Romans 8:26-27, “26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with Gods will.”
Paul taught in Romans another kind of prayer called the “prayer of intercession.” Intercession means, “to bring a person’s needs before God.” When disciples pray for others and plead their case to God on their behalf, they’re interceding. One of the Holy Spirit’s roles is to help the disciple know what to pray when interceding, because we don’t always know what we should pray. Sometimes, during these times of deep emotional prayers, God may cause us to groan and speak in other tongues because our words fail to fully express the will of God.
Sadly, many Christians have been wrongly taught that some dead Christians (known as “saints”) are the best intercessors, because they are already in heaven and are close to Jesus. However, the Bible never teaches us to pray to the dead, including dead saints. The best form of intercession, according to the Bible, is for you to pray directly to God the Father in the name of Jesus, by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
It is a great privilege for us to experience and express the heart of God for the lost and for His will to be done upon the earth. Austin Phelps said, “We are never more like Christ than in prayers of intercession.” We see in the life of Jesus His example of intercession concerning Jerusalem when he wept and said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Luke 13:34).
Paul said, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness,” because we don’t know how to pray for others, but the Holy Spirit does. He knows the hearts of people, everything involved in their situation and the will of God. The two kinds of things God will have us intercede for are the lost to be saved and for His will to be done upon the earth through people. The three main ways the Holy Spirit will lead us in intercession are; (1) Praying with weeping and groaning, (2) Praying in tongues and (3) Praying with our own words. Each kind of prayer will involve us praying for God to do things in other people’s lives. Some of the things intercessors pray for are governments to change, lost people to be saved, righteous standards to be upheld in a nation and justice to come to the oppressed.
Due to the nature of the first two kinds of intercession, I will simply give an example of the third kind. Remember, the first two kinds are very powerful. I would say, in my experience, those two are even more effective. So don’t be afraid to let the Holy Spirit pray through you with strong emotion and unlearned languages (tongues). Here is an example of the prayer of intercession for an unsaved relative in my own words, “Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus, asking you to save my sister, Lisa. I pray that you will convict her of sin and open her heart to the gospel. Please send her gospel preachers so she may hear your Word and be saved. I rebuke all the attacks of the devil against her and plead for her salvation and protection. I praise you for always seeking and saving the lost, Amen.” Try to make time every day to intercede for the unsaved. God will you use you in incredible ways!
Do you desire the lost to be saved?
- Pray for three people in your life who don’t know Jesus because if they died, they would spend eternity in hell forever.
- Ask God, by the Holy Spirit, to lead you in deep intercession for their souls.
- Pray like heaven and hell are in the balance; because they are.