Prayer Of Intercession For All Christians
Intercessory Prayer Groups
One of the most powerful ways to go about praying for others is to form a small group set aside for that purpose. The prayer time can be surrounded with other activities or be stripped of most else; each group develops its own tone.
It's best not to make a big fuss about praying together for others or for the Church or about any one prayer procedure or approach or strategy; it's something which works best when it's just done.
As with all small groups, a commitment and a comraderie is ly to develop over time, just from sharing these concerns together. It can get exciting when one of the prayers is answered.
There are rules of good behavior – a kind of prayer etiquette, not law — for intercessory prayer circle members to follow (these are good rules for other types of groups, too):
- Be bold. Don't ever think, “oh, this is too hard / big / small / rare a thing for us”. Lay it before God, and if that's what God wants, God will make it come to be.
- Understand that God's purposes go far beyond your group, therefore concerns far beyond your group or your church must be a full part of the group's prayers.
- Follow your leader during prayer, even if you don't the way it is going. Keep all arguments and fighting the actual intercessory prayer time.
- Pray with the flow of the meeting. There is a time for praying aloud, and a time for quiet and silence; a time to focus on interceding for a specific person or group or ministry, and time to take on all requests; a time to pray feverishly, and a time for relaxed trust; a time to speak up with a flow of words, and a time to just listen for the Spirit. The Spirit, wind, can change direction quickly, and the meeting should learn to move with the Spirit.
- Praise God for answers to prayer, whether or not you think those answers are good. God is afoot in the world, and that's good news!
- Stay focused. Don't break from prayer unless you absolutely must. In prayer, you're collectively dealing with God, not each other. That means do the Scripture readings, announcements, healings, gifts of 'words', event scheduling, money collection, songs, counseling, correction or other duties before or after the prayers, not during them. (You can, for instance, go from one prayer practice to another, or suddenly steer into intercession for someone in need who is there with laying on of hands. But don't blurt out the time and place for the church picnic.)
- Put others' needs before your own.
- Keep your own motives as clear as you can.
- Gossip and criticism are not prayer. Pray, don't pry.
- It's okay when someone chooses not to pray. Noone is ever to be pressured to pray.
- Don't be afraid of gossip about yourself. Someone else needs your prayers and you need theirs, and in intercession, that is what counts. (Do not pray aloud about someone else in a way that would breach another person's private confidences. Pray that specific prayer silently.)
- Don't try to take over on someone else during prayer. Pray instead that the pray-er gets fresh direction from the Spirit.
- Prayer time is not a time to pass messages or signals to someone else, out loud or otherwise.
- A sermon is not a prayer. If the purpose of your speaking during prayers is that others hear your point of view, then be silent and get into what they're praying. You're talking to God, not to those around you. Do you think God s to be preached at?
- Please don't say 'Jesus' or 'hallelujah' every other word. (This is my pet peeve, and most visitors and newcomers think it's bizarre.) Think of how it would sound to you if someone said your name every few words when speaking to you. Do you think God s it any better? God knows His name! You can let out a good 'amen' or 'praise god', especially to voice support of another's prayer, but please don't let it swallow up the prayer itself.
- Don't reduce intercessory (or any other) prayer to the constant repeating of catch-phrases, , “more! more!” or “fire! fire! fire!”. That's not really intercession, because it's detached from people.
- Make your prayers concise, specific, and to the point, yet with enough words to be a sharing of the heart. There are those who ask for blessings, or angel visitations and divine miracles on every little detail. That's for private time, not group time. No prayer hogs allowed. Everyone else must have the chance to pray aloud.
One of the great glories of the new web technologies is the possibilities of chat room prayer.
One approach: people who bear a burden for, say, special needs children, or the victims of a disaster, can gather on the web in a specific room at a specific time from all over the world, all at once, sharing what they are each led to share, so that all can pray together on it. A record can be posted for the benefit of those who missed the scheduled time and still want to pray with them.
Intercessory Prayer Group Leadership
It is important that there be someone who takes the main responsibility for leading the group. Often a main leader emerges from the first few meetings, just naturally, but if things start to drift or fizzle after a while, a more deliberate choice needs to be made.
A group without some sort of leadership usually drifts off into the mists.
