Paul was a great prayer warrior and was always interceding for others. Here are three passages having to do with Paul’s intercession. Then please take note of the three things I have observed from Paul about what intercession is:
For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you, 10 always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
1. Intercession is unceasing. In Romans 1:9 Paul writes to the Roman church, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers…” Here we see from Paul that intercession (at least Paul’s intercession) is something that is unceasing. It is a constant burning desire to stand in the gap for another.
2. Intercession is usually for those whom we love and have a ministry with. This was certainly true of Paul and for those he ministered to; for because he had developed a love for them in the Lord, they were always on his mind. When Paul heard that the Colossian believers were growing in faith and in their love for the saints, he was especially inspired to pray for them (Col. 1:3-4).
This should be our motivation as well. We should not only pray for the sick and the lost, but like Paul, we should pray mainly for those who love the Lord as we do, and especially for those who are leaders in the church and for those who participate in the gospel with us (Phil. 1:3-11).
3. Intercession has a great purpose—of saving the lost. I believe that Paul prayed mostly for the people that he had a ministry with, not just because of the common fellowship he felt with them, but because of the strategy of it. Thus he concentrated his prayer effort not so much on the sick, but on those whom he was training to spread the gospel.
I pray that we also catch the vision of Paul and of Christ as we concentrate most of our prayer efforts on those who participate with us in the gospel. For it is essential for the spreading of the gospel.