What is an Intercessor?
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans chapter 12 verse 1
Unless we are fully surrendered to God and allow him in the person of the Holy Spirit His rightful place in our lives then we will never be able to obtain the “ like precious faith “ to which Saint Peter refers. This comes at a price. Nothing in the Christian life comes without a price. The greatest price of all was when Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin when He voluntarily laid down His life on Calvary’s cross. It cost Jesus every drop of His blood to redeem sinners from the curse of sin. For those who have received a revelation of Calvary then the words of Isaiah will be written deeply upon their hearts.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.
Isaiah chapter 53 verse 5
The Lord Jesus Christ called His followers to be fully identified with Himself. His was the way of the cross. Have the words of our Lord impacted upon your life to the extent that they have become the only way for you?
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Saint Matthew chapter 16 verse 24
Just as Jesus went the way of the cross and accepted His Father’s will the message down the centuries has always been the way of the cross. This is not a popular message as evidenced in our own day. Where are those who will answer God’s call to come and study at Bible College Of Wales Continuing? It is unlike any other college as its standards are higher than those colleges which have placed themselves under a degree system which follows higher criticism. No this is a college which is led by the Holy Spirit and standards to be able to obtain the honours degree free from higher criticism are much higher for God has shown to set the standards higher than those of the world. Even more importantly is the spiritual side of the college. This is to train men and women who know their God because their lives have been fully surrendered to the Holy Ghost. Not an easy life which brings comfort to the flesh but one where the Holy Ghost changes human nature into the divine and lives become like Jesus.
This is a life which accepts suffering. For Jesus accepted suffering and are we not told that He was:
A man of sorrows , and acquainted with grief.
Isaiah chapter 53 verse 3
It is not a case today of always feeling relaxed and at rest and enjoying ourselves inwardly. This was not the way of our Lord. Where are those today who will go the way of the cross?
Instead of soft Christians who make little impact, Lord so that your command to take the Gospel to every creature can impact in our own day bring us to the place where discipline and suffering are more important than the comfort zones evidenced in present day Christianity.
It is only when there has been a full surrender to the Holy Ghost and he is living within the body of the believer as God that the words of Saint Paul will be fully understood because they have become real to us.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans chapter 12 verse 2
In closing this message I return to the words of Saint Peter “ like precious faith. “ The unchangeable God has always had people that He could trust. It is those who He can illuminate. It is those who have surrendered to the Holy Ghost who He will enlarge until there is nothing within them that will hinder the power of God. Under all circumstances we will be able to triumph. It is not that we have any help on ourselves but our help comes only from God and if our help is only in God then we will always be strong and never weak. The way of the cross means we never murmur, will always be in the place of victory, are not concerned over human order or thinking but of divine order in God. Our faith is always based on “ thus saith the Lord. “
Lord Jesus Christ may we never forget that you are a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. You know suffering and fully accepted the way of the cross. Lord may those who say that they are Christians realise the cost of their salvation. Lord may this not be a mental understanding but come through a revelation that you were despised and rejected and suffered more than anyone ever suffered. In this light Lord may Christians in our day come out of their comfort zones and fully embrace the way of the cross as they are prepared to daily take up their own cross and follow you. Lord you know the effect of the teaching of higher criticism has and is still having on men and women training in universities and colleges today. Lord you have set up Bible College Of Wales Continuing to be free from higher criticism and led by the Holy Ghost. Lord please call men and women to come and train at this college in which you have set the standards higher than the world and are to be men and women led by the Spirit rather than human thinking. Lord your honour is a stake if you are still to be able to find those who will give their all to you and for the spread of the Gospel to every creature. This prayer seeks only to bring honour to the name of our God. Amen.
And he saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor.
Isaiah chapter 59 verse 16
The cry from the prophet Isaiah showed the spiritual state of the people of God at that time. Israel should have been in the fullness of God’s blessing but instead had failed to give God His rightful place. There had been a turning away from God and the following after other gods. God had looked for a man who would stand before Him and plead with Him for the restoration of His people. This was to serve God as they had been instructed through the law which had been given to Moses.
That God seeks intercessors but rarely finds them is confirmed through the few that are found in the scriptures. Moses is the outstanding intercessor in the Old Testament. There is a tremendous prayer of intercession recorded in Exodus where Moses pleads with God not to destroy the people of Israel for their idolatry.
Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin -; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written
Exodus chapter 32 verse 32
Moses had put his own life on the altar of sacrifice. He pleaded with God that He would not destroy all the people of Israel. The matter was so serious because God had been angered to the degree that He would have wiped His own special people the Israelites out. Moses stood in the gap between the people of Israel and God. He pleaded for God’s mercy to the extent that if God would not show mercy Moses himself was prepared to die as God’s purposes would no longer have been fulfilled because God would have destroyed His own people through whom all His purposes have to be fulfilled.