Leadership sets the basic course for the prayers of the meeting, maintains the contacts, makes suggestions for further devotions, makes sure schedules are set, and provides a way for the group to effectively pray on private matters without breaching privacy.The main leader is the main contact, the go-to person on specific prayer matters outside of group time, or with questions on prayer practice.
Most groups find that it's best to take one subject at a time; if so, there needs to be someone who is responsible for keeping the group on course, and to stop members from hijacking the prayers, while still allowing the Spirit to have the freedom to switch the tracks. The leader also debriefs – he/she goes over what happened with those who couldn't be there. Leadership can be a shared or alternating role, but each one's responsibilities need to be made very clear. A leader should have traits these :
- a servant's heart. (Intercessory prayer is not a stepping-stone to church office or power-broker roles.)
- a belief that God listens when we pray for others, God wants us to pray for others, and God acts because of it. (This trust is God's promises in Scripture.)
- has some ability or gift to spiritually discern. (This is how they know where to lead, when the group is going off-task, and when someone is trying to manipulate what's going on.)
- is reliable. (Someone can't lead if they suddenly don't show up.)
- is steeped in Scripture. (Through it, they develop a 'scripture instinct' that helps discern the Spirit's direction for the group.)
- is discreet. (Pray-ers get very personal and confessional sometimes. That can be fodder for the rumor mill in just about every church.)
- is open-minded and teachable, taking the time to really listen. (As time goes on, a good leader learns some lessons about leading and about following Christ.)
- is emotionally and spiritually mature. (If not, their place in the group is to follow.)
- prays and does personal devotions. (How can someone lead a prayer group when they don't have a devotional life of their own?)
- is loving, not harsh. (The leader should be someone who draws people in, not scares them off.)
- is not central in a congregation's internal politics. (If the leader's a player in the parish's power struggles, the group will eventually be drawn into it.)
- has enough time. (Leading takes preparation. It's hard to lead when a thousand other things demand your attention. The leader needs to be reasonably available to the others in the group, because some things will be left undone during meetings.)
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Remember This About Intercession
One last note: notice that I said nothing about Satan, nor about tearing down strongholds, or claiming victories over cities. This is not because there is no Satan; I believe the Devil really exists (in his own surreal way).
I don't even object to a 'spiritual warfare' view of intercession, taken in the right way, viewed through the eyes of love. But spiritual warfare is not the heart of intercessory prayer, nor are strategies for victory against the Devil.
Nor are prayer procedures, practices, traditions, or methods what really matters. Nor is praying together in vast numbers, or using exactly the same words, or using only bible phrases. Intercession is a matter of love first, before and beyond anything else.
It is a matter of perspective, looking outward from ourselves to see what life is, or can become, for other people, and being moved by it. All 'strategies' for intercession prayers are specific — they are about specific people (or specific groups) and specific happenings or needs.
The Devil loses when the Spirit builds people up through praying and being prayed for. The place for all other matters (and there are many) is within the context of love.
Spirithome has more on what Christians are and have been doing to stand with and for those who are ill.
More on prayer groups.
More ideas on group intercession, from Living Lutheran.
“He prayed for His enemies, and you do not even pray for your friends.”
———- Johann Arndt, *True Christianity*
“All vital praying makes a drain on a man's vitality. True intercession is a sacrifice, a bleeding sacrifice.”
———- J.H. Jowett
“When you pray for your friends, be ready to lend a hand. Lip service does nothing for God.”
———- Dennis Kean
Study Questions on Intercession
- When you were ill or in serious trouble, did you ever feel the prayers of others? What was that ? What were you getting from those prayers?
- Have you ever been so concerned about someone that you felt driven to pray for them?
- If you take part in a liturgical service : take note of the Prayer Of the Church, which usually happen somewhere between the Sermon and Holy Communion. Is it an intercessory prayer? What is it that you are praying for in it? What can a prayer that do for those praying it?
- Can you think of any gifted intercessors in your worship community? What is special about their intercessions? Do you ever pray for them? Do you ever pray with them?
- Is there someone who comes to mind right now? Take time right now and pray for that person.
Try these pages on intercession and spiritual practices :
Search this site, or other sites, for more on intercession.
Orig. 1997-11-12, ver.: 2015-10-11.
Intercessory Groups. Copyright © 1997-2015 by Robert Longman.
