Is Intercession Difficult? Do you have to study it; do you have a lot of knowledge about it in order to do it right?
A supporter-friend of mine recently asked for my thoughts about the New Testament word “intercession.”
The word “intercede” has unfortunately come to mean something that we’re supposed to do by ourselves—“Ralph, go intercede for so and so”—rather than something that happens to us and for us.
On a small scale, perhaps you know what it’s like to be praying along in a sort of “minding-your-own-business” kind of way, when suddenly a care, a concern or a godly desire rises up in you—it happens to you—and “leads you” in feelings and words that you had no prior intention of praying. This is intercession granted or caused by God, who intercedes with you.
He shares His cares, concerns and desires with you because, 1) you’re a son, and you’re like Him; 2) He wants you to know Him; 3) He wants to get something done through you. Paul wrote about this happening to him in Colossians 1:29 – 2:3. (Please read that.) In that passage, Paul was literally “being labored,” and “being struggled” by God for a result. In other words, the Holy Spirit was doing something with Paul in order to prove the perfect ability of God for someone else.
Paul wrote that the same thing happened to his friend, Epaphras, in Colossians 4:12-13, where he was literally “being wrestled” and “being worked hard” by the Spirit in order that the Colossian believers would stand firm in all the will of God. How important is that? This was an amazing evidence of Christ in Epaphras and, as it happens to us, an amazing evidence of Christ in us! Christ in you.
On a grand scale, Jesus is interceding for us. We are in Him, so everything that “comes at us” or is “done to us” or “by us” affects Him. In that way, He intercedes for us by being our innocence, our righteousness, holiness and redemption, our strength, courage, comfort, love, patience, peace, kindness, self-control, and more. Nothing can separate us from Him because He lives perfectly for us in a way we cannot. As we grow in believing and trusting Him “in whom we live and move and have our being”, so His security, His defense, His ability and grace become more and more evident to us—and to everyone else because of it.
That’s freedom because He is doing it with us! And that’s powerful.
This intercession, this miraculous evidence of Christ in us, for us and through us is described in my new book, “Life According to Perfect.” Maybe you’ve been listening to me in this video and thinking, “Hey! That sounds like what happens in your new book!” Well, you’re right. It is. This is one of the thrill rides of Christianity that too many of us are missing—we don’t understand it, we don’t recognize what’s happening in us. So because we don’t trust that God is doing it, we take another avenue, another way of praying that all too often is boring and uneventful. We forsake the adventure and mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), and choose template prayers. “Just get it done” prayers. For that reason, many of us give up on prayer altogether. But I don’t want anyone to miss “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
Fear is the biggest “ripper-offer” that keeps us from looking to Christ in us because we’re afraid that something out of control, something dangerous might happen. And, actually, that’s the truth! That’s right. This is when the grace of God in you and the grace of God for you and through you is beautifully evident, most powerful and most beneficial—and you’ll know it! You must know that your enemy, the devil, fights aggressively against this happening in us and through us.
This is one of the most fun, most incredible aspects of Christianity. You have it by new birth—He is in you and you are in Him. And He loves for you to know the fullness you have been given. (See Colossians 1:9-10.)
That is the Plan. It’s not something you have to do, it’s what He is already doing with you and for others. He is busy, so simply pay attention. That brings about Christ’s intercession for you and through you . . . and I hope this helps.