Daniel is another example of an intercessor in action. Daniel carried on his heart the burden of the people. He mourned for the captivity of Zion. He confessed his sin and the people’s sin. He identified himself with Israel until God made him a man who moved the heart of God. The result was that a remnant returned to Jerusalem to walk in the despised way of obedience to God.
And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgements. Daniel chapter 9 verses 4 and 5
Nehemiah was broken-hearted when he learned of the desolations of Jerusalem. He pleaded months before God, his sin and the sin of his people, and God opened the way and the walls were built up and the gates restored.
Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.
Nehemiah chapter 1 verse 6
Having identified himself with the sins of God’s people Nehemiah was prepared to offer himself as the means of answering the prayer.
O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.
Nehemiah chapter 1 verse 11
In the New Testament we meet Paul who takes intercession to its greatest heights. He lays all on the altar for his own people the Jews. Paul was prepared to be accursed from Christ so that in the purposes of God Israel will be saved by the Jews being restored to God. Without any doubt no matter what Satan tries to do against the Jews it is this prayer of intercession by Paul which has moved the heart of God and ensured Israel’s safety. Intercessors, though, are still required to stand with Israel in our own day as this is a contest between God and Satan. God will ultimately fulfil His purposes when the day comes when Yeshua will stand upon mount Zion and be accepted as the Messiah of the Jews.
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
Romans chapter 9 verse 3
The self- centred Christianity of our own times does not produce many intercessors. Nothing has changed since the time when Isaiah uttered his cry. That to become an intercessor is not something which Christians clamour for is not unexpected. To be an intercessor is to have the Holy Spirit living His own life in our bodies which have become His own. We lose our own rights as the Holy Spirit replaces our own nature with His own nature. The natural is replaced with the divine. This is a painful process and few are prepared to accept the way of taking up their own cross and following the way that Jesus himself took. What a soft easy going Christianity there is today. It is as though the cross no longer speaks to the hearts of those who call themselves Christian. Jesus laid His life down at the cross. Those who become intercessors lay their lives down for God. As the Holy Spirit lives His own life through them for others they are so identified with the needs of those prayed for that they take the place of the ones prayed for and plead on their behalf before God. This is a painful process as part of intercession is to accept the role of agonising with God. Victory, though, is assured as when identification is made and the agonising complete the Holy Spirit will say when the intercession has been gained. The stamp of God which marks out the intercessor is that of authority. Reader where are you in the purposes of God’s call on your own life? If you are being called to train for ministry or to become an intercessor the college of which I am Director you should be of interest:
Lord Jesus Christ you are the ultimate intercessor. You took upon yourself our sins and offered your own blood to the Father so that we who were condemned because of our sin could be forgiven. Thank you Jesus that through the offering of your blood once we can enter into the holiest of all, the presence of God. Where sin abounded grace did much more abound. Sin had cut us off from God but through your death and resurrection communication has been restored to those who will accept you as their Saviour. Lord may all who come to know you as Saviour not leave it at that but go on to know you as Lord. May there be an acceptance of responsibility to go from strength to strength with yourself as there is that willingness to be open to the will of God whatever this may be. This prayer seeks only to bring honour to the name of our God. Amen.
Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity.
Nehemiah chapter 4 verse 4
Whatever else may be suggested the Christian life is not one which is trouble free. If it is then this needs to be questioned. Although the verse being considered in this message is from the Old Testament it illustrates that whenever there is a work of God this will be contested all the way.
There will be nothing of ease which will cost us nothing for this would conflict with both the many examples of God’s workings in the Old Testament and with what the Lord Jesus spoke about to his followers or is contained in the epistles of Saint Paul.
Let us consider the work of Nehemiah. Although a Jew Nehemiah lived in exile in the Persian Empire. He held a responsible position as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. He could be said to have a comfortable life without needing to be concerned about the needs of others. This is the position of many so called believers today. How easy it is to live in a comfort zone which evolves around our own concerns whether they be self- centred, our family needs or going to church each week.
We can live quietly being fully satisfied with our lot but that is all it is. The devil will not disturb our peace because we are not a threat to him. The vast majority of what goes under the name of Christianity today is just like this going along in self- interest and self- satisfaction and posing no threat to the devil and the principalities and powers of darkness which remain undisturbed from their work of sweeping souls blindly into hell whether they be church goers, followers of other religions or hardened sinners.
It is only when we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit calling us to allow him to live and work through us that the devil and his powers are disturbed and are aroused into action. In Nehemiah’s case he was first of all brought into identification with the needs of his fellow Jews who still lived in Jerusalem. Nehemiah met some men who reported that the remnant in Jerusalem who had not been taken into captivity were in great affliction and reproach.
