Intercession With Christ
By David A. DePra
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Intercession is not a matter of begging God to do something we think is needed. Neither is it a matter of basing our faith on our ability to reach God through prayer. Rather, to intercede, I must put myself aside. Intercession is a matter of being apprehended by God to stand with HIM for HIS will and HIS purpose -- regarding the one for whom you intercede, or regarding the situation in question. Intercession is for God's will, His way, in His time -- regardless of cost.
In the NT Greek, the word for "intercession" carries the meaning, "to fall in with; to meet with" -- usually on the behalf of another. So despite the fact that Jesus, “ever lives to make intercession for the saints according to the will of God” – and obviously doesn’t need our help -- part of fellowship with Christ is that we will, "fall in with Him; become one with Him," in interceding for others. We will have His mind and heart on these matters.
Intercession also means that we are sometimes praying for those who cannot, don't know to, or even will not, presently pray for themselves. This does not replace their responsibility to choose. Rather, intercession eventually makes choice for them clear and possible.
To stand with God for His will “no matter what” is equal to asking, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” How is God’s will done in heaven? Fully. That is what we are seeking when we stand with God in His purpose.
Intercession is Part of Fellowship With Christ
If I am in fellowship with Jesus Christ, then the more I grow in Christ, the more that my fellowship with Christ will increase. This will mean that I will be growing to be one with HIS interests. My heart will belong to Him and grow to reflect His heart. This will not necessarily be something I can document. It is the outcome of coming into an inward realization of Jesus Christ.
Paul referred to what he called, “the fellowship of His sufferings.” (Phil. 3:9) Note that, “fellowship,” means, “a having in common.” Therefore, “the fellowship of His sufferings,” means that we will grow to suffer WITH Christ in what He is suffering. We will not only care about what He cares about, but there is actually BE suffering. There will be a burden. It will affect us. This will most certainly result in INTERCESSION.
What this leads us to see is that intercession is not merely something we DO. Rather, intercession emerges from what we are – or better said – intercession emerges from who Christ is IN US. Another way to say this is this: Because Jesus Christ, ”ever lives to make intercession for the saints” (Heb. 7:25), then this is what He will be doing if He lives IN US. And we will eventually find ourselves being caught up together with Him into His intercession.
Prayer or Intercession
Real intercession is actually a dimension of Jesus Christ living in and through us. We are simply caught up in HIS intercession for the saints, or anyone else. This should not be surprising because believers are members of His Body. That means that we are extensions of Him. Of course, I am talking about what God wants us to be. Today few are extensions of Jesus Christ. Despite being members of His Body, today many are doing their own thing. Fellowship in Christ is today an unknown – replaced by religious substitutes. Therefore real intercession is also a relative unknown.
Intercession is not the same as general prayer. In prayer, we are free to bring our requests before the Lord; to ask Him; to seek Him. But with intercession we are apprehended by Christ to stand with Him for HIS will, HIS interests – no matter what it takes. We are being used by Jesus Christ – as extension of Him; as members of Christ -- to, “stand in the gap,” (Ezek. 22:30) for those who cannot pray, or don’t know to pray, for themselves.
The fact is, the more we grow in Christ, the more we will stand with Him for His will and interests even in our OWN requests. We will not want to settle for anything less that God’s highest. This is always the outcome of knowing and believing Him.
There is simply no way to grow in Jesus Christ without eventually, to one extent or another, being caught up into the fellowship of His sufferings – without being caught up in intercession. In short, intercession will become part of life in Christ. Because He lives to intercede, we will live in Him to intercede.
Intercession in the Spirit
Intercession is spiritual. But because it is spiritual, we will often not know exactly why we are interceding, nor will we necessarily see results in ways that we might expect. There are spiritual forces and powers that are involved. We are standing IN CHRIST and WITH CHRIST for His will and victory.
It only makes sense that there are going to be times when we are caught up into something of God that we don’t quite understand. How could we possibly know what is going on – especially when many issues are in the realm of spiritual things? That is why intercession is not something WE initiate. No. Jesus initiates it. Left to ourselves we would not know what to pray or how to deal with a situation in prayer. It would be beyond us. But the Bible states that Jesus Christ, our intercessor and High Priest, takes the initiative to, by His spirit, “make intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (see Romans 8:26-27) Well, we have Christ in us by the means of the Holy Spirit. Thus, when He begins to intercede we can be caught up in it.
Many people have been taught that the Holy Spirit, and not Jesus, is our intercessor. But this is not correct. I realize that some of the English wording out of the passage from Romans 8 might leave that impression. But if you read passages like Romans 8:9-13 you will see that not only does Christ dwell in us by the spirit of God, but these are used interchangeably. Indeed, the fact remains that we have only ONE High Priest, and a primary function of the High Priest was intercession. The absolutely weight of scripture shows Jesus as our intercessor. In fact, it show that Jesus does not merely intercede as a thing to DO. Rather, the presence of Christ in us is a living intercession – He is our living Mediator unto God. Thus, it is Jesus Christ, our High Priest, who, “ever lives to make intercession for us” – He does this BY the spirit of God.
