1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
We have learned what Paul was commanding Timothy as he prepared for the ministry of God to the church in Ephesus. By this time, we should understand how necessary supplications and prayers are in order to prepare us for life and to encourage us in living out the truth of God as we are instructed in His Word –
Philippians 2:12-13 …. work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
As we grow in the knowledge of God and His will, we are naturally brought to the next form of prayer – that of intercession. When we are seeking God’s will and His leadership for our lives, we will turn our minds to the needs of others. Constant communication with God will strengthen our love for Him –
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment….
– and we will begin to understand what Jesus meant when He told us what these two most important commandments are –
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
I was reminded recently by a message our son, James, preached teaching us that the responsibility to love others (our neighbor) has been increased beyond measure by the command of Jesus to us –
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
We must understand that Jesus’ commentary on the Old Commandment stated that we should love others as we love ourselves. The Lord Jesus Christ has given us a NEW COMMANDMENT, that we should love others as HE LOVED US. In order to fulfil this command, we must love them through Him, giving our lives wholly over to the Lord.
We must be ‘others minded’! We are living in a time that we do not want to know too much about our neighbors, our colleagues, our classmates, or even our family members. We do not want to “get involved”, but the Lord has commanded us to know about others, care about others, and pray for others.
A good example of interceding for someone is found in Acts 12. Notice how the church set their hearts to cry unto the Lord for their friend. This is what ‘intercession’ is – going to a higher power and asking favour for someone else. We see from the Bible that their brother in Christ, Peter, had been arrested by Herod and was set to be executed.
Acts 12:5-17 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison:…
…and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly.
And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying….
The church interceded for Peter, calling upon God to help him in his time of need. Have you prayed for others, being their friend and asking for help on their behalf? This is the natural result of being in constant communication with God. We are to be in constant contact with Him. We will read again what Paul commanded us in –
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
We see that interceding for others involves that which we have already learned, supplications – crying out to God to help someone, and prayer – seeking His will and following His leadership to be a help as He makes us able.
We will turn to God for others as we learn of their needs –
a). Pray for others to know the Lord as their Saviour.
I am so thankful that people were praying for me to be saved, to turn from life in death and darkness to true life and light – to call upon the Lord for forgiveness of sin and the gift of salvation! I knew that Bonnie loved me, but I had no idea that there were people who loved me as Jesus loves me and prayed for me –
John 17:20-21 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
The Lord prayed for me two thousand years ago and yet, the prayer was as fresh and immediate in 1972 as it was the moment Jesus prayed it for –
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
And – “Seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them…”
When we join the Lord in this prayer for people to believe we are likeminded with Him and praying according to His will. With this in mind, having prayed for them, we must tell them –
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
b). Pray for others to grow in the Lord. Teach them –
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
c). Pray for others to serve the Lord. Partner with them
We should show people how to know and do the Word of God. We should learn from the example of Jesus with the disciples “…follow me and I will make you fishers of men…”
d). Pray for others who are in need. Give to them
e). Pray for others who are in sin. Correct them –
(1). Love for others demands that we seek God’s mercy on them –
1 John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
(2). Love for others demands more than just seeking God’s mercy, we must speak and reveal the sinful acts –
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Remember the New Commandment – will you love them as Jesus loves them –
a). Pray for others to know the Lord as their Saviour. Witnessing to them
b). Pray for others to grow in the Lord. Teaching them
c). Pray for others to serve the Lord. Partnering with them
d). Pray for others who are in need. Giving to them
e). Pray for others who are in sin. Rebuking and correct them.
Pray for them because it is the will of the Lord for every believer –
1 Peter 2:4-5 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
We can call unto the Lord for ourselves and for others –
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.