In these sessions we will first consider the primary role our Saviour now plays during His session, awaiting the Father’s command to return in glory. We will then apply that to His Body, the Church universal throughout the nations, and their role as fellow intercessors through His glorious Spirit of prayer.
On no other subject do I feel more inadequate to express or even begin to formulate words that will do justice to the need, importance and privilege we have been given. It seems presumptuous to even talk about the kinds of prayer etc without saying clearly to the reader, I am as hungry as any to learn from Christ what it is to really pray! My heartfelt yearning is that these sessions will carry something of the Spirit of prayer, and impart not a hunger for man’s instruction, but a hunger for the instruction of the Holy Ghost who will lead us deeper. To learn to pray we must pray, not merely hear about praying! Pray, Pray, Pray! Our God will answer.
John G Lake, the famous Apostle, received an angelic visitation in May 1920. The angel relayed a message from God regarding the Pentecostal blessing as recorded in Acts chapter 2, and prayer:
“This is Pentecost as God gave it through the heart of Jesus. Strive for this. Contend for this. Teach the people to pray for this. For this and this alone will meet the necessity of the human heart, and this alone will have the power to overcome the forces of darkness. Pray, pray, pray. Teach the people to pray. Prayer and prayer alone, much prayer, persistent prayer, is the door of entrance into the heart of God.” Recorded in John G Lake, ‘His Life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith’
Christ our Intercessor
Job expressed the universal need of mankind when he cried:
“For [God] is not a [mere] man, as I am, that I should answer Him, that we should come together in court. There is no umpire (days-man, one who argues) between us, who might lay his hand upon us both, [would that there were!]” (Job 9:32-33 AMP)
Job needed an advocate to stand between him and God to plead his case. He knew that no ordinary man could do this as they would need a days-man of their own. All are guilty and condemned before a holy and righteous Judge.
God also recognised this dilemma and acted on our behalf:
“He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” (Isaiah 59:16 NKJV)
He sent Jesus.
Wilford H Reidt wrote:
“Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and sinful man. Man needed someone to stand in the gap so He could get back to God. Man needed an Intercessor. Jesus’ sacrifice established Him as the only fully trustworthy Intercessor for mankind. He is the only Intercessor for the people of this planet.”
Quoted from ‘The Art of Prayer’ by Kenneth E. Hagin
Jesus is our Intercessor. His intercession provided salvation for all men through His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, but it is only realised through His Intercessory ministry today in Heaven. God’s desire is that all men be saved, but in this context we are urged to join Christ in ministry as our Advocate through earnest, heartfelt prayer. Consider the implications of the following verses from the pen of Paul:
“FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men…
For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Saviour, Who wishes all men to be saved
… For there [is only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all
… I desire therefore that in every place men should pray, without anger or quarreling or resentment or doubt [in their minds], lifting up holy hands.” (1Tim 2:1-8 AMP)
Prayer, our prayer, is a holy partnership with the High Priestly Advocate ministry of Christ in the Heavens. Jack Hayford says:
“Prayer is essentially a partnership of the redeemed child of God working hand in hand with God toward the realisation of His redemptive purposes on earth.”
Jack Hayford, “Prayer is Invading the Impossible” Quoted from ‘Intercessory Prayer’ by Dutch Sheets
We must realise that our prayers are essential to God’s plans being outworked in the earth. We cannot not pray! To be prayerless is to sin against God, and shows little respect for that which He has made available through the cross.
Samuel the prophet said:
“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.” (1 Samuel 12:23 NKJV)
We all realise that to know to do good and not do it is sin (James 4:17), yet how many of us pay lip service to the need for prayer yet never attend the church prayer meeting or earnestly pursue the development of a vibrant life of private prayer. The difficulty of prayer arises from the fact it collides not only with the devil, but our self-reliant fleshly ways. Without our prayers however, the provision of Christ for all men will touch only a few…what a tragedy this is!
Ezekiel 36:36-37 and the account of Daniel’s intercessions for the Word of the Lord to Jeremiah to be accomplished (Daniel 9) are both examples of God’s divine provision, and man’s responsibility to then appropriate what has been provided. We do this through prayer.
“Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it. Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.” (Ezek 36:36-37 KJV)
Oh the privilege of holy partnership! To share Christ’s burden for a dying world, and see them born again through our travail in prayer!
The High Priestly ministry of Christ
Christ right now is in intercession. His entire being speaks on behalf of mankind at the right hand of the Father.
“For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:” (Heb 9:24 KJV)
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Rom 8:34 KJV)
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb 7:25)
Through the new birth and baptism in the Holy Spirit we have become one with the Great Intercessor:
“But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17 AMP)
“He is our great Intercessor. He is the great Intercessor for all mankind. As members of His Body, the Church, we partake in that intercession.”
Wilford Reidt, quoted in ‘The Art of Prayer’ by Kenneth E Hagin
Intercession and prayer are not manufactured by human zeal or effort; they are the natural and inevitable out-breathing of fellowship with Christ.
“Christ is not sitting passively in blissful royal dignity, unmoved, while you intercede. NO! Never! You intercede because He intercedes. The Holy Spirit conveys to you the heartbeat of Jesus. You feel but the faintest burden of concern as compared with the infinite concern that Jesus feels for you and with you…
Christ is today the interceding Sovereign of the universe. His throne is one of intercession. One day He will rule by the rod – by His almighty power. Today He rules by His uplifted and extended hand – by prayer. His intercession is not symbolic but real, as real as it was when He interceded on earth. He is on the throne interceding for us and waiting for us to join Him as intercessors.”
Wesley Duewel ‘Mighty Prevailing Prayer‘