So what we see is that intercession is not so much an ASKING of God to do something – although this might be included. Rather, it is a standing WITH Christ for what HE already wants to do – He has apprehended us for this intercession -- even though we might not know exactly what is at stake.
As stated earlier, Christ does not need our help. But we will forever be one with Him and in fellowship with Him. And He lives to intercede. Thus, intercession – standing with Christ at all cost – comes with the territory of being ONE with Jesus Christ.
The Working of God’s Will
God has a WILL. That should hardly be questioned. But if God does have a will then, by definition, He wants to bring to pass His will – He wants to bring to pass His will because IT IS His will. God is not confused about what He wants. He is not making it up as He goes along. God’s will is a perfect will and never changes.
If God’s will was nothing more than circumstances that pleased Him there would be little need for intercession. But the primary will of God is that people come into an inward realization and fellowship with His Son. This is unto the end that His Body as a whole be an expression of Jesus Christ as Lord. Thus, intercession has THIS purpose of God at its core.
This primary purpose of God does not exclude the intervention and help of God on other matters. But everything God does in this age is unto that end. If people would come into an inward realization of Jesus Christ many other issues would be resolved as the outcome of living in Christ.
Intercession will often work towards opening the eyes of a spiritually blind person. A person must first realize they are blind – and this, in itself, equals a seeing. But in order to open the eyes of a spiritually blind person God must begin with them right where they are – blind, ignorant, self-righteousness, or living in the sin of unbelief. Perhaps they are not even saved. If you examine this, there is NO solution. Logic, intellectual arguments, and emotional reactions cannot give sight to the blind. You cannot document how a spiritually blind person comes to see enough to turn to Christ. It is one of the miracles of intercession.
You will note that God does not force anyone to turn to Christ. He does not force anyone to be free. Usually what He does is open their eyes – open their eyes to their condition, and open their eyes to Jesus Christ. He brings them to the place where freedom is possible. But at some point along the way, they must choose. Intercession makes this choice possible -- where it was not possible through human effort. As you can see, there is more involved here than what can be accounted for – except that it is of God.
Many people are not aware of their condition. Perhaps they presently cannot or even will not pray for themselves – and if they do, it will be prayer that is not according to the will of God. Therefore, God will apprehend someone else to intercede on his or her behalf.
Again – such an intercession of one person on the behalf of another is NOT a matter of pleading with God for their salvation, or for their freedom. No. That would be absurd – for how could we possibly desire freedom for another person more than God desires it? Is God a God that must be nagged and begged for help? No. The point here is that if God has apprehended us for intercession it was neither our choice nor their choice. It was God’s choice. And neither have we been apprehended by God to beg Him to do what He already wants to do. No. Again – we have been caught up into God’s interests for a person. We are apprehended by God to stand WITH HIM on behalf of that person.
Certainly God doesn’t need our help. Therefore, if we are apprehended by God for intercession we can be sure that it is not only for the benefit of the person in question, but it is likewise for our benefit. It is an opportunity to LEARN CHRIST – and to actually experience, “the fellowship of His sufferings,” and to experience Christ Himself. For as mentioned earlier, intercession is not merely something we DO. It is the outcome of who Jesus Christ is IN US – and of our spiritual union with Him.
Now, when we are caught up with Christ in intercession, it should not be surprising if it seems as if NOTHING is happening for quite some time. This is because the real battle and the real foundation of change is found in the spiritual realm. God must take a person right where they are, in darkness or even unbelief, and before He can begin to show them the Truth, He must plow away at some core issues. Often God will bring people to the end of themselves – this might necessitate that they go on and on until they see that the way they are living is all futile.
There are also times when God must allow certain restrictive conditions to persist because He knows that if He just all of a sudden set a person free that they would have no anchor. They could easily fall into something worse. It is one thing for a person to see that something is wrong. It is another to see the right. It is one thing to be free from something bad. But it is another to be free TO something good. The point is, God won’t usually set a person free from the terrible spiritual condition they are in presently until He knows that they do see enough to be anchored in Jesus Christ.
And so we should not be discouraged if we do not see, “results,” from our intercession. It is not our responsibility to judge that. It is our responsibility, if God has apprehended us for intercession, to stand with God on behalf of the person, or the situation in question. Again – this is, at the core, a spiritual issue and battle.
If God has a will, and He has caught us up into fellowship with Him for that will – through intercession – then we can be sure that if we stand with God that His will cannot fail. It must come to pass – even if people refuse it once it does come to pass. Intercession is our participation in the will of God.
Another thing we see in this Truth of intercession is that the will of God does not come to pass by simply, “confessing it.” We cannot go around, “speaking victory,” into people’s lives. That has become popular, but is absurd. Rather than, “speak victory,” into people’s lives, we ought to realize that if they are a believer, Jesus Christ is ALREADY in them. Victory is not a THING God gives people. It is not something that is separate from the Person of Christ. No. All victory is IN Christ. This is why intercession will have as a primary goal that people’s eyes be opened to the One who is interceding for them. Faith in Christ is the victory.
