WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT....PRAYER?
PRAYING FOR OTHERS
The Lord instructed us to pray not only for our needs but to reach out and pray for
others as well. We find this in I Timothy 2:1-6.
"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority;
that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good
and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to
come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due
We are told to pray and to make intercession for all men. What is intercessory prayer?
The Greek noun, "enteuxus," is the word for "intercession." It
primarily denotes a "meeting with," a conversation or petition rendered on the
behalf of others. "Intercessory prayer," then, is seeking the presence and
audience of God in another's stead.
Jesus was the greatest intercessor of all time. Isaiah 53:12 records the
following prophecy about Jesus: "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the
great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul
unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and
made intercession for the transgressors."
Hebrews 7:25 speaks of Him as a high priest that is still interceding on our
behalf. "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."
The Lord is looking for men and women today that are willing to enter into this
ministry with Him. He has always sought people that would "stand in the gap" for
others. Ezekiel 22:30-31 says,
"And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in
the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore
have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my
wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God."
The Lord does not want judgment to fall upon people. He desires that they repent and
return to Him. However, if they do not repent, judgment is inevitable. Prayer for others
causes them to repent and seek God. Therefore, the Lord is always looking for those who
will take a burden of prayer for the wayward ones, so that they might come to Him. He
needs spiritual warriors who will selflessly intercede on behalf of others. The ministry
of intercessory prayer perennially stands open for volunteers who will join the Lord in
this work. Through this ministry one can circle the entire world interposing for the
multitudes who have no one else to "stand in the gap" for them.
I personally do not believe the Lord will call anyone into a public ministry unless the
ministry of intercession has first become a priority in his life. There are many people
eagerly wanting to do something for Jesus while this important field of work stands wide
open. It is certainly not as glamorous as some other ministries, for no one is seen or
applauded in their prayer closet, and perhaps that is exactly why there are so few
volunteers. Even when people are interested in serving in this form of ministry, there is
often a lack of knowledge as to the equipment and the keys needed to be effective and
successful in it.
This is presented here in hopes that if you have a heart toward God and are willing to
become an intercessor, you will know how to obtain many victories. Intercessory prayer,
being a ministry to others, is not something that directly benefits us. It is essentially
an outreach ministry. Through it we can truly lay down our lives for others. As we are
faithful by sacrificing our time on the behalf of others, the Lord then takes care of our
needs. As we minister to others, the Lord ministers to us. While praying for others, we
cannot neglect mentioning the added blessing of being in fellowship with the Lord. As the
Holy Spirit directs us in the ways we are to pray for others, we need to keep in mind that
He will always have us pray according to His Word.
Negative prayers and judgment prayed down on people are not in harmony with the Spirit
of the Lord. God is continually extending mercy and help. Some people in ignorance pray
for God to do whatever it takes to save someone. They pray such prayers as, "Lord, if
you have to break their back to get them to come to you, break their back Jesus, take
their business away from them, but save them. God, if it takes a car wreck to save them,
do it Lord. Show them, even if they have to get cancer." These are examples of the
way some ignorant Christians pray. They are truly crimes against the heart of Christ. He
came to save, not to destroy and kill.
Luke 9:53-56, "And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he
would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord,
wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias
did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are
of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went
to another village."
No one gets saved just because he gets cancer. If that were true, then every one that
had cancer would automatically come to God. Getting cancer, or being in a car wreck, never
saved anyone. On the other hand, many people have died and gone to hell in these ways.
Granted, some do come to the Lord when tragedy strikes, but it was the strength of someone
praying for them and the mercy of the Holy Spirit that caused them to come to God, not the
tragedy. Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, their thoughts would never have gone
out to God even in their crisis.
God does not send calamities in order to bring people to Himself. He tells us in His
word that it is the Spirit of God that "woos" and "draws" people to
Himself. This is hastened as Christians pray. John 6:44 says, "No man can
come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the
last day." Praise God for intercessors that stand against the enemy and keep him
from destroying the souls and lives of men, women and children who need the Lord.
The ministry of intercession is a vital part of our Christian walk and we can never
attain to maturity and become overcomers by slighting it. I often use the words
"task" and "work" in reference to prayer because it is never easy nor
convenient to pray with any discipline or consistency. We must remember that we have an
enemy (the devil) who is constantly trying to keep us from our prayer life because he
knows (better than most Christians) the damage done to his kingdom through it. Let us
never cease to pray.
This article was taken
from the Overcoming Life Digest (July/August 1997 Issue); click here to view Digest