World Heritage Encyclopedia
Intercession or intercessory prayer is the act of praying to God on behalf of others. In Western Christianity, intercession forms a distinct form of prayer, alongside Adoration, Confession and Thanksgiving.
The Apostle Paul's exhortation to Timothy specified that intercession prayers can be made for those in authority.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
— 1 Timothy 2:1-2
In Islam it is called Shafa'ah, which is a form of prayer to request God by the sake of those who are near to him in order that as a member of the believing community one could hope for the intercession of the intercessors and hence deliverance from eternal damnation though not necessarily from temporary one.
- Christianity 1
- In the Early Church 1.1
- Intercession of the saints 1.2
- Intercession for the dead 1.3
- Islam 2
- See also 3
- References 4
- External links 5
In the Early Church
The early Christians continued to practice intercessory prayer on behalf of others after Jesus’ death. St. Ignatius of Antioch was one man who exhorted Christians to continue to pray for others, and especially for those who became Docetists or held other heretical beliefs. In his letter to the churches of Smyrna, St. Ignatius exhorts the Christians there to pray for other people: “only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult.
Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this”. Throughout all of Ignatius’s letters, the word for prayers of intercession appear nineteen times, and Ignatius asks for prayer “for himself (eight times), for the Christian church in Syria (seven times), for persecutors, heretics, and all people generally (once each)”.
St. Ignatius and the other church fathers, such as Paul the Apostle, who were keen on intercessory prayer based this practice on Jesus’ own teachings which required that one pray for others, especially one’s enemies:
27 But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. –Luke 6:27-28
According to Lionel Swain, of St. Edmund's College, Ware, St. Paul believed that intercession one of the most important aspects of faith and praying life, as praying for others as a recurring theme in his works. Prayer acts as a way for St.Paul to acknowledge God’s power. Intercessory prayer also acts as a way for the Apostle to “share in… the Father’s redemptive love”.
 Paul believes that prayer transforms the person doing the prayer, rather than the one being prayed for, which creates a stronger bond between him and God.
Prof. Dr Johannes van Oort, Professor Extraordinarius in the Department of Church History and Church Polity of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa adds that, in addition to praying for wisdom, the early church was very much involved with different charismas, one of which being healing.
Praying for other people's illnesses was another way that intercessory prayer was important in the early church, as healing was a sign of “the power of God's Kingdom”. This gift of healing is specifically mentioned, among the other charismata, as a sign of being a true Christian by Irenaeus of Lyons in his text, Against Heresies.
Intercession of the saints
Intercession of the saints is a doctrine held by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, and most Anglicans, that saints may be asked to intercede (or pray) for others. The doctrine of requesting intercession from saints can be found in Christian writings from the 3rd century AD. The 4th-century Apostles' Creed states belief in the communion of saints which certain Christian churches interpret as supporting the intercession of saints. Following the stream of Judaic-Christian tradition, Judaism allows for the petition of the saints.
In Lutheran teachings all believers are saints, but prayer to saints who have been transferred to the Church Triumphant is forbidden.
Intercession for the dead
In addition to praying for each other in life, early Christians would pray for those who had died. There is no unequivocal evidence that Christians began to pray for the dead before the third century CE. G. F.
Hamilton argues that the earliest example of Church prayer on behalf of dead Christians are found in the Sacramentary of Serapion of Thmuis (350 CE). Rather than pray for the departed in regular church services on Sunday, these early Christians would hold special commemorative occasions during the week.
There was a sharp distinction drawn between remembering and praying on behalf of the dead, and those who were the “’faithfully’ departed”, where Christians would only pray for those who had died as believers.
The First Epistle of Clement (95 CE) contains a prayer, while mainly for protection for the living, also includes the dead. Even quite early, a distinction was drawn between those who had died as Christians, and those who had died as unbelievers.
In the Martyrdom of Polycarp (155 CE), Polycarp is killed and his bones are taken by fellow Christians and a shrine is set up to him, where they may remember his martyrdom. In contrast, the “Apology of Aristides” shows how those who were not Christians were grieved for, while the dead faithful were rejoiced over.
Shafa'ah is among the most controversial concepts within Islamic thought. This is because some verses of the Quran negate it stating that no intercession would be accepted in the day of resurrection.
Some other verses however confirm it declaring that only God has the right to intercede in the next life. Finally there is a third kind of verses that state some people have the authority to intercede by permission of God.
