Job interceded for his friends, and God rewarded him for his obedience. Often Christian believers declare, “I’m not an intercessor.” However if you have every prayed for another person, you have prayed a prayer of intercession.
What is intercession? Intercession is not always prayer. For instance, you can intercede between parties to bring resolution, but today I am addressing specifically the prayer of intercession. It involves the lifting up in prayer of another person and is manifested in various forms; praying Scriptural prayers, praying in others tongues or travail. However, whatever form it may take, it is imperative that your intercession place you in agreement with God’s will, purposes and plans for those individuals.
Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].
Praying for one another is a basic foundation. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus taught us to pray not only for our friends, but also our enemies. You establish agreement with the Father by articulating His Word. Just as God rewarded Job when he prayed for his friends God rewards you when you pray for others. Through the words of the apostle Paul, the Father gave instruction in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 for the kinds of prayer that will assure you a quiet and peaceable life, which is His will for you.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
As a faithful follower of Christ you are to involve yourself in the affairs of God and humanity through intercessory prayer. In the name of Jesus, come boldly before the throne of grace, approaching God in faith and confidence, addressing Him in familiar but respectful conversational language, asking that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The Holy Spirit will help you when you don’t know how to pray. In order to converse with God, you must learn to speak as God speaks, because the Scripture says that if you ask anything according to His will, He hears you!
The Holy Spirit will teach you spiritual things, and give you understanding of God’s will when you study the written Word. He used the Scriptures to reveal God’s will, and you discover His will is His Word—His Word is His will.
Your confidence toward God is strong when you know what He says about the situations for which you are praying. He has given you the mind of Christ, and in this case that which is almost too good to be true is true! He has provided you with His written Word so that His mind can be developed within you as you study and meditate upon the Scriptures. Acknowledge the Holy Spirit and welcome Him; He is your Teacher and Guide.
For instance, let’s look at what the Bible has to say about the will of God for humankind. First Timothy 1:4 reveals that God wishes for all men to be saved, and to come into the full knowledge of the truth. Therefore, you can pray for the salvation of all mankind, in full confidence. You are praying in agreement with the Word of God.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.
You understand what God is saying about all men in I Timothy 1:4. When you pray for the salvation of mankind, the Holy Spirit may lead you to direct your prayers to the Lord of the harvest (Matthew 9:38). You can be assured: (1) that the Lord of the harvest hears your prayer, (2) that He will send forth laborers into His harvest fields who will share the Good News of the Gospel with the lost; and (3) that those who hear and believe will be delivered from the authority of darkness. Praying Scriptural prayers is a form of intercession.
After you pray for all men, you can then pray the following Scriptural prayer for those in authority: Father, I intercede on behalf of those in positions of authority, asking that Your will be done in the affairs of their lives and our country. We pray especially for the judges of our land, asking for judges who will give ear to the word of righteousness and the teaching of our God. Thank You for the freedom we enjoy. I ask You to direct our decisions at the voting polls that we may elect the uncompromisingly righteous to be in positions of authority so that we can rejoice. I ask You to establish their offices that they will be made secure by righteousness. Cause righteous and just lips to be a delight to those in authority that they may hear those who speak what is right. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
The ultimate goal of prayer is developing an intimate relationship with God, and out of this relationship you learn to pray effectively for others. Regardless of your function in the Body of Christ, remember everyone is called to pray. God will reward you when you pray for others just as He rewarded Job when he prayed for his friends. He called you to a lifestyle of prayer, and you can count on His faithfulness. Faithful is He who called who will also do it!
(Excerpts from A Call to Prayer by Germaine Copeland)
(Revised, copyright © 1987 and 2001) Copyright © 2005 by Germaine Copeland
Germaine Copeland is the author of the best selling book series, Prayers That Avail Much. She has written scriptural prayers for the family. Read your Bible, pray and attend church where you can soak up the love and faith of God. You will receive emotional healing, experience spiritual growth and become more intimately acquainted with your Heavenly Father, and your relationships will grow stronger.