Most believers are very much familiar with the term “intercession.” But recently I’ve been asking the Lord, “What is the true meaning of intercession? What does it mean to be an intercessor?”
The Roots of Intercession
In the Old Testament, righteous kings, leaders and priests desired to know God’s statutes. Poets, psalmists and prophets all pleaded with the Lord to understand His ways.
When Jesus came, He made a powerful and controversial statement by declaring that He was the Way. The knowledge those of the Old Testament longed for was fulfilled in Christ—God in the flesh. The desire to know things that were previously beyond understanding was satisfied once Jesus came and shattered all cultural and personal paradigms of who God was and what His ways were.
The ways of God are expressed in the person of Christ the Messiah. Jesus brought the reality of heaven to earth when He descended, and He never did a single thing that contradicted the nature of the Father. He even said in John 10:31, “I and My Father are one.”
Abiding in Christ
So what does this have to do with intercession? After all, isn’t intercessory prayer just praying as hard as we can, striving to break demonic strongholds and principalities, and asking the Lord to do what is impossible for man to do on his own? Well, that’s a part of it. But what are the origins of this? What takes us to that place?
Here is the answer: powerful and effective intercession always has its roots planted in the rich soil of intimacy with Christ and the Holy Spirit. The relationship aspect cannot be neglected.
Jesus and other New Testament writers taught a recurring theme of “abiding” in Christ and in His words. To abide means “to remain or hold fast.” To remain or hold fast, in this case, means to share in a holy, passionate and ongoing relationship with the Lord and His Word.
When we abide in Him, a powerful transaction occurs—we take on the Spirit and nature of Christ (1 John 4:13). As He is, so we become in this world (1 John 2:17).
As we walk in intimacy, there is a transformation from the Spirit Himself, wherein we take on the powerful mind of Christ, the healing heart of the Holy Spirit and the perfect will of the Father (see 1 Cor. 2:16; Ps. 147:3; Rom. 12:2).
As a result of this impartation, we align ourselves with God’s purposes and carry the burdens of Christ for the world, for those who don’t know Him. Jesus told His disciples in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
So why is it that if I ask God to give me a brand-new BMW, it probably won’t happen? Because I’m praying from a heart of flesh, not from a heart that’s been intertwined with God’s. I’m not saying that it isn’t God’s desire to bless us, but we must remember that intercession is not about us at all. It’s all about God—His plans, His purposes, and His people. Intercession is a partnership with God.
It’s from this understanding that we pray. Out of intimate relationship with Christ and the willingness to partner with Him, the basic nature of an intercessor is formed.
Consider the nature and content of your prayers. Are you praying from your own flesh or are you partnering with God through prayer? Perhaps He is calling you to a new level of growth and intimacy with Him.
Spend some time alone with Him today, and ask Him to help you align your prayers with His heart, mind and will.