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"If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer: Intercession is a way of loving others."—Richard J. Foster
Standing Between Two Extremes
What is intercessory prayer? According to Webster, intercede
means simply, "to go or pass between; to act between parties with a view to reconcile those who differ or contend; to interpose; to mediate or make intercession; mediation."
Intercession basically means to stand between two extremes. It means to earnestly plead with a person on behalf of another. Intercessory prayer happens when we stand in the gap between God and others. We live in a world that is full of spiritual warfare, and God wants us to pray for the salvation and redemption of others. It is not his desire that any should perish but that all would receive eternal life (1 Timothy 2:4). God wants and desires us to pray for others.
Jesus the Ultimate Intercessor
There are numerous examples of individuals in the Bible who accepted the challenge to intercede on behalf of others, but the greatest example of intercession can be seen in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us, "Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus still sits at the right hand of God and continually makes intercession on our behalf. Jesus' intercession isn't just a prayer that he prayed, but the life that he lived. Everything he said and did was for us! The essential meaning of the cross is Christ's mediation for all who would be saved. The Bible tells us, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). True intercession begins by following Jesus' example of self-giving, and then flows into fervent prayer for the lives of others.
To be continued.