Wahhabies, taking the first two kinds of these verses as true, believe that there is no intercessor but Allah, and say that whoever believes in intercession of anyone other than God is not a Muslim, rather is a heretic. According to Tabatabaie, however, it is a famous style of Quran that it first rejects any virtue or perfection for anyone other than God; then it confirms the same virtue for others depending on His permission and pleasure. The principle of intercession is mentioned in some of Muhammad's sayings when he said for example: I have received five gifts from God, [one of which] is that of intercession, which I have in store for my community.
My intercession is for those who have not associated any partner with God. According to Quran the prophets and angles have the authority to intercede on behalf of believing members of Islamic community.
According to Shiite Imams and other intimate friends of God could also intercede on permission of God.
- “””Question: “What is intercessory prayer?. GotQuestions.org. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- a b Dakake, Maria Massi. The Charismatic Community Shi˜ite Identity in Early Islam. edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 132–137, 172–173.
- Shepherd, Jr. Massey Hamilton.
“Smyrna in the Ignatian Letters: A Study in Church Order.” The Journal of Religion 20.2 (1940): 151. Web.
- Epistle to the Smyrnaeans Ch. 4
- “Smyrna in the Ignatian Letters: A Study in Church Order.” The Journal of Religion 20.2 (1940): 152. Web.
- John Greehy, John Quinlan, Lionel Swain and S.
Purcell “Homiletic Notes” 17 The Furrow Vol. 19, No. 11, Supplement: The Bible, No. 6 (Autumn, 1968) , pp. 14-19
- a b Homiletic Notes 17
- van Oort, Johannes. “The Holy Spirit and the Early Church: The Experience of the Spirit.” Hervormde Teologiese Studies 68.1 (2012): 1-7.
- Against Heresies Book 2, Chapter 32
- “On the Intercession and Invocation of the Saints”. orthodoxinfo.com.
- Prayers of the Ancient Church for the Faithful Departed G. F. Hamilton The Irish Church Quarterly Vol. 9, No. 35 (Jul.
, 1916) , pp. 201 Stable URL: //www.jstor.org/stable/30067646
- a b c Hamilton 203
- Hamilton 209
- Hamilton 202
- Martyrdom of Polycarp
- Hamilton 204
- Apology of Aristides
- a b
- Al-Qazwini, Sayyid Moustafa. “Inquiries About Shi'a Islam”. Islam.org.
The Islamic Educational Center of Orange County.
- Sobhani, Ayatollah Ja'far. doctrines of shii islam; A Compendium of Imami Beliefs and Practices. Translated and Edited by Reza Shah-Kazemi. London: I.B.Tauris Publishers. pp. 132–137.
- a b Donaldson, Dwight M. (1933).
The Shi'ite Religion: A History of Islam in Persia and Irak. BURLEIGH PRESS. pp. 339–358.
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Intercession
Intercession Prayer – syrianorthodox
Is it biblical to ask the departed saints to pray for us?
Is it biblical to us to pray for the souls of our departed?
Lets start by examining what the scripture says about this:
Acts of the Apostles 4: 12, says: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” The scripture also says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2: 5).
So if there is no intercessor or mediator between God and men other than Lord Jesus Christ, then how can we ask St. Mary or St. Thomas to pray for us?
Is it Biblical to pray for each other?
Even those who teach that we should not ask St. Mary or other saints to intercede for us, do pray for others and even ask others to pray for them.
When a pastor prays for the healing of a sick man, what is the role of the pastor between that sick man and God? The sick man can pray for his own healing, right? So when a pastor prays for the healing of another man, the pastor is indeed a mediator or intercessor between the sick man and God.
In the same epistle where St. Paul teaches us that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men, he also asks us to make supplications and intercessions for all men, especially for kings and for those in authority.
In 1 Timothy 2: 1-3 we read: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”
Again in James 5: 14 – 16, we are instructed to pray for each other. There are specific instructions in this scripture that kasheesha (translated in most English translations as elder) of the church should pray over the sick and anoint them with oil. We can see in this passage that through the intersession prayers of others, the Lord will forgive the sins of the sick person.
In Lamentations 2: 18-19 we see the exhortation to give oneself no relief but to pray for life of young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street.
