If there were any area of my life in Christ I would like to heal, it would be my prayer life. I know brothers and sisters in Christ who pray with such ease – as easily and naturally as I converse with Alean. My prayer life is not like that. But as tattered as it is, it’s a vital part of my walk with Jesus, not only for me, but for others as well.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
– 1 Timothy 2:1-4, ESV
According to Paul’s urging to Timothy, a huge part of my prayer life is to be directed at interceding for others, all people, including you!
It is both good, and pleasing to God that I should supplicate, pray, intercede, and express gratitude for others. The result is a peaceful and quiet life, and there seems to be some effect having to do with others coming to salvation and the knowledge of truth.
Interceeding for others also serves to better align and conform me to the image of Jesus Christ.
. . . yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
– Isaiah 53:12b, ESV
On the cross,1 and since the resurrection, Jesus has been engaged in a ministry of intercession, very likely just as he was when he said he prayed for Peter, that his faith might not fail.2
Consequently, [Jesus] 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, ESV
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
– Romans 8:33-34, ESV
And it’s not just Jesus who makes intercession for us. The Holy Spirit also intercedes on our behalf.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
– Romans 8:26-27, ESV
This is an amazing picture. God the Son and God the Spirit are interceding for us before God the Father. I can barely wrap my mind around that! We have a great privilege granted us in that we are allowed and urged to join in that intercessory prayer with the Son and the Holy Spirit.
…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me…
– Ephesians 6:18, ESV
Just as Son of God and the Holy Spirit are always interceding for us before the Father, we pray and petition on behalf of others. Naturally, we pray for those we love – friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ, but also for those who have hurt us.
The latter is difficult, but I find that it is more difficult to stay resentful toward those for whom I am praying.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
– Matthew 5:43-44, ESV
God, infuse us with the ability to be faithful in this ministry of intercession for others.
1. Luke 23:34
2. Luke 22:32