“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died— more than that, who was raised to life— is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34 NIV)
Recently, after being away, I had a huge stack of praise reports from the Prayer Band that had piled up on my desk. Seven or eight of them had the same thing in common: “Thank you, folks, for praying for my husband; he wasn’t a believer, and he’s now a Christian.” “Thank you for praying for the person I asked you to pray for.” Whether it was a friend, relative, or coworker, every one of them wasn’t about the person who requested the prayer — it was about someone else. These people wanted to battle for someone else in prayer, and they wanted us on their prayer team. We have no idea what crushing circumstances others are facing. Can’t we feel it in our own battles? Don’t we care?
Other people in our churches, our communities, and our families need our prayers if they are spiritually asleep. Or they are weighed down with worry. Or they are drifting away from the Lord, dabbling with oxycodone or discouraged beyond belief. Tell me, who will pray for them if you and I don’t? Especially for those who remain hardened to the message of Jesus. Will their hearts soften on their own? No. We must pray that God will visit them in tenderness and love.
No one is too far gone. Everyone needs someone to persistently and consistently pray for them.
We also need to remember another awesome fact: We are never closer to Jesus than when we are interceding for someone else.
Do you know where Christ is right now? According to the Bible, he is at the right hand of the Father, and he’s making intercession for us. “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). And because Jesus is there interceding, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Heb. 7:25).
Did you know that while you were sleeping last night, Jesus was praying for you? He lives to make intercession. So when you and I get done with ourselves, and we focus our prayers on other people, we are doing exactly what Jesus is doing: making intercession.
Can we grasp what kind of supernatural power there is in intercession? How ministers and churches would be freshly blessed by God? How struggling believers and those not trusting Christ could be changed?
For some people, intercessory prayer is their unique ministry. They might not even know it yet, but if they would just give themselves to it, they would be a spiritual powerhouse behind the scenes in the body of Christ! They might never hold a microphone and speak, but in heaven they will get a reward such as they can’t imagine, because they were like Christ—intercessors.
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Strong through the Storm)
Read Romans 8:31-39.