In Numbers 11: 1 – 2, we see the people crying out to Moses and Moses interceding to God on behalf of the people and God answering those prayers.
In Genesis 18: 16-33, we can see Patriarch Abraham interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah.In light of the above verses we can learn that it is absolutely biblical to intercede for others and to ask others to intercede for us.
So if it is biblical to intercede for others or be a mediator between others and God, then how are we to interpret the scripture: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2: 5). Lets tackle that at the end of this article.
We have seen above that I can ask you to pray (intercede) for me and you can ask me to intercede for you. We have seen that in both the New and Old Testament, there are many examples of intersession prayers. So then what is the big deal about asking St. Mary the Mother of Our Lord or St Paul the Apostle of the Lord to intercede for us?
Those who oppose the teachings of Orthodox Church, answer this question by saying that you and I are alive where as St. Mary and St. Peter are dead.
They teach that it is ok for you and me who are alive to ask each other to intercede for us, but it is not ok for us to ask St. Mary or St. Peter who is dead to intercede for us.
In order to prove their case they often quote Psalm 115: 17, which says: “The dead do not praise the LORD, Nor do any who go down into silence.”
We should not stop at verse 17 but we should continue to read verse 18. In Psalm 115: 18 it says: “But as for us, we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forever.
” Please note it does not say that we will bless the Lord from this time till we are dead, but it says we will bless the Lord from this time and forever. The keyword here is “forever”.
So from this verse it is evident to us there are some people who bless the Lord forever and not just till the death of their physical body. We can see this again in the “Prayer of the three young men” from the furnace in Daniel 3. In sub-verse 64 and 65 after Daniel 3-23 we read:
“Bless the Lord, spirits and souls of the righteous, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”So from Psalm 115 17-18, we can learn that the dead do not praise the Lord, but we who don’t die will bless the Lord forever.
Lets explore who are dead and who are these people who don’t die.
In Genesis 2: 16 – 17, we see God giving a specific instruction to Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He even describes the consequence of doing that, we read: “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
” Here we can see the scripture is very specific. It says that Adam will die on the very day he eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. But in the scripture we can see Adam continuing to live in his physical body for many years after he ate the forbidden fruit.
So what does God mean when He tells Adam that he will die on the very day he eat the forbidden fruit. We can see that God is not referring to the death of the physical body, but the death of his spirit or soul.
So even though Adam’s physical body continued to live even after he ate the forbidden fruit, his spirit died the very day he ate the forbidden fruit.
In Matthew 22: 32 the Lord says: “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but the living.” At the time of Jesus , Abraham, Issac and Jacob were all physically dead. So what does our Lord mean when He says that God is not the God of the dead, but is the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
Here again the Lord is not talking about physical death but about spiritual death. Again in Matthew 17 1- 13 we read regarding the transfiguration of our Lord on the mountain. In verse 3 we read about Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah.
The scripture clearly talks about Moses's physical death, here we see him talking with our Lord after his physical death.
In Luke 9: 59-60, we can see a man telling Jesus that he wanted to first take care of his father and after he had a chance to bury his father he will come and follow Jesus. Jesus tells him “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.
” What does Jesus mean when he says, “Let the dead bury their own dead.”. He does not mean that a dead corpse should literally bury another dead corpse. He is referring to the spiritually dead, one who loves another thing or person (even his own father) above the Lord.For we are commanded: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20: 3) and “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5).
This man by loving his own father more than the Lord, was at the risk of becoming spiritually dead.
In John 11 : 25 –26, we see Jesus saying: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” So we have to ask the question, did St. Mary the Mother of our Lord , St. Peter, St. Paul and St.
Thomas the Apostles and the other saints believe in Jesus when they were physically alive. The answer is “Yes”; none of the Christian denominations will disagree. So if they believed in Jesus when they were physically alive, then they shall never die, though they may die, they shall live.
We can now understand the full meaning of Psalm 115 17-18. We can see who are those who are dead and do not praise God and we also see who are those who don’t die and bless the Lord forever. We saw that in the case of Adam, he was spiritually dead, while physically alive.
We see Moses was spiritually alive, while physically dead. Adam remained spiritually dead even after his physical death, till Christ trampled down death by his own death and gave Adam life. We also see how the saints are very much spiritually alive even after their physical death.
So we see that spiritual death has nothing to do with physical death.
