Day 5 I Timothy 2:1-6
When you hear the word intercession, what comes to mind? Do you think of praying for someone else? Does the Scripture come to mind that says that “the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:26b)? Maybe you remember the description of Jesus found in Hebrews 7:25 – “He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
In painting his portrait of prayer, Paul uses contrast between “petition,” which pictures an audience with the King, and “intercession.” The word we translate “intercession” comes from an interesting Greek verb. It means “to fall in with a person; to draw near so as to converse familiarly.”
Have you ever called someone on the phone and tried to disguise your voice? If the person on the other end of the line knew you well, they probably recognized your voice anyway. Maybe they said something like, “Come on, I know it’s you. Talk right.” I can imagine that is what God wants to say to us when we try to pray like someone else. Maybe you don’t feel you are very familiar with God, but He is more than familiar with you. He knows you intimately. He knows your heart and your voice. Remember, when you pray – even if you are being humble and respectful as in the presence of the King – God still wants you to be yourself.
Also, be sincere in what you say. As the old saying goes, “Say what you mean; mean what you say.” God knows you too well for you to fool Him, so why try? Familiarity with God makes the other aspects of intercession possible. Because God knows you so well and hopefully because you have gotten to know Him, you can (as we tend to use the word) intercede for others, putting yourself in their place before God (I Timothy 2:1-2). You can pray for the needs of others. You can speak to God on behalf of those who may not be able to speak for themselves. In fact, Paul has this aspect of intercession in mind as he tells Timothy to intercede for everyone including kings and rulers. Through his intimate relationship with the Savior, Timothy was to lift the needs and concerns of others to God.
Likewise, you and I can intercede for one another in prayer. We can intercede for our president and congressmen and others in positions of authority. We can intercede for rulers and people all around the world. We can draw near to God in a free and familiar fashion to share with Him the needs of others because of our relationship with Him. And when it is all said and done, we can definitely approach Him with the proper attitude of thanksgiving.
We can express our gratitude to the Lord when we pray. That is what thanksgiving is all about. We can express how we are thankful for the Lord. We are thankful for Who He is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do and not do. There is so much to be thankful for when we take the time to meditate on the Lord. We also can express to the Lord how we are thankful for others. A lot of times, while I am interceding for others in prayer, I also take time to thank the Lord for those I am praying for and asking Him to bless them. When we take the time to thank God for the people he has put in our lives, we tend to be encouraged. In fact, whenever we spend time in prayer, God tends to lift us up.
Consider the partial portrait of prayer Paul has laid out before us in I Timothy 2. There is prayer as petition or request as we come into the very throne room of Almighty God. There is prayer as a sacred time with God, bringing to Him personal needs no one else can meet. There is prayer as intercession, where we know Him and He knows us well enough that we can share anything with Him. We can stand up for others before the King and plead their case, seeking His mercy and help for them. And, there is prayer as thanksgiving for all of God’s blessings. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you and I are called to experience prayer in all of these ways. We are called to enter into prayer as a means of getting to know our Lord better and as a means of ministering to the needs of others.
However, before anyone can enter into prayer as described today, we must have prayed another specific prayer: the prayer of surrender. Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ? Is He truly the Lord of your life? I Corinthians 2:9 declares, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Offer Him your love today and you will discover blessings I can’t begin to describe.
“But, how do I do it?” There is no scripted prayer you need to say in order to surrender your life to Jesus Christ. You can put it in your own words – in your own voice. Let it be your prayer, a prayer from your heart as you offer yourself completely to the Lord.