It is not the Father’s role to intercede. The Father is the one who hears, receives, and answers our prayers. But I think He should be included in the intercession process, because if it wasn’t for the Father we could not pray at all. In fact, all prayer comes from the Father. We will take time now to consider seven things regarding how the Father is involved in intercession.
1. He is the head person of the trinity and is in charge over the whole intercession process. Jesus said that His Father is Lord over heaven and earth (Lu. 10:21) and that He is greater than all (Jn. 10:29). Jesus also said in John 6:57 that He lives because of the Father. This does not mean that the Father gave Him existence (Jesus has always existed); however, it means that His special life of power and authority was committed or delegated to Him by God the Father (read John 5:26 for an explanation). We see this in John 5:22 where it says that the Father judges no one but has committed all judgment to the Son. Therefore, this verse tells us that God the Father is the one in charge of judgment and that He chose to delegate that duty to His Son Jesus. We know also that the Father sent the Holy Spirit to us (Jn. 14:26), and that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth that proceeds (or flows continually) from the Father (Jn. 15:26).
Therefore, from these verses and from many others we must conclude that the Father is the head of the trinity and that His own spirit, character, and authority proceed out to Christ His Son and to the Holy Spirit. Likewise He is in charge over all things, including the whole intercession process. Therefore, He directs and takes charge of the intercession of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and so also is Lord over our intercession for others.
2. He makes plans for us and makes things happen according to His own will and according to the concerns and desires He has for us. In several passages of scripture we understand that it is the Father who decides things and makes plans by His own will. For instance, in Matthew 12:50 Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Again in John 5:30 Jesus said, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
Guess what kind of plans He has for you? Well, He has great plans in store for you. Listen to What God says to us through the prophet Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God also speaks to us and tells us how He feels about us through David. In Psalms 139:17 David prays, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”
Therefore, in these few verses we see that God loves us, thinks about us, and makes plans for us for our good. But He not only makes plans for us, He sets in motion those activities and events, including all the prayers and intercession that will work to make those plans happen according to His will.
3. He is the source of our prayers. The Father has sent us the Holy Spirit to help us pray. By that Spirit He reveals to us His love, His plans, and all the desires He has for us. So when we pray in the Spirit we in effect are really offering back to God the same desires and plans He has given us. Therefore, our prayers are really His prayers. In the end we must conclude that all prayer comes from His mind and heart.
4. He is the person that we should pray to. I don’t think there is anything terribly wrong with talking to Jesus or to the Holy Spirit in prayer; but the Bible tells us that we should pray to the Father. In Matthew 6:6 Jesus said “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
But why are we told to pray just to the Father and not to Jesus or the Holy Spirit? Well, I think it is because He is the one who watches over us and cares for us. It is because we are the Fathers children, and children always ask their father for the things they need.
5. He listens to our prayers and to the pleadings of Christ and the Holy Spirit for us. The Father is the person who sits intently on His throne in heaven and listens to prayers and intercessions. He listens and hears the prayers of His Son, the prayers of the Holy Spirit, and our prayers. He always knows our needs, wants, and wishes; but still, He invites us to talk with Him. He wants to hear all of our problems. He wants to commune with us. He loves to just sit and listen to what we have to say to Him. I think He loves it especially when we ask Him to help a friend who is in need, because He wants to supply every need.
6. He is the person who searches or examines the heart. In Romans 8:27 God the Father is the “He” who searches the heart. David says of Him in Psalms 139:1-3, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thoughts afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are aquatinted with all my ways.”
Now why does the Father search our heart? What is He looking for, or what is His purpose for searching? Well, from Romans 8:27, we understand that He searches to find the reason why the Spirit groans in us, as He intercedes in us, so that He may supply our need, or some need in the body of Christ.
But I think we can break it down further. From my study I have come up with three adjoining reasons why the Father searches our heart.
One of the bigger reasons why the Father searches our heart is to expose our sin so that He may sympathize with our weakness and help us (Heb. 4:12-16). For that reason He has commissioned His Son to be our Great High Priest who sits beside Him now in heaven. In fact the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all working together to discern our heart and to convict us of our sins, causing us to repent. Then the Father (and the Son, through the Holy Spirit) draws us to Himself, where He (and the Son and Holy Spirit) sympathizes with our weakness. There at His great throne of grace He (with the Son and Holy Spirit) lovingly gives us mercy and pours out His grace upon us.
A second reason why the Father searches our heart is to discern our motives when we pray and do good works—so that He can reward us accordingly (Jer. 17:10). For instance, if we pray for a certain thing or do a certain deed, and the Father finds that our heart is selfish, we will go without a reward; but if He finds the our heart is pure and for His glory, then He will reward us. Yes, the Father is watching and keeping track of what we do so that He can reward us. Soon He will send his Son Jesus to give us gifts according to our works (Rev. 22:14). I think Jesus Himself will be the best reward of all!
Thirdly, the Father searches the heart in order to find those who are pure of heart and who are willing to serve Him. Yes, He has His eyes on every person in the whole world and He searches every heart. He is looking especially for those who are pure and willing workers because He wants to exalt them and give them important jobs and positions in His kingdom.
One example of this is when God sought out and chose David to be the king over Israel (1 Sam. 16:1-13). In this case, Samuel received wisdom from the Lord that David was to be the one chosen, even though he wasn’t the most likely candidate. And so, as it happened, Samuel and the elders of the city (Bethlehem) gazed upon the older brothers, especially upon Eliab (who was probably the oldest and tallest), and God said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (v. 7). Hence, we see that God had examined the heart of Eliab and his brothers and found that they were lacking in the essential qualifications for the office of King and were rejected. However, after examining the heart of David, God found that his heart was more like his own heart, that he had a heart to do all His will (Acts 13:22). And so God said to Samuel, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he” (v. 12).
Another example of God’s searching is when the apostles needed to choose a replacement for Judas (Acts 1:24). They had to choose between two men, Joseph or Matthias. In their prayer they correctly prayed, “Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou has chosen to occupy this ministry.” Then they drew lots and the lot fell to Matthias. And so by this method God chose the one who had the best heart for the office.
So these are some of the reasons why God searches the heart. But how do we tie this into intercession? What does His searching our heart have to do with intercession? Well, here is the answer, as I understand it. The Spirit groans and intercedes for us according to the Father’s will (Rom. 8:27). The Father then searches the heart to find how He can help us, bless us, and reward us. He also searches our heart so that He can show us our own needs and sins and the needs and sins of others. And He does this so that we can be involved with the Spirit in the intercession process, moreover, so that we may truly understand the will of God and so that we may groan with the spirit.
7. He is the giver of all good things. The Father owns and holds all the goods. As our Father, He cares for us and wants to give us all the things we need and that are good for us. All we have to do is pray and ask Him for it. The best gift of all that He offers to us is His Holy Spirit. When we ask Him for that gift He will never deny us. And in that gift we receive all the rest (Lu. 11:7-11).