Intercession – Salvation – What’s the Connection?
Intercession is praying or interceding on behalf of others, some people are walking around blind to the dangers of this present world. They do not know God, perhaps have rejected the idea of God and are heading in the wrong direction. There is hope for them and for the whole world and that hope is salvation through Jesus Christ. Salvation and intercession are two sides of the same coin. We pray for the salvation of others and our souls are irrevocably intertwined throughout eternity by the invisible bond of God’s love.
There are some Christians who believe that if a person does not personally accept Jesus they will become eternally damned. This is a false doctrine. Jesus died for the salvation of all mankind. Each person will be judged on what they have received in their lifetimes. Therefore a person who has not been brought up in the knowledge of the Gospel of love will be given a great deal of grace and mercy. Whereas those of us who have been brought up in the faith will be expected to have done more, prayed more and loved our fellow humans more while we had the opportunity.
We can find many scriptures that exhort us to pray one for the other. This is known as intercessory prayer. Our hearts are touched with compassion for others and we pray for them and their circumstances, we bring their concerns into God’s throne room pleading their case. Our faith brings us before God and causes our hearts to trust in His loving generousity in all circumstances. Faith grows when we exercise it, the more we pray, the more answers to prayers we receive, the more we know that God is real and that He cares and that He is able to provide abundantly more than we can ever ask or even imagine. He is the Creator of all that exists, He is the Owner of everything. He desires to share all with all of us. Is our faith big enough to believe in our Awesome Generous and Loving Father?
God loves each person that He has created, none are beyond His reach or His care. Someone said to me once that a person they knew was going to go to eternal damnation because they had not surrendered their heart to God. It is untrue that God sends people to Hell because they have not had the opportunity to learn and come to know God. The God I love and worship is a God of love, not a legalist who would punish someone because they had not known God in their lifetime, when there is still eternity waiting for Him to personally teach them, heal them and love them.
What is love? It is a subject that we can contemplate and practice all of our lives and still only have scratched the surface of what it is and what it can be. Love is a mind blowing and heart changing concept . Unconditional love even more so. Sadly a lot of people never get to experience true and unconditional love demonstrated by other human beings and so their knowledge of love is limited by their lack of experience and knowledge of love. If a person has been exposed to abuse, violence of words and/or actions, punishment framed in the guise of “I am only doing this because I love you.”, then that persons’ view of “love” will be distorted by those experiences.
Real and unconditional love comes when we lay down our expectations of others and love them without expecting anything in return. The pleasure we receive for this is incomparable, God blesses each act of generousity that we perform, and He blesses us abundantly when we are loving others by showing God’s love and care to our fellow human beings. This act of unconditional giving brings the reward of our own hearts expanding to be able to love even more. The more love we give the more love we receive. We practice loving outside our comfort zone and letting go of our preconceived notions of what love is. We learn that love is acceptance. Love is forgiveness. Love is encouragement. Love is surrender. Love is speaking the truth. Love is action. Love is gentleness. Love is strength. Love is you and love is me and mostly love is God and from God and grows through our relationships with God and each other.
Praying in intercession for others is an act of love, doing it when they do not even know that we are doing it is an act of merciful love. We pray because we care and we do not seek recognition of the act. It is an act of obedience to a call that God has placed in our hearts. We pray because we believe and we have seen miraculous answers to our prayers, we pray because we know that God can work any kind of miracle at any time in anyone’s life and we are part of that process and happy to be used for God’s good purposes.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:1
This scripture from the Apostle Paul to Timothy his young student states that it is important for each of us to offer supplications, which is an urgent and intense form of prayer, Paul teaches that we must pray urgently and with intensity for all people and offer thanks for all the situations and people that God brings into our lives and into our awareness. This is intercession, we must pray for one another. There will be times when we urgently need others to pray for us.
‘We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers.’ 1 Thessalonians 1:2
‘Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit’. James 5:14-20
The scripture above is from James the Apostle who Paul refers to in scripture as the brother of Jesus, James advises us to call for elders of the church to pray over those who are ill, elders are people who are mature in age and wisdom. Experienced prayers who pray with faith. Faith is everything in prayer. We have to believe that God hears and answers our prayers and when we do that He does His part. Trust is paramount in any relationship and our most important relationship is the one we have with God. He can be trusted with our deepest needs, our darkest secrets, our loved ones and the secret longings of our hearts. We do not have to be elderly to have success in our prayer lives all it takes for answered prayers is an open believing heart that trusts in an all knowing and all loving and all capable God.
‘Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.’ 1 Samuel 12:23
Samuel is an Old Testament prophet who lived a long time and saw many changes through his lifetime. In this scripture Samuel is saying that it is sin against the Lord if we cease to pray for others and provide proper instruction to them in the ways of the Lord. Pretty strong words, so praying for others is not optional. It is our duty to do so if we want to be obedient to the call that God has placed in our hearts. We know Jesus also instructed us to “Love God and love your neighbour as yourself.” The perfect commandment which sums up the entirety of the Gospel message. God first, neighbour second, ourselves third.
‘Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18
Paul is telling us to have perseverance. We learn that we must not give up nor lose our hope, our prayers are important and making a difference, often we cannot see the results of all of our prayers, that is where persevering in faith comes in.
‘Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you.’ 2 Thessalonians 3:1
This is an exhortation from Paul for us to pray for the leaders and teachers among us that the Gospel be spread around the world and that God’s Word be honoured by all who hear it.
‘For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love for you.’ Ephesians 3:14-19
We need the Holy Spirit to teach us to strengthen us to provide us with the inner fortitude to fulfill God’s plan for our lives. How do we receive the Holy Spirit? We first accept and acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and ask Him to come into our hearts and lives as our Saviour. Then we ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is God’s own Spirit. The more we study the Word, and spend time in prayer, fulfilling the will of God by worshipping and honouring God’s Word, and when we reach out to those less fortunate and share the Gospel message with them by demonstrating unconditional love, then we are able to ask and receive for more and more of the gifts and blessings of the Holy Spirit. All the gifts are to be used for the building up of the Kingdom of God.
No one on earth is beyond the reach of God’s mercy, our families, our loved ones, our neighbours, those who preach unbelief, those who practice blasphemy, even those who murder, all can be saved by our not looking at the circumstances of their situations, but looking to our God for answers and praying with faith and confidence. God can do so much more than we can ask or imagine. He created the entire universe. We cannot even create the life that is formed inside a teardrop. He created you and He created me and all the people that we care about for the purpose of love. He already loved us before we came into existence. He wants us to come to the awareness of how much we are loved, and He loves all people with a love that is complete, extravagant, unimaginable and pure.
Let’s ask Him to perfect love inside our own beings our hearts, minds and spirits so that we can imitate His perfect, selfless love to those who we meet on our life journeys.
Intercessory prayer, is demonstrating love for others, because we love God and we do not want anyone to become one of the eternally lost sheep. We have the power in our praying hearts, hands, and lips to redeem all of mankind through our intercessory prayers, through the gift of the blood of Jesus which washes away all of the sins of the world. Every day we need to access this great gift and see miracles happen in the lives of those whom God has called us to pray for. Our intercession leads to the salvation of all those who would be lost if we failed to be obedient to the command to pray for the salvation of ALL of God’s children. (Not just the people we like, but even those who oppose us and the work of God).
‘I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.’ Philemon 1:4-6