THE POWER OF INTERCESSION
There are many tools that God has given His church, that by it we will command victory and see our Christian experiences become not just a tale but a reality and full of fruits.
One of these tools is Intercession, but sadly many have lost touch with the true meaning of it, because of the demands upon it here and there a move has been adopted which promotes self-centeredness in prayer.
In this text, we will take a deep dig into the context of INTERCESSION so as to understand its full relevance, its power, how it can be engaged, etc.
Intercession is prayer on behalf of another, that naturally arises from the instinct of the human heart, not merely prompted by affection and interest, but recognizing that God’s relationship to man is not merely individual
VESSELS THAT CARRIED OUT INTERCESSION
Genesis 18:22-24 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?
From this, we see that God is set to destroy a nation for their sins and this nation yet has no righteous men in it, so at this point, they couldn’t speak for themselves for they don’t even know what is to come upon them, but a Man stood in for them and God showed them Mercy.
But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “ Lord ,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ ” Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
Same scenario, but here this is God’s own people, but Moses stood in for them and God forgave them and did not destroy them.
3. The Early Church:
This case is very interesting and it happened in the new testament so as to show us that intercession is still a powerful tool till today.
Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
From this, we can see that the Church didn’t consider to say he is an apostle who commands signs and wonders yet they “Prayed to God for him”. Now look at the tremendous power their prayers created.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
There are numerous examples of cases where intercession played a vital role in the bible which might not have been considered here. Is Intercession a Ministry?
Yes, it is a ministry. To clear further confusion “Ministry is any platform by which we serve God and serve other people to the end that Jesus be glorified”
How does this Ministry function?
You can intentionally engage in intercessional prayers whereby a matter arises and you see a need to pray for the person in question. But there is a situation where the Holy Spirit puts it upon you as a ministry and in this situation he empowers you to intercede. How you can know that he is drawing you into intercession is;
Note this experience is not the same for all people, but this is to serve as a guideline.
- A burden is created in your heart at first you don’t know why you are burdened. Then you decide to pray in the spirit, while you are still praying your attention might be drawn to a friend who just lost a relative or a friend who lives a promiscuous lifestyle and your thought goes over it, right there the Spirit wants you to intercede on that friend’s behalf, remember Rom8:26 called him a spirit that intercedes, he at that point uses you as a vessel to do the work of intercession.
- The second instance is a case of where you are already praying and at some point to you it seems you are getting distracted by the news you watched about distress in Nigeria or about an event you heard and in the middle of the prayers you are getting concerned about it, STOP right there and pray on that matter for as you were praying the Holy spirit found you a vessel to release a prayer on that matter. But this doesn’t mean that all thoughts that come while we pray are from the Holy Spirit for prayers, this is where discernment is needed and it should be your daily prayers that God gives you the spirit of discernment.
How to engage intercession:
When we talk about engaging in intercession, we speak of how you can align yourself to be a potential vessel for intercession and also what demands it takes for your intentional intercession to create a tremendous effect.
- Have an understanding of what you are about to engage in and the boundary of God’s commission to it as revealed by scriptures. This will serve as a meter so as not to overemphasize where not necessary.
- Must be in a state worthy of this ministry. What state do we talk about here, 1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Also James 5:16………….The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. By these two scriptures, I believe you have seen the state required.
- Must be sincere and full of conviction and never relent till results are seen Acts 12:5 so Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The expression “Praying” shows continuous action without relenting
- Our precious Father I come to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by His blood you have purchased us and has translated us from darkness to light.
- Praise, honor, and adoration be to you O God for by your immeasurable love upon me you have taught me about intercession and have opened my eyes from ignorance.
- For our country all-powerful and merciful father, you are the God of justice love, and peace. You rule over all the nations of the Earth. Power and Might are in your hands and no one can withstand you. We present our country Nigeria before you. We praise and thank you for you are the source of all we have and are. We are sorry for all the sins we have committed and for the good deeds we have failed to do.
- In your loving forgiveness, keep us safe from the punishment we deserve. Lord, we are weighed down not only by uncertainties but also by moral, economic, and political problems. Listen to the cries of your people who confidently turn to you. God of infinite goodness, our strength in diversity, Our health in weakness, our comfort in sorrow, Be merciful to us your people. Spare this nation Nigeria from chaos anarchy and doom. Bless us with your kingdom of justice, love, and peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen