Do you regularly offer prayer for others or do your prayers always consist of “Dear God, help me….”? One way we can learn to offer our lives as offerings of worship and sacrifice our personal preferences is to learn and practice intercession.
There are a lot of words that get thrown around within the church that I believe a lot of people have no idea what they mean. Intercession is one of them. Intercession is simply the act of coming to someone on behalf of another. In our case, coming to God in prayer on behalf of someone else. You could intercede for someone through prayer in several ways:
- For healing (both physical and emotional)
- For discernment in making a decision
- For any type of emotion or attitude (patience, understanding, etc. The best thing about this is that if someone’s impatient with you and you start praying that they would have patience, YOU’RE going to have more patience for them and more empathy as well)
- To come to saving faith in Jesus
- For safety (travel, persecution, natural disasters)
- That the Holy Spirit would speak clearly through them (for pastors, worship leaders, speakers, evangelists)
Why practice intercession?
1. It’s in God’s nature. God desires that we would be like Him and two parts of His triune nature are intercessors; both Jesus and the Holy Spirit intercede to the Father for us on our behalf. Check it out:
Likewise the Spirit helps 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. Romans 8:26
Jesus, having made the once-for-all sacrifice for us intercedes for us by His very life:
Consequently, he 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
2. We’re commanded and called. Paul mentions to his audience several times to “pray for each other.” Here’s one clear example to Timothy:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1
3. It makes us less selfish. I’ve found that when I pray for someone (particularly someone I disagree with or am struggling with) my heart is completely softened toward them. The more I pray for others the less selfish I become, both in my prayer life and in my relationships with people throughout the day.
How has practicing praying for others helped you in your own life? Is there any way we can pray for you today? Leave a comment and let us know!
This post is part of the How to be an Offering series. I would love for you to join me in proclaiming ways that we can offer our lives as lives of worship! How to participate: write a blog post detailing a way you have been a living sacrifice or highlighting someone’s else’s act of living a life of worship. Link to back to this post in yours and leave a comment below letting us know about it. If you use twitter, use the hashtag #livingsacrifice.