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Types of Prayer 5

Types of Prayer Part 5 As we continue with our study on types of prayer, we will look at examples of intercession found in the New Testament. Intercession, again, is praying on behalf of others. It is often a heartfelt cry to God for mercy or help on their behalf. Intercession can be for anyone who is facing difficult times, danger, or seeming unbearable circumstances. Or it could be on behalf of people who are currently enemies of God or rebelling against His will in their lives. Paul the apostle often asked the church to pray for him as he endeavored to fulfill his ministry to the Gentiles. He often faced very challenging circumstances (death threats, beatings, imprisonment, perils at sea, etc.) which required the intervention of the Lord for his survival and well-being. Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. Romans15:30-32 Paul was also a faithful intercessor for the churches he established. He often shared his deep care for them and his prayers for their spiritual maturity in Christ. Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. Ephesians 1:15-20 He also prayed the following prayer for the same church. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 These are two powerful prayers we can pray for or loved ones, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ and others. We cannot go wrong praying along these scriptural grounds. These are also great prayers to pray over our own lives. Pray these for the next several months and at the end of the year you will most likely be amazed at how you have grown in your knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Peter’s Arrest and Imprisonment In Acts 12:1-19 we find another great illustration of the power of united intercession on behalf of the apostle Peter. The apostle James had been arrested and martyred by Herod Agrippa I, and because it pleased the Jews, he decided to arrest Peter, intending to bring him before the people and assassinate him also after the Passover that was taking place at the time. Peter was imprisoned and guarded by four squads of soldiers. Act 12:5 states: “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” Here we see intercession by the church to save Peter from a very grim and seemingly hopeless and fatal outcome. Constant prayer for Peter turned things around. God intervened! Peter’s Angelic Rescue And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and tie on your sandals"; and so he did. And he said to him, "Put on your garment and follow me." So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people." Acts12:6-11 Our Great High Priest The greatest intercessor of all time was and is the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is what the Bible says about His ministry as our High Priest. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 The prayers He prayed before going to the cross and on the cross are prayers of compassion and mercy for His church and those that were crucifying Him. Before the Cross And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." Luke 22:31-32 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20-21 On the Cross Speaking of the Lord Jesus, Isaiah prophesied: “…He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12b This was fulfilled while He became sin for us upon the cross (2 Cor 5:21). And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:33-34a After the Cross Jesus foretold of the time He would ascend to heaven and ask the Father to send His Holy Spirit. Of course, this prayer was answered on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came as a rushing mighty wind in the Upper Room where the disciples were praying (Acts 2:1-4). That prayer is still being answered today as believers everywhere ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-16 Intercession is something we must learn to do. It is a powerful act of love to bring about lifechanging intervention for individuals, communities, and entire nations. There are countless testimonies of individuals suddenly being brought back from the brink of death or tragedy because someone or some group interceded on their behalf. When we cannot pray for ourselves as we should or there is some unaware danger ahead, God will often nudge someone to pray for us in intercession so He can intervene on our behalf. He has given us the authority to pray, not only for ourselves, but on behalf of others. In our next article we will look at praying in the Spirit, as Paul stated in Ephesians 6:18. Until then, may God our Heavenly Father richly bless and keep you. James Brown 01/02/2023
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