An even greater concern to Nehemiah was to hear that the walls and gates of Jerusalem were destroyed. Would we have reacted like Nehemiah at hearing this news? It is only the man and woman who are as close to God as is possible who will act in identification with those matters which concern God and His people.
Nehemiah sat down and wept not just for a passing moment but for many days as he did not just feel sorry for his fellow Jews but faced up to the implications of what needed to be done and who would do this. It is easy to leave the matter to someone else. However, to God’s intercessors of whom Nehemiah was one comes responsibility. Is it a surprise that today intercessors are as scarce as when God was looking for one at the time of Isaiah.
And he saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor.
Isaiah chapter 59 verse 16
Or in the case of Ezekiel who said:
And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Ezekiel chapter 22 verse 30
O how the heart of God grieved in the time of Isaiah and Ezekiel and how much more it grieves today when there are few who will accept His call to surrender their own life and let the Holy Spirit take over their body to live His own life as God through their bodies and in doing so be the intercessor through them. There can be no intercessor on earth today except the Holy Spirit finds bodies to indwell not in an arbitrary way but to have his own way completely.
Christianity is not a game to be played as and when it takes our fancy. It is the most serious business in the world today as it is God’s business but he chooses to work through men and women in order to fulfil His purposes. He found someone in Nehemiah who would give their all. Nehemiah prayed and God heard. It was a costly prayer for it consumed his comfortable life. He prayed for days until he came up to the level required.
This level was to identify himself with the sin of the Jews for going so away from God that they had to be sent into exile. It was during this period of exile that Jerusalem had fallen into disrepair. Note that Nehemiah does not blame others but also includes himself by saying “ we have sinned.” Are you prepared to go to these lengths of identification. When the Holy Spirit takes over he will take us to any lengths in order to answer a prayer. Nehemiah saw the only answer was to be through himself. When the king asked him why he was so sad he was presented with the opportunity to speak to the king about that which he had prayed.
Nehemiah found boldness in the sight of the king to ask all that was upon his heart and above all this that God had prepared the king to grant all that Nehemiah needed to be able to go to Jerusalem and carry out the work of restoration.
Nehemiah acted in faith when after assessing the work needed he found Jews who would do the needed work of restoration. The opposition soon appeared too. There were non Jews who had entered Jerusalem and made themselves a comfortable life. The coming of Nehemiah was a threat to them and sought to both hinder and discourage the work from succeeding. How true this is for those who dare come out of the comfort zone today and give their all to God the Holy Spirit.
Immediately a full surrender is made this will be tested out. Whatever form this may come as we are not to be afraid. The Holy Spirit in us is greater than Satan and every demonic spirit working through the principalities and powers of darkness which are in direct conflict with God’s intercessors over the gospel being made known to every creature and the return of the Messiah to Jerusalem.
Nehemiah stood firm. He used every means available to overcome the opposition. The work was completed because God heard Nehemiah’s prayer that his people were despised and turned the reproach of His people upon their enemies for these enemies were the enemies of God. The principles are still the same today. God’s intercessors are to be identified wherever the Holy Spirit shows them to be and use all the resources available to them.
These are praying on the word of God through as the Holy Spirit prays the word of God through them. Authority is here when the unction of God brings alive the word of God and just as the enemy in Nehemiah’s day had to retreat so the principalities and powers of darkness seeking to defy God today and the prophesies of God’s word they have no chance when God the Holy Spirit has bodies through whom He can destroy the works of the devil.
There is a war going on in the heavenly places between the principalities and powers of darkness and God’s army of intercessors which is as real as any war on earth. Are you in the comfort zone which will not be a concern to the devil or are you prepared to put your hand to the plough and obey these words of Jesus.
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
St Luke chapter 9 verse 23
Those who dare obey and come out of their comfort zone will wonder what has hit them for the principalities and powers of darkness are real but the Holy Spirit is more real as through you He will destroy these powers. After reading this message you cannot say you have not been made aware of the conflict today. The deeper spiritual life is still available today for all who will say not my way but God’s way.
Intercession 11 05 15
And I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Father in these days just as is recorded when your servant the prophet Ezekiel saw that you needed someone to stand in the gap before you on behalf of Israel there is still that cry for someone to respond. In the case of Ezekiel the cry was in vain as there was not one who would stand before you by in the gap in prayer. Father thy servant mentioned below has been faithful in standing before you for both the United States and Israel.
Thy servant who has written this prayer is likewise an intercessor standing in the gap. Standing before the God who keeps His Covenant promises in these days through His Son Jesus Christ who offered His own blood to cleanse repentant sinners from sin.
Father will not the judge of all the earth do right by making sure that the last command of thy Son to go into all the world and preach the gospel is completed before His second coming. This prayer is asked and the answer guaranteed through the victory of thy Son Jesus Christ at Calvary and because He has been raised from the dead and is alive for evermore. Amen.