In Psalm 115, verse 17, the reference is to the spiritually dead, irrespective of their physical status (dead or alive) and verse 18 is about the spiritually alive, irrespective of their physical status (dead or alive).
Praying for the Departed
When we are exhorted by St. Paul, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. We need to pray for all men that are alive in Christ, irrespective of their physical status.
In God and in His Church there is no division between the living and the departed, but all are one in the love of the Father.
Whether we are physically alive or whether we are physically dead, as members of the Church we still belong to the same family, and still have a duty to bear one another’s burdens.Therefore just as we here on earth pray for one another and ask for one another’s prayers, so we pray also for the faithful departed and ask the faithful departed to pray for us.
Orthodox are convinced that Christians here on earth have a duty to pray for the departed just as they have every right to ask the departed to pray for us.
We are confident that the departed are helped by such prayers, just as we are helped by the intercessions of the departed saints.
If we are asked precisely in what way do our prayers help the departed? What exactly is the condition of souls in the period between physical death and the Resurrection of the Body at the Last Day? The answer is, we don’t know.
Just we don’t know how our prayers for a man who is physically alive will help him. When we pray for the healing of a man, we know our prayers help him. In some cases the man is healed and in some cases he is not healed, but irrespective of him receiving physical healing, our prayers help him, we just don’t know precisely how.
When St. Anthony of Egypt was worrying about this in the desert, a voice came to him, saying: “Anthony, attend to yourself, for these are the judgments of God, and it is not for you to know them.”
So we Orthodox Christians sing:
കര്ത്താവെ നിന് രക്ത-ശരീരങ്ങള്, കൈക്കൊണ്ട്
ഭക്തരതായി മരിച്ചോര്-ക്കരുളണമേ, നല്ലോര്മ്മ
നിന്റെ മഹത്വമുദിക്കും നാള്
which is the very similar to the prayer of St.Paul for the departed Onesiphorus as we read in 2 Timothy 1: 18 “The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day – an you know very well how many ways he ministered at Ephesus.”
Departed saints interceding for us
Where does prayer come from? Does prayer come from the body or from the spirit ? We see in Matthew 15:8, the Lord saying, “These people honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me”.In John 4: 24 we read: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
” So in prayer and worship, the status of the body is not important, the body could be dead or alive, as long as you are spiritually alive you can and will worship and bless the Lord forever.
In Hebrews 11:4, we read: “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
” We read about the voice of Abel’s blood crying out to the Lord from the ground in Genesis 4:9-10.
Thus if righteous Abel could cry out to the Lord after his death after offering his sacrifice, we can be sure the Christian saints who are justified by the perfect sacrifice can cry out to the Lord even after their physical death.
We also continue the biblical tradition of venerating the relics of saints. We can see in 2 Kings 2:13-14, Elisha parting the water using the cloak of Elijah even after Elijah was gone.
In 2 Kings 13:21 we read about a dead man coming back to life when his dead body came into contact with the bones of Prophet Elisha. In Acts 19:11-12, we read about how even handkerchiefs and aprons touched by St. Paul healed the sick and cast out evil spirits.
So it is not only biblical to ask a departed saint to intercede for us, but also it is sacred tradition to venerate their relics.
Isn't Jesus Christ our only Mediator between God and men?
So when 1 Timothy 2: 5 says that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men, how do we reconcile this with what we saw above. Jesus is the only mediator between God the Father and men. Men who are alive in Christ, irrespective of they being physically alive or dead can pray for each other to Christ our Lord. Our departed saints intercede for us to Christ.
Mother of our God Jesus Christ, Apostles, Evangelists, Martyrs and all the Saints, can and will cry out to the Lord for us even though they are physically dead.In fact in private an Orthodox Christian is free to ask for the intercessions of any member of the Church, whether canonized or not.
It would be perfectly normal for an orphaned Orthodox child to end his evening prayer by asking for the intercessions not only of the Mother of God and saints, but of his own mother and father.
As Orthodox Christians we invoke in prayers not only saints, but the angels. The angels ‘fence us around with their intercessions and shelter us under their protecting wings of immaterial glory.
Sermon about Saints by H.B Baselious Thomas I, Catholicose of the East.
1. Intersession Prayers to St. Mary, the Mother of God
5 Principles for Effective Prayers of Intercession
I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men–1 Tim. 2:2.
Are you a believer in Christ seeking a more effective prayer life? If so, then it’s important for you to learn God’s principles for prayer so that your prayers of intercession may receive His response.
These divine principles for effective prayers of intercession are revealed in God’s Word, They’re awaiting our discovery and application.
So in this post, we’ll consider five of these divine principles from Genesis 18 to see how Abraham practiced effective prayers of intercession so that we also can apply them in our prayer life.
Five basic principles for effective prayers of intercession
Intercession refers to an act of interceding, an interposing or pleading on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble. In the Bible it refers to our prayer to God on behalf others.
In Genesis 18, we can see Abraham’s intercession to God on behalf of Lot, his nephew. This case reveals at least five basic principles for our effective prayers of intercession.
1. Initiated by God’s revelation—Gen. 18:17-21
God was seeking an intercessor and He found one in Abraham. After receiving the meal prepared by Abraham, God made His heart known to him in Genesis 18:17-21 where God begins by saying, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?…”
Part of the footnote on this verse in the Holy Bible Recovery Version says,
“…God revealed His heart’s desire. The proper intercession is not initiated by man but by God’s revelation. Thus it expresses God’s desire and paves the way for the accomplishing of His will.”
Today, we can receive God’s revelation by reading His Word and proper ministry books that open up the Word. In Ephesians 3:3-4, Paul said,
“That by revelation the mystery was made know to me, as I have written previously in brief, by which in reading it, you can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ.”
2. For God’s people—Gen. 18:23
Both God and Abraham were concerned for Lot—one of God’s people who drifted into the world.
Although God had determined to judge that corrupted world, His heart was concerned for Lot, particularly as it relates to Lot’s relationship with Christ. Ruth, who would become a great grandmother of Jesus was a Moabitess, a descendant of Lot and God was concerned for Lot in order to protect Christ’s genealogy through her.
True prayers of intercession focus on God’s interest in His people. They are related to God’s gaining people in order to bring forth Christ in them and through them (Gal. 4:19). God needs us to intercede for His people, including the backslidden ones Lot so that Christ can be brought forth in them and through them.
May our prayers be turned from our private interests to care for God’s interest in people according to the desire of His heart.
3. An intimate conversation with God according to God’s heart—Gen. 18:22-33
“…Abraham remained standing before Jehovah” (v. 22). There God and Abraham had an intimate conversation as between two friends (Isa. 41:8).
It’s amazing to see how God opened His heart to Abraham and how Abraham conversed with God—even challenging God—on a human level, in such an intimate way.
To learn this lesson, we first need to learn to fellowship with the Lord. Then we need to learn to linger in His presence—to have an intimate conversation with Him.
This hymn: “Pray to fellowship Jesus, in the spirit seek His face” really develops this point. I encourage you to pray over the lyrics to learn to have such an intimate conversation with the Lord.
4. According to God’s righteous way—Gen. 18:23-32
Abraham learned another lesson regarding intercession, that is, how to appeal to God according to His righteousness (Gen. 18:23-32). Whether God expresses His love and grace toward a person may fluctuate according to His feeling. But God’s righteousness is absolute.
Righteousness is the foundation of God’s throne (Psa. 89:14). So we need to learn how to challenge God according to His righteousness.
However, holding God to His righteousness is difficult to do without an adequate knowledge of God’s Word. For example, if God has given us His word of promise in the Scriptures, He would be unrighteous if He does not do according to His Word.May we learn to intercede by praying, “Lord, You said in Your Word…now do as You have spoken and fulfill Your promise.”
C. H. Spurgeon in The Secret of Power in Prayer said,
You put your finger down upon the very lines, and say, “Do as thou hast said.” This is the best praying in all the world. O beloved, be filled with God’s Word. (p. 21)
5. God speaking in our speaking—Gen. 18:33
Finally, we can see that Abraham’s intercession ended not with Abraham, but with God. Genesis 18:33 says,
“And Jehovah went away as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham…”
This Word gives us two practical points to remember. First, genuine intercession is God’s speaking in our speaking. Second, our prayers of intercession should end when God has finished His speaking. So we need to learn to remain with the Lord until He has finished His speaking.
