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Demystifying Intercession: What It Is, How to Do It, and Why

Intercession prayer

In our journey of faith, prayer is a fundamental aspect of connecting with God and seeking His guidance. As believers, we are called to not only pray for ourselves but also to intercede on behalf of others. Intercession is a powerful form of prayer that involves speaking to God on behalf of another person, group, or situation. It requires sacrificing our time and focus to lift up the needs of others, demonstrating love and selflessness.

Throughout the Bible, we find numerous examples of intercession. From Moses pleading for the Israelites to Jesus encouraging His followers to pray for one another, intercession is woven into the fabric of our faith. By exploring the principles and examples of intercession, we can deepen our understanding of this vital practice and its significance in the life of the church.

Key Takeaways:

  • Intercession is speaking to God on behalf of others, demonstrating love and selflessness.
  • Examples of intercession can be found throughout the Bible, from Moses to Jesus.
  • Intercession is an essential aspect of the life of the church.
  • Principles such as grounding oneself in the Bible, pursuing a relationship with God, asking and waiting for His guidance, utilizing spiritual gifts, and trusting in God’s master plan enhance the effectiveness of intercessory prayer.
  • Developing hunger for God through prayer nurtures a deep desire for His presence and righteousness.

The Difference Between Prayer and Intercession

Prayer and intercession, although often used interchangeably, have distinct differences. Prayer entails speaking with God about matters concerning ourselves, while intercession involves speaking to God on behalf of others. Intercession requires a sacrifice of time and focus as we lift up the needs of individuals, groups, or situations. It is an act of loving another and a demonstration of laying down our lives for them.

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

―Mahatma Gandhi

Intercession is an expression of genuine love and an invitation to engage in conversations with God on behalf of others. It extends beyond our own concerns and places the needs of others at the forefront. By interceding for others, we actively demonstrate our love for them and fulfill Jesus’ command to love one another. It is through intercession that we engage in the work of the kingdom, partnering with God to make a difference in the lives of those we pray for.

difference between prayer and intercession

Intercession in the Bible

The practice of intercession can be traced back to the beginning of the Bible. Many biblical characters, including Moses, Daniel, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, and Jesus, engaged in intercessory prayer. These individuals prayed on behalf of their people and saw God respond by forgiving sins and bringing about transformation.

One notable example is Moses, who interceded for the Israelites when they sinned against God by worshipping a golden calf. In Exodus 32:11-14, Moses pleaded with God to relent from His anger and not destroy the Israelites. Through Moses’ intercession, God showed mercy and forgave the people.

“But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’ Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.” – Exodus 32:11-14

In the New Testament, Jesus not only modeled intercession but also encouraged his followers to pray for one another. In John 17, Jesus interceded for his disciples and future believers, praying for their unity and protection. He set an example of selfless love and emphasized the importance of interceding on behalf of others.

Biblical Character Intercession
Moses Interceded for the Israelites when they sinned against God.
Daniel Prayed for God’s mercy and guidance during challenging times.
Hezekiah Sought God’s intervention and healing when he was severely ill.
Nehemiah Prayed for the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem.
Jesus Interceded for his disciples and all believers.

Intercession in the Bible serves as a powerful reminder of the impact and effectiveness of lifting others’ needs to God. It demonstrates God’s willingness to respond to the prayers of His people and shows the importance of intercession in the journey of faith.

intercession in the Bible

Why Prayer and Intercession Are Important for the Church

Intercession and prayer play a vital role within the church, serving as powerful tools for believers to love and support one another. By engaging in intercessory prayer, individuals demonstrate their commitment to lay down their lives for the sake of others, echoing the selfless love exemplified by Jesus. The act of intercession shifts one’s focus from personal needs to the needs of others, fostering an environment of unity and collective care.

Intercession serves as a tangible expression of God’s love working through His people. It allows believers to serve both God and others, building bridges of compassion and solidarity. Through prayer, individuals can tap into the diverse expressions of intercession, including corporate gatherings, small group prayer sessions, and personal times of communion with God. These various forms of intercession provide opportunities for believers to connect with one another, displaying the power of unified prayer.

Laying Down Our Lives and Serving God and People

In the pursuit of intercession, believers are called to lay down their lives for the sake of others. This act of selflessness mirrors the sacrificial love of Christ, who gave His life to redeem humanity. Intercession serves as a practical way for believers to embody this love by actively engaging in prayer on behalf of others. Through intercession, individuals can uplift their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, intercede for communities in need, and advocate for justice and transformation in the world.

The importance of prayer and intercession for the church cannot be understated. It fosters an atmosphere of love, unity, and service, allowing believers to collectively seek God’s will and experience His transformative power. As believers lay down their lives in intercession, they participate in God’s redemptive work, serving as vessels of His love and agents of change in the world.

importance of intercession for the church

Diverse Expressions of Prayer and Intercession

Prayer and intercession manifest in diverse ways within the church. While corporate prayer gatherings are essential, intercession is not limited to these formal settings. Believers can engage in intercessory prayer through personal devotion, small group meetings, and even silent prayers lifted up throughout the day. Each expression of prayer and intercession adds a unique layer of connection and support within the body of Christ.

As believers unite in intercession, they create a tapestry of prayer that covers a wide range of needs and concerns. This diversity of prayer allows for a holistic approach to intercession, addressing individual, community, and global issues. By embracing the diverse expressions of prayer, the church ensures that no prayer goes unheard, and the needs of all are brought before the throne of God.

Principles of Effective Intercession

In order to engage in effective intercession, there are key principles that can guide and enhance the practice. These principles serve as a framework for intercessors to deepen their connection with God and align their prayers with His will.

  • Dig into the Bible: Immersing oneself in the Scriptures is essential for effective intercession. The Bible provides insights into God’s character, His promises, and His purposes. By studying and meditating on His Word, intercessors can gain a deeper understanding of God’s heart and align their prayers accordingly.
  • Pursue a relationship with God: Developing a close and intimate relationship with God is crucial for effective intercession. Intercessors should prioritize spending time in prayer, worship, and seeking His presence. A deep relationship with God allows intercessors to hear His voice and receive guidance for their prayers.
  • Ask and wait: Effective intercession involves asking God for His will and waiting patiently for His response. Intercessors must cultivate a posture of surrender and trust, allowing God to lead and direct their prayers. Waiting on God ensures that intercession is aligned with His timing and purposes.
  • Pursue spiritual gifts: Utilizing spiritual gifts is a powerful tool for effective intercession. The Holy Spirit empowers believers with diverse gifts such as prophecy, discernment, and tongues, which can provide specific insights and directions for intercessory prayers. Intercessors should seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in utilizing their spiritual gifts for the benefit of others.
  • Trust in God’s master plan: Trusting in God’s master plan is essential for effective intercession. Intercessors must have unwavering faith that God is in control and working all things together for His purposes. Trusting God’s sovereignty enables intercessors to pray with confidence and surrender to His divine will.

By incorporating these principles into their intercessory practice, believers can experience a deeper level of effectiveness and impact in their prayers. Effective intercession is not merely a mechanical exercise but a spiritual journey that requires faith, intimacy with God, and alignment with His purposes.

principles of effective intercession

Develop Hunger for God through Prayer

Developing a deep hunger for God is a transformative journey that can be nurtured through prayer. Hunger for God is not something we generate on our own, but rather a gift that we can receive from Him. It begins with grounding ourselves in the fear of the Lord, understanding His character, and cultivating a desire for righteousness.

One of the key ways to develop hunger for God is by regularly immersing ourselves in the Scriptures. The Bible reveals God’s heart, His promises, and His purposes for our lives. As we read and meditate on His Word, we gain insight into His faithfulness, love, and power, which fuels our hunger to know Him more.

Expressing devotion to God through prayer is another essential aspect of developing hunger for Him. Prayer is an intimate conversation with our Heavenly Father, where we can pour out our hearts, seek His wisdom, and surrender our desires to His will. It is through prayer that we experience encounters with God, where He reveals Himself to us, ignites our passion for His presence, and deepens our hunger for His truth.

To develop and sustain hunger for God, it is important to avoid hunger-suppressing fillers in our lives. These fillers can take the form of worldly distractions, unhealthy habits, or misplaced priorities that divert our attention and affection away from God. By pursuing a God-focused life, aligning our motivations with His glory, and continually seeking His presence through prayer, we can cultivate and nurture a hunger for God that grows stronger with each passing day.

Table: Principles for Developing Hunger for God

Principles Description
Grounding in the fear of the Lord Recognizing God’s holiness and sovereignty, and aligning our hearts with His desires.
Reading the Bible Regularly immersing ourselves in God’s Word to gain insight into His character and purposes.
Expressing devotion through prayer Cultivating a deep and intimate relationship with God through heartfelt prayers and surrender.
Letting encounters fuel hunger Seeking moments of communion with God, where He reveals Himself and ignites our passion for Him.
Avoiding hunger-suppressing fillers Identifying and removing distractions or habits that hinder our hunger for God’s presence.
Pursuing a God-focused life Aligning our motivations, desires, and priorities with God’s glory and purposes.


Intercession prayer holds incredible power, enabling believers to communicate with God on behalf of others. It requires a willingness to sacrifice our time and focus for the needs of those around us, demonstrating genuine love and selflessness. Although we cannot guarantee that every prayer will be answered according to our desires, our faith in God’s ability to hear and respond remains steadfast.

Developing a strong faith in prayer and in God is essential. As we embark on the journey of intercession, we must ground ourselves in the fear of the Lord, immersing ourselves in His Word and seeking His presence through prayer. Expressing our devotion to God through heartfelt prayers and allowing our encounters with Him to deepen our faith will ignite a hunger for His righteousness.

Let us avoid distractions that suppress our hunger for God and instead pursue a life that is focused on Him. As we grow in our understanding and practice of intercession, we will experience the transformative power of prayer in our own lives and in the lives of those we pray for. Through intercession, we can become vessels of God’s love and agents of change in the world.


What is intercession?

Intercession is the act of speaking to God on behalf of another person, group, or situation.

How is intercession different from general prayer?

Intercession involves sacrificing our time and focus for the needs of others, while general prayer refers to speaking with God about matters concerning ourselves.

Are there examples of intercession in the Bible?

Yes, biblical characters like Moses, Daniel, Hezekiah, Nehemiah, and Jesus engaged in intercessory prayer on behalf of their people.

Why is intercession important for the church?

Intercession calls believers to love one another and lay down their lives for each other, demonstrating commitment to serve God and others.

What are the principles of effective intercession?

Effective intercession involves grounding oneself in the Bible, pursuing a relationship with God, asking and waiting for His guidance, utilizing spiritual gifts, and trusting in God’s master plan.

How can I develop a hunger for God through prayer?

Developing hunger for God can be nurtured through regular Bible reading, seeking His presence in prayer, expressing devotion to Him, and aligning one’s motivations with His glory.

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  • Greg Gaines

    Father / Grandfather / Minister / Missionary / Deacon / Elder / Author / Digital Missionary / Foster Parents / Welcome to our Family Gaines Greg