Every believer has a responsibility to intercede in prayer for others—for both believers and unbelievers. This responsibility has been placed on us by reason of our priesthood. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…” Yes, since we are in Christ we are all priests, royal priests. Christ was the first Priest and King. And now, because we believe in Him, He has made us kings and priests—not only individually, but corporately; we are all, together, a kingdom of priests.
When you were born again you were born into the priesthood. And we were not only given the name and position of priest; God has purified us by Christ’s blood so that we are qualified in every way to be a priest and to carry out the duties of a priest. One of those duties is the work of intercession. God has gifted us and made us responsible for this important work. By intercession we advance His kingdom; hence, we do His will on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).
Now how do we do the work of intercession? And how are we empowered in the work? Here are three things you can do to be a better, more powerful intercessor:
1. Abide in Christ. All the good qualities of a priest are in Christ; therefore, when we abide in Christ we find that we are gentler, more compassionate, more holy, and more willing to serve and pray for others.
2. Follow the teachings of Christ on intercession. There are several places in the gospels where Jesus teaches us how to intercede. His parable in Luke 11:5-8 I think is one of His best illustrations and teachings on intercession. In this story, a traveler comes to a man’s house at midnight and was in need of food. The man didn’t have enough bread to give him, so he went out to his friend’s house and knocked on his door repeatedly until he convinced him to get up and give him the bread he asked for. From this story we understand that intercession is one person going to another to get bread for a third.
And of course the person we go to and pray to for help is God. Here we see illustrated for us how very important intercession is, how urgent it is, and how we must not fail in this responsibility. Just as the man felt burdened to provide bread for the traveler, and made it his duty to go and get bread for him at such a late hour, we must also realize that intercession is our duty; and we have a grave responsibility to help and pray for those God sends us.
3. Follow the leading of Christ and the burden of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was the first perfect priest. He is still a perfect priest who rules in heaven and wants to rule in every heart. He is the head of the priesthood (that’s us). When we abide in Him He will show us how to intercede. And He will lead us by example; for He Himself is interceding for all of us.
If we have a heart to intercede for others the Holy Spirit will bring to us a person who is needy; and He will put a burden on our heart for that person. Don’t fail to pray for that person. It is your God given responsibility.