enjoying these articles! Intercession is an outstanding theme to focus on and all of us must be convicted to engage in this joint and wondrous responsibility.
As we have brought out in previous articles, we are ALL called to this servant’s ministry of compassion, which really expresses the divine nature of God (John 15:13). Intercession is an act of love – it takes obedience to pray. Most of us will agree that rarely have we ever FELT like praying! It’s not a feeling orientated effort, although they are involved. Love is an act of obedience, but feelings follow; this LOVE covers a multitude of sin, in our own lives! In other words we directly benefit from the intercession that we do for others! (1Pet 4:8)
Our attitude towards others really influences how God must handle us. If we don’t forgive for instance – although its God’s nature to forgive – we tie His hands. His word says that if we don’t forgive he cant forgive us (Matt 6:15; 18: 22). This greatly effects our salvation. People forget this. Take it for granted. And assume rather than know that they are heaven bound! (Matt 7:23).
Intercession principally means: a) One who “took the place of” b) Standing in the “gap.”
To intercede is to take the place of another, to stand in the gap on their behalf. Jesus’ greatest act of intercession was to stand in the gap on the cross (Isa 53:5-6 as stated above). However it is also our duty to stand in the gap for others in intercession. “I look attentively, and there is none helping, And I am astonished that there is none supporting, and give salvation to me doth mine own arm. And my wrath--it hath supported me (Isa 63:5 YLT). “He seeth that there is no man, And is astonished that there is no intercessor, And His own arm giveth salvation to Him, And His righteousness--it sustained Him” (Isa 59: 16 YLT).
God is looking for intercessors simply because the Church has not taken its priestly place. “The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice. I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD” (Ezekiel 22: 29-31).
Hedge of Protection
The scripture above just proves how people are bound-to-their-own-destruction; the wrath of God is already upon them BUT God wants us to take up our priestly ministry and “stand in the gap” for them. “Standing in the gap” literally means standing between these people and destruction. It’s our priestly duty to make up the hedge and to protect them! (John 10:10)
Looking at different translations can often give a sharper light to a subject. Take the book of Job for instance, chapter 9:32-33 from the New Living Translation where it says, “God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. If only there were a mediator between us, SOMEONE WHO COULD BRING US TOGETHER” (emphasis added).
Then in the same verse – perhaps with a slightly better edge on it - the Message Bible says, "God and I are not equals; I can't bring a case against him. We'll never enter a courtroom as peers. How I wish we had an arbitrator to step in and let me get on with life… Then I'd speak up and state my case boldly. As things stand, there is no way I can do it." (Job 9:32-35 MSG)
However as mediators or “intercessors” it is with the very Word of God that we defend people, pleading their case before God – according to His own Words. Mediators or “intercessors” are able to bring the very hand of God and the hand of man TOGETHER, just as the New Living Translation nicely brought out above.
Still today God is looking for men and women who will “stand-in-the-gap” and spend time in this act of “intercession.” Many of us talk about the harvest and very often we want to be the ones “reaping” that harvest! We want to be the ones getting involved in all the action! But in order to reap this harvest, first we must spend time “standing in the gap.” As a minister of the gospel, for more than a quarter of a century now, I still only see fruit during a times-of-ministry, if the prayers of the saints (Church) have been offered up before hand. Only then can the rich fruit of ministry be reaped. It is the Churches job to stand in the gap for people.
In the secular world however, someone who “stands in the gap” like this, in a legal manner is called an “attorney.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary gives the following definition for an attorney: “one appointed to act for another in business or legal matters (who has power of attorney and authority to act thus), qualified lawyer, esp. representing clients in proceedings.” In this context as intercessors, we too have been given the “power of attorney” along with the authority to act on behalf of others; the only difference being that the “law” in which we specialize, in order to do our job – is the perfect law of liberty in Christ!
In closing I want to add some notes from my wife. During her many classes on intercession my Jenny enjoyed doing sessions of Q&A because she valued the feedback and the interaction involved with teaching this subject. Just a few of the typical questions that she would be asked during these sessions are as follows:
Q: “Why was God looking for a man and not an angel or a spirit to stand before Him?”
A: Angels don’t intercede. There is no place in scripture given to that – they are messengers and ministering spirits but NOT intercessors! It is man who must intercede on behalf of man – before the Lord. That’s why Jesus had to come in the flesh in the likeness of sinful men.
We are in this world but not of it according to scripture (John 15:19). However as Angels (who are ministering “spirits” but are NOT human) they cannot play the same part that we do. They are not “in the world” they can only visit and bring messages! This is why God uses us – we are here and can act as a “point-of-contact.” I emphasis again that it MUST be human beings who intercede on behalf of other human beings.
Do we really comprehend that Jesus is still as much man, as He is God. As much God as He is man (Spurgeon famously called him the God-man for this very reason!) making this the precise reason why Jesus is still able to intercede before God on our behalf!
Q: “Why can intercessors sometimes step over into Witchcraft – even though their intentions are generally good?”
A: Its true to say that intercession is able to stay-the-hand-of-destruction. We have seen this throughout scripture. Intercession has influence with God and is why we must stand before Him for the sake of others.
“Standing in their place” literally means to pray as if they were praying for themselves so it is imperative that we don’t pray our own will or even theirs – but the will of God ONLY. To do anything other than this – is to step into witchcraft. Mostly this occurs unknowingly. None of us purposefully step into error! We tend not to realize that they are stepping over the boundaries and even think we are praying God’s will. This is why we need the Holy Spirit so badly. He can rightly divide the Word in our hearts, so that out of our mouths comes revelation. We pray this revelation (truth) into a situation that makes praying “on target,” “spot-on” or “hitting-the-bulls-eye” just as we brought out in the last article.
In closing I will add this: Oil and water find it hard to mix! Life by the Spirit is a constant adventure. “Constancy” is everything. Only in our constancy can we prove or demonstrate that we are “given-to” something… whether it be a hobby, a sport or even intercession! The saying “practice makes perfect” suggests that if we do something “much” we become better at it. That’s logic! So therefore it also stands to reason (in agreement with the teachings of E.M Bounds) that much time spent in the presence of God allows us to become better acquainted with His ways, more than someone who just pop-visits!
Recently in a podcast interview John Bevere said, “Too much is ‘assumed’ rather than ‘known’ these days.” I agree that its too easy to take things for granted. So let us decide that its better to KNOW HOW to pray than to assume we know how to pray. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals mysteries and gives revelation. We grow and mature. What was a mystery to us a year ago is no longer a mystery today. In other words He does not “keep-us-ignorant” just to “keep-us-dependent” on Him. No! He teaches us so that we can learn, grow and mature. Let us retain what we have learnt by the Spirit and apply it to prayer!
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Thank you Father once again for the Holy Spirit. I need Him to pray accurately. I want to yield to Him. I want to answer the call to pray. Stir up the gifts in me, so that I pray better. Amen.
CONFESSION OF THE DAY
THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS ME IN PRAYER. I AM BEING TRAINED. MY ABILITY TO PRAY IS THROUGH HIM. I YIELD TO THE PROCESS SO THAT I SEE THE FRUIT OF MY INTERCESSION IN JESUS NAME
THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE! WE LOVE YOU…!
Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries