To intercede is to stand in the gap and plead on behalf of others that cannot do it for themselves.
Prayers of intercession are when we pray for others and hold them up before God’s throne of grace so that He will do the necessary works in their lives that are needed at that time.
Eze 22:30 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.
God is always searching for people to stand in the gap. All prayer is good but prayers of intercession are selfless prayers and these are a sweet savour unto God.
Some examples of intercession:
Abraham prayed for the city’s of Sodom and Gomorah
Gen 18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
Gen 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Gen 18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
Gen 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Gen 18:26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
Gen 18:27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
Gen 18:28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
Gen 18:29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.
Gen 18:30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
Gen 18:31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.
Gen 18:32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
Gen 18:33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
Abraham had a heart for God’s righteousness in people.
Moses interceded for the people when they turned from God and made the golden calf to worship.
Exo 32:30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.
Exo 32:31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
Exo 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
Exo 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Exo 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
When David had Uriah killed and he took Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba for himself he realised that he had sinned and came before God and repented, God forgave him but as punishment He said that he would take the life of David’s son, the fruit of the sin. While the child was alive David interceded on its behalf.
2Sa 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
2Sa 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
2Sa 12:15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
2Sa 12:16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
2Sa 12:17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
2Sa 12:18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
2Sa 12:19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
2Sa 12:20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
2Sa 12:21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
2Sa 12:22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
2Sa 12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was a priest. Part of his job was to burn the incense at the altar of incense, this was a form of intercession for the nation of Israel.
Luk 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course,
Luk 1:9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
Luk 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
Jesus prayed a prayer of intercession for each one of us. This we can read in the gospel of John chapter 17.
As part of the furniture in the tabernacle God instructed Moses to build an altar on which incense was to be burned each morning and evening, God also gave the instruction of how the incense was to be made and that it was to be pure. This altar was to be placed in the Holy Place in front of the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. The incense would be a sweet savour to God as an intercession for the people.
David reaffirms and asks that his prayers be as incense.
Psa 141:1 A Psalm of David. LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.
Psa 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
In the revelation that was given to John we see that the prayers of the saints were with smoke of the incense.
Rev 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Rev 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
In the same way that the incense was pure our prayers should be pure.
Joh 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Our prayers should always be in spirit and in truth for God to hear them.
Christ is our incense, an offering for a sweet smelling savour.
Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.
Christ is also our intercessor
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Christ is also our advocate, the one that pleads our case,
1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
When we are not sure how to pray we can turn to the Holy Spirit.
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
God has given each one of us an intercessor, Jesus, but He also requires us to intercede on the behalf of others so that Jesus can be their intercessor also.