“He ever lives to make intercession.” We might even say, “He ever lives to BE our intercession.” Does God answer the prayers of His Son? Well, if we are caught up in intercession with Jesus Christ, then we are praying and standing WITH HIM. God will answer. In short, Jesus does not intercede only to fail. That for which Jesus intercedes WILL come to pass – in God’s time, God’s way, and unto His glory. Even if every man be false, God will be true.
All through the Bible, whether it is in type and shadow, or directly, Christians are said to be engaged in a great WARFARE. This is certainly true with regards to prayer and intercession.
But why? Hasn’t Jesus won all victory? So how can intercession add to a FINSHED victory? It cannot. Intercession adds NOTHING. Rather, intercession is a standing by faith – against all that is contrary – IN the finished victory of Jesus Christ. In other words, rather than ADD to the victory of Christ, intercession brings people INTO that victory; under Christ as Lord.
This often requires spiritual warfare. But spiritual warfare is not a matter of believers attacking the enemy. Intercession is not a matter of you and I mustering up out of ourselves some kind of spiritual stamina that can withstand all of the enemies of God. No. It is a matter of FAITH – of standing in Christ – in a victory finished. But standing against what? Well, if we are to stand by faith, then we are standing against UNBELIEF.
Unbelief is the real goal of the enemy. So don’t think of standing with Christ in intercession in terms of demons or people openly trying to attack you – or attacking a person for whom you are interceding. That could happen -- but that is not usually the form taken by the spiritual forces that are hostile to the Lord. What Satan really wants to do is subtlety bring people into UNBELIEF. In other words, if the victory of Jesus Christ is truly finished, then the question is whether we will believe or not believe. If we believe, His victory will become ours. If we don’t – we are in unbelief -- and then there can be no victory. That is why unbelief is the goal of the enemy.
So often believers get together and pray for each other for things like deliverance, or for some special touch from God that will supposedly cure what ails them. I’ve heard prayers for deliverance from unforgiveness, etc. But usually these prayers are based in error or misunderstanding. If we want to pray for deliverance, what we need deliverance from is UNBELIEF. Or blindness. Get free of unbelief and the result will be that you will BELIEVE – and this faith will bring you into contact with the Person who is our finished victory.
The only power that the enemy continues to have in the life of the believer is that of DECEPTION. If he can deceive us – get us onto a wrong basis – cast doubt between the Lord and ourselves – then he can destroy God’s work. We must therefore stand by faith, not only for ourselves, but on behalf of any person for whom we are interceding against unbelief.
Suffer for His Sake
There are going to come times in the life of a believer wherein we are called to suffer, not merely for our own spiritual growth, but for the life of the Body, or even other specific people. We may be caught up into an intercession that involves spiritual suffering – a great burden. It will be REAL. It won’t be emotional or intellectual – although these will be impacted. It will be spiritual. Only faith in Jesus Christ will do.
God has a will and a purpose for His Body. It is the same will and purpose that He has for individuals, except as a corporate expression. That purpose is that Christ may not only live in us, but be Lord of all. Ultimately, this is the goal of all spiritual warfare – that we might be a people that are under Jesus Christ as Lord, but who stand with Him as Lord of all.
Unfortunately, there have always been folks who, because they have appointed themselves as a so-called, “prayer warrior,” or who are still walking in the delusion of their self-importance; who are walking in a natural counterpart to true spiritual warfare. One of the signs of this work of the flesh is as preoccupation with themselves, and a continual advertising of their suffering and burden for the Lord. But this is never the fruit of intercession or warfare in the Lord. God won’t use us in intercession until this garbage is crucified out of us. He cannot use us because if He did, we would collapse under the weight, and turn it into something of the flesh. No. Those who God uses in intercession rejoice in the fact that God is having His way – both in them and in those for whom they intercede. It is unto His glory, and that is the attitude and spirit of it.
Of course, it may seem needless that Jesus Christ, who has all victory and authority, would require His people to stand by faith in that victory. But how else can that which is merely intellectual become real by experience? How else can fellowship with Christ be realized? We have to experience, on some small level to be sure, what He is experiencing. We have to identify with Him. Does He live in us or not? Is it real? These things will eventually be the outcome and fruitage. We will not only experience, “the fellowship of His sufferings,” but we will experience much more.
Prayer and Intercession
Someone once said, and I know there is Truth to it, that if we pay attention to our prayer – or even to our lack of prayer – we will be looking through a window into our understanding of the Lord, and into our heart for the Lord. We pray about what matters to us. We pray about what we THINK is important. For example, are we always praying for power to obey God – because we are afraid He will punish us? That is unbelief. It is error. Or do we have all of that settled, such that we can leave ourselves alone and be occupied with what occupies the heart of God? These questions reveal much. But regardless of how we answer, the solution is the same: Lose yourself to Jesus Christ. That is the starting point – the Cross.
If we will ask God to do whatever it takes to bring us into the fullness of Christ, we are praying according to His will. This is how we begin to lose our lives to Him at the Cross. And if we go on with the Lord, carrying our cross, He will eventually apprehend us into a fellowship of His sufferings through intercession. This is not maybe. It is what a believer is in Christ – Christ ever lives IN US to make intercession.
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