Paul and friends: Intercessors

Their intercession was different than many intercessors today. Instead of interceding for nations and social issues, or trying to bind the devil over nations and cities, they focused on REAL PEOPLE whom they knew God wanted them to pray for: people either in relationship to them, or known to them thru others. Their intercession was in Kingdom order: God was connecting and covering all the joints and parts of the body in prayer. That is God’s Order. God works thru relationship: He saves that way, and He builds His Church and Kingdom that way, relationally.

Sure they prayed for civil authorities so that we can live peaceably (1 Tim. 2:1-2) and Paul interceded for his brothers in the flesh the Jewish people (Rom.10:1) but the predominant aspect of their intercession is that it was for specific believers by name. That was the fruit of the love of God.

But these days we have intercession movements which have very little in common with the way that Paul and friends interceded for their brethren. These days it is all grandiose ideas about taking over the world and binding the devil over the world, and transforming society thru prayer, but the early church did not pray that way. Even the Lord Jesus said that He didn’t pray for the world, but for those whom the Father had given Him (John 17:9).

So many times intercession is used as an escape from reality, from being committed to real brothers and sisters, from real relationship and laying down your life praying for them. Many people are afraid of such real relationships, and even don’t care much for it, they have more “important” things to do like saving the world from destruction, and the devil just laughs at them.

Consider Paul’s ministry of intercession:

Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? Now God himself even our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 1Thess. 3:10-11

Or the intercession of Epaphras:

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him witness, that he has a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis.
Col. 4:12-13

They did not spend their time interceding for the world or for nations or even cities; they spent their time interceding for the people whom God had called out of the world and into the Body of Christ.

We MUST NOT abrogate or neglect our responsibility to pray for the brethren by going off and chasing the wind on a wild goose trail that leads nowhere, like Don Quixote chasing the windmills, for such is a delusion: it gives people the idea they are engaged in such crucial, vital work, and it leads to grandiose ideas about their own importance and to delusions of grandeur, feeding spiritual pride: they feel they are “special warriors” who are taking down powers and principalities over nations and cities, but those spirits just laugh at them. Even if you could cast the devil out of New York he would just go down to the next city and cause havoc there. It’s a joke, but no one is laughing.

So what we see transpiring here in the spiritual realm is that some of the very people who think they are waging spiritual war against satan are themselves the victims of his subtlety and he has rendered them ineffective by giving them a distraction, a decoy, a substitute, to keep them from the real work of the Kingdom and the edifying of the Body of Christ, and from maturing into the image of Christ.

The principle here is DISTRACTION: If the enemy can’t get a person into full blown sin then he tries to distract them with fruitless activities which have the appearance that they are “spiritual” and effective but they are simply a waste of time. He disarms the Church by distracting the Church.

3 Responses to “Paul and friends: Intercessors”

  1. among the forgotten Says:

    I enjoyed this post quite a bit. It is much harder as you say to involve ourselves in the intimate details of others lives and this will no doubt be costly. We’d all like to think we’re on the cutting edge but in reality we’re just simple people proclaiming a simple message. For most these days that’s just not good enough- they have to have everything so grandiose and exciting etc- the bigger the better.
    I know who my real friends are these days- those who pray for me or allow me to pray for them. I surely can’t pray about what what I don’t know any more than I can about who I don’t know- did I say that last line backwards?

  2. ian vincent Says:

    Good point brother. I’m also seeing and experiencing more and more these days the effectual-ness of the prayers of the brethren.

    Re: “That is God’s Order. God works thru relationship: He saves that way, and He builds His Church and Kingdom that way, relationally.”

    Salvation is a relationship to Jesus Christ. True Church is a set of relationships with those who belong to Christ. Therefore God builds His Church/Kingdom thru relationships. When you intercede relationally THEN you are participating in what Jesus is building.

    But when a person has sin issues, heart issues, selfishness issues, the last thing they want is authentic relationships/fellowship, and they may turn to escapist forms of “spiritual” activity to fill the void. If Christians cannot see the example Paul and friends set of true intercession then they won’t listen to us either.

  3. Cheryl Says:

    Amen Brother. There is so much biblical truth in what you have summarized here. For example…even the way I was saved. I went to a Billy Graham sponsored event as a teenager, and was swept up in the emotion of the moment, and although a seed was planted…I went on my merry sinful way. It was my own sister who preached to me and led by example that got me thinking . She and her Christian friends brought me food when I and my children were hungry. They consistently prayed for me and their prayers were answered.That led me to Christ.

    It was a long hard road to actually believing that “the church” was not a building but a real living “body” of believers. A long road to realizing that not everything that is introduced to the body is a good thing. Many Christians swallow spiritual ideas that are as toxic and harmful to the body of Christ as alcoholic drunkenness and heroin use are to the human body. But they can’t give it up because they are addicted to the spiritual high and the false feeling of power.

    I used to pray that God would “bind the evil spirit of abortion” in my country and make it illegal. He never answered that prayer. But when I met a girl who was considering aborting her baby, and prayed with her and offered her practical support…she didn’t abort her baby. It was the relationship I forged with the young woman that changed her mind, not my prayers for the nation.

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