Often, we look at the time and say, “My prayer time is over.” But, has God really finished His speaking? We may actually walk away from Him leaving the Lord with no channel through which to finish His intercession. May we learn to let the Lord speak in our speaking and let Him finish His speaking.
As earnest believers in Christ, the Lord will surely lay many people on our heart. He may give us the burden to pray for our family, friends, relatives, colleagues, classmates and neighbors. They all need our prayer, whether it is for their salvation, growth in Christ, or restoration from a backslidden ore dormant condition.
But, it is not only they who need God and His salvation. Even more, God needs them for the accomplishment of His purpose for Christ and the church, His Body.
To this end may we be one with God to pray prayers of intercession that are:
1) Initiated by His revelation,2) For His people,3) In an intimate conversation with Him,4) According to His righteous way and5) With Him speaking in our speaking.
In this way God, can carry out His desire and accomplish His will on this earth.
If you’ve been helped by this post to see the divine principles for prayers of intercession, please share your appreciation in a comment.
References and Further Resources:
An Intercessory Prayer – Encouraging Others
Have you ever felt an unexplained burden on your heart to pray for the masses, for unnamed others, for your community or the world at large? The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who lifted up others in prayer, and Ephesians 6:18 tells us to: pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.
What is Intercession and Intercessory Prayer?
The primary principle of intercession is simply to tell God what He tells us to tell Him as the means of releasing His power. He tells us what to pray in His Word. We can pray the Bible. It is profoundly simple. Intercession is God’s brilliant strategy for including the saints in ruling with Him in power. Its mystery is in its weakness, simplicity, humility, and accessibility to all.
God has chosen intercession as the primary means in which He releases His power now and forever. Jesus operated in the principle of intercession when He created the earth by speaking the Word to the Father (Genesis 1). He releases His power now and will rule the nations forever in partnership with His people through intercession.
- Intercession causes us to internalize God’s Word and changes us.
- Intercession unites our heart to people and places we pray for.
- Intercession renews our hope and faith.
- Intercession imparts life (John 6:63).
- Intercession makes a long-term impact beyond this age (Rev. 5:8, 8:1-6).
- Intercession humbles us.
- Intercession changes the spiritual atmosphere of cities and nations.
- Intercession causes multiple blessings to return to the intercessor (Luke 6:38).
(Excerpt from The Revelation of Intercession by Debbie Przybylski)
Example Intercessory Prayer
Lord Jesus, I come to you today and thank you for the privilege of praying for others. I've been the recipient of others' prayers so often, I understand how powerful intercessory prayer can be.
I ask you first to cleanse my heart and show me if there is any unconfessed sin in my own life so that my prayers for others will not be hindered.
I thank you that through your name, I can come boldly before you and pray with confidence, according to your will and know that you hear me.
I lift up those in my neighborhood, in my city, and in my church. Begin with those who follow you, and help them influence others for good. Let them be salt and light, pointing others to you. Deepen their love for you and for the people around them. Guard them from hypocrisy or from giving in to temptations that could harm the cause of Christ.
Raise up leaders who will serve you faithfully at all costs. Turn the hearts of fathers toward their children, and families toward you. Help them to exemplify your values, and make them bold in their faith. Strengthen my own family, and those closest to me, Lord.
May our love for you help us to love and forgive others and make a difference in our world.
I pray for teachers, for students, and for all those in authority and leadership, both locally and throughout the world. Give them your mind, and surround them with godly counselors who will exercise integrity and work for justice, morality, and freedom. Help them to esteem you, not dismiss you. Send revival, Lord.I pray for the lost, the hurting, the lonely, the sick, the bereaved, and those who are imprisoned—behind both visible and invisible walls. Send your comfort, your peace, and your calming presence to those who are without hope. Protect the defenseless, and hold them close to your heart.
I pray for laborers to tell the good news of Jesus to people around our world. Jesus, my heart cries out for persecuted believers, too. Make them brave, and give them your powerful protection. I pray you will bring swift justice to those who want to destroy the innocent and those who carry your name.
Bind the power of Satan, and strengthen believers everywhere.
So many needs, Jesus, but you are adequate for every need. Your name is powerful, and your power is great. So it's in your name that I pray—and believe.
Who are you seeking intercession for today? Join our amazing praying community in the comments below and see God move in wonderous ways!
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart.
She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com.
You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
Publication date: September 7, 2016
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