“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. (Ezekiel 22:30)
The Bible is clear that all Christians are called to be intercessors–to take the role of interceding for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another, stands in the gap for, or pleads another’s case. It’s not just for a specific few. This activity is for every true believer! When a believer begins to freely love others by regularly praying for them, it transforms the life of the intercessor and the lives of those for whom he prays. Intercession is not just praying for someone else’s needs.
Intercession is praying with the real hope and real intent that God would step in and act for the positive advancement of some specific other person(s) or other entity. In other words, to really intercede means giving your heart, your compassion to this act of selflessness. It means sublimating your own problems and desires to passionately plead the case of another before God’s throne. C.H. Spurgeon said, “I commend intercessory prayer, because it opens man’s soul, gives a healthy play to his sympathies, constrains him to feel that he is not everybody, and that this wide world and this great universe were not after all made that he might be its petty lord, that everything might bend to his will, and all creatures crouch at his feet.”
Pastors and church leaders can follow Paul’s model as he prayed for each of the churches he visited. Read the opening of each of his letters and study the prayers that he prayed. He prayed for the advancement of the gospel, peaceful relationships, and spiritual growth in the lives of those church members. The apostle thanked God for their faith, and prayed for their protection.
Will you begin to spend time with the Father each and every day? Will you lay aside your own concerns and focus on someone else? Maybe it’s a family member, a friend, someone who needs Christ, someone at your church that you know is going through a difficult time, others in authority at your church or in our nation. Pray for others whenever you think of them (at work, home, doing chores, in the car). Soon, praying for others will become a part of your daily life!
Let us be Christians; let us have expanded souls and minds that can feel for others. Let us weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice. As Church leaders and as believers, we shall find the Lord will turn our captivity when we pray for our friends. God help us to plead for others!