A Whimsical Dictionary: I is for Intercession

A Whimsical Dictionary: I is for Intercession

A Whimsical Dictionary of Surprising Influences.

I is for Intercession –

Of all the types of prayer (such as adoration, confession, thanksgiving, on-going conversation, requests), I think intercession is the most confusing and mysterious. To intercede is to be brazen enough to approach the King in the throne room, and strong enough to lift someone else up to His line of vision. Only arms of Love, strengthened by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26), are powerful enough to accomplish that feat. This critical factor in Christian influence means that you talk to God about people at least as much as you talk to people about God. Intercession is not about a feeling, emotionĀ or sentiment, but insteadĀ about resolve and heart-felt mindfulness.

Intercession is an important aspect of burden-bearing, and two dramatic examples are: Moses, who more than once rescued his people’s corporate hide by challenging Yahweh to walk His talk of mercy (Exodus 32, Deuteronomy 9, Numbers 14); and Daniel, who really got carried away and pled for himself, Israel’s leaders, the entire Israeli nation, and all of Israel’s forefathers and mothers (Daniel 9). That’s quite a prayer list.

Also, apart from His heavenly construction business, Jesus’ time these days seems to be taken up by interceding for those He especially loves, which pretty much takes care of everyone ever born. (Hebrews 7:25). Since the Lord is praying for everyone in His world, shouldn’t His servants do likewise for those in their world? If you’re wondering what to say some time, try Daniel’s words on for size: “Oh Lord, hear! Oh Lord, forgive! Oh Lord, be attentive and act without delay!” (Daniel 9:17-19). Intercession at its best.

Intercession is an act of obedience (Colossians 4:2 and Philippians 4:6), but it remains a holy mystery. There are times when God seems to track right alongside us and respond with “Yes, Amen!” and the prayer is answered accordingly and sometimes miraculously. Then there are times when it seems like intercession is an exercise of repeatedly banging your head against the door. And then there are times when a prayer is answered that hadn’t even been voiced yet, as though God has read your mind and your spirit, and followed through before the prayer was uttered. Often, God seems to be in a different universe in terms of the timing of things, which of course He is.

With intercession, one never knows what will happen, and when. God is certainly no soda machine where you put in your dollar prayer and automatically get what you asked for. For some of the time, God seems stubbornly silent and nonresponsive. During those times, one is thankful that God is wiser than us, and knows infinitely more than we do.

But there are those periods of time, after years of interceding for a particular person or situation, when there is nothing to go on but sheer faith. Faith that God is listening, that He really does care, that He wants what is best for the person you are praying for, that He operates on a heavenly timeline. All through Scripture we are told to trust Him and to pray, regardless. So that’s what we’ll do. But there are times of doubt and confusion and dead silence when all you can say is, “Lord, I am going to keep knocking on your door, I am going to continue approaching your throne, whether or not you get sick of me doing so. I’m not giving up.” During those times, intercession is sheer hard work, patiently done in the dark, and it’s a real chore not to let the effort become a distraction to the prayer itself.

Intercession is asking for Divine Intervention from a mysterious and inscrutable God, and who knows the mind of God? I may not know the mind of God, but I know His heart. It is mercy. And that is where I will remain.

Regardless of the type of prayer, we do know that we never pray alone, even when in our private prayer closet. Psalm 138:1 mentions that we pray “in the sight of the angels.” Father Patrick Reardon once said that “prayer is always sustained by angelic presence.” Can you picture this? There we are in the throne room, and we are addressing the King, and lo and behold we are surrounded by angelic cheerleaders, urging us on, applauding our efforts, saying Amen, singing before the throne as we lift up our prayers. Heavenly angels are God’s messengers and ministers, and you can bet that they are ministering to us as we bend our knees in prayer. Awesome.