Monday, June 14, 2010

A Faith That Intercedes


As I now begin the next six week phase of recovery I’m reflecting on the past and looking ahead to my future. The past six weeks have been a long, arduous journey for me. Physical pain gives one a perspective that empathizes with those who suffer. Due to surgery, I’ve not had the privilege of reading blogs I’d become so comfortable following. In such a short time, so many of you have touched my life; I’ve missed the fellowship each of you gives through your writing.

I’ve asked myself “What will I say to my fellow believers in Christ and to those who happen to find their way to my page, when I return to this community of bloggers?” I realize that time is something I value and so I must say I value you and the time you give me here.

I’m thankful for so many friends and family members who’ve shared an encouraging word, prayed and given me food or drink. I cried tears of thanks to God for those who’ve so touched me with the love of God demonstrated through their acts of kindness and words of affection. Through each person, God has allowed me to see a faith that intercedes.

I’ve always viewed intercession as the act of praying for another; but I now believe it encompasses so much more. There are only nine references to intercession in the bible and only one reference to the word intercessor. Although very little may have been written in scripture, I believe God would have us understand and apply the principles of intercession to our daily living.

The Hebrew word paga (paw-gah’) is used for both intercession and intercessor. It means to impinge, by accident or violence, or (figuratively) by importunity: -- come (betwixt), cause to entreat, fall (upon), make intercession, intercessor, intreat, lay, light [upon], meet (together), pray, reach, run.

The Greek word for intercession is derived from the word huper (hoop-er’) which means placing above, beyond or across for the sake of, regarding another to be superior to. To intercede in behalf of: -- make intercession for.

To me, intercession has the mindset of helping another who may be in need, distress or trouble; The Good Samaritan1 is a biblical example of an intercessor. It is the principle behind loving one’s neighbor above your own self. An intercessor answers the questions:
  1. Who is my brother?
  2. Who is a friend?
First, we have the Intercession of Christ, who as our High Priest serves as mediator between God and humanity. Christ as our High Priest sits on the right hand of God, pleading for each of us. He is therefore viewed as our Advocate. The prayers and praises of all believers are made acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. This is referenced by Isaiah:

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.2

The intercession of Christ is threefold:
  1. He intercedes for the world
  2. He intercedes for the Christian community
  3. He intercedes for individuals (particularly those who trust in Him)
Secondly, we have the Intercession of the Holy Spirit which Paul spoke of in Romans 8:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.3

There have been nights when I’ve been unable to sleep due to the pain from surgery and I was unable to express to God in a coherent manner my need. Oftentimes, I found myself simply uttering the word, Jesus. I believe the Holy Spirit interpreted my innermost desire and conveyed it to the Father, easing my pain and allowing me to rest.

Thirdly, there is the Intercession of Christians whom the Bible instructs to:

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.4

This is the privilege and duty we as Christians inherit; powerfully and effectively, demonstrating genuine, sincere and loving acts toward others. It does not supersede the intercessory work of Christ and the Holy Spirit but it does give us opportunity to demonstrate God’s love through us to those in need.

It was no accident that Christ died a violent death, a death which paid the penalty for our sin. It can be no accident when we see others in need (spiritual, emotional, or physical); we must act with purpose to feed the hungry, shepherd the orphans and widows, sheltering the homeless, ministering to the sick and praying for our country’s leaders, those who work in government, those who provide jobs for us, that we may be blessed and our nation flourish.

It is your faith in Christ that ushers in the attitude of an intercessor. Through faith, we are given opportunities to minister and touch the lives of others. We may not see the end results of our intercession but our faith assures us that God will respond. Each day, we can intercede for someone, through prayer and acts of faith; sharing God’s love. Keep in mind the privilege and duty bestowed upon you.

Here is a list of prayer requests I use as a template for others:
  1. May your life glow brightly with the love and grace of God
  2. May your thoughts be guided by God's wisdom and truth
  3. May your words always echo sincerity and compassion
  4. May your eyes see what is needed in the lives of others
  5. May your ears hear and never be ashamed
  6. May your kindness bring healing to soothe away many hurts
  7. May your steps be guided to walk in everlasting light
  8. May you always remember the goodness of God
  9. May you teach those who come after you of God's grace
  10. May God's love always enrich and bless others through you

Footnotes:
  1. Luke 10:30-37, NASB
  2. Isaiah 53:12, NIV
  3. Romans 8:26, NIV
  4. James 5:16, NIV

References:
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago
  3. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  4. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA

4 comments:

Lloyd said...

Thank you for the message. I will continue to lift you up to the Lord in prayer. God's blessings. Lloyd

DC said...

Hi Daddy,
A wonderful, timely message. The act and duty of an intercessor is an important role to consider in any time but especially times like these. I'd forgotten Christ intercedes for us daily and when you reminded me the other day it really gave me pause to consider how truly blessed I am and how much strength and faith this knowing provides me. He's going to the Father about me everyday. WOW, I'm going to be okay :o)!

JT said...

Prayer is powerful. God Post. May God Bless You.

sarah said...

good post...blessings.