What is Intercession?

B. Koene

In response to the question "what is intercession?" most everyone reading this will have some understanding of what is meant by intercession, and for most the word that will most closely be linked with intercession is prayer.

However, we'd like to make the statement that intercession has more to do with position  than it does with prayer. It may involve prayer or petition as an expression of intercession, but fundamentally, intercession is first of all about position.

The etymology of the term itself speaks of position, from Latin origins: intercedere, meaning inter: "between" and cedere: "go." In other words, to intercede means to take the position of "going between." The intercessor takes the position of standing between two opposing forces, e.g. between light and darkness, between despair and hope, between sickness and wholeness, between life and death, between chaos and order, etc. He stands "in the gap." 

I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it. (Ez. 22:30)

There are numerous examples throughout the scriptures of men and women taking the position of intercession on behalf of the land, or the nation, a city, or an individual. But, the ultimate example of intercession is Jesus Christ. In Isaiah 53 the prophet points to how Jesus would suffer and be "cut off from the land of the living and stricken for the transgression of his people." The Lord of the universe takes the position of a lamb led to the slaughter. Then at the end of that chapter we read, Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong...For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

In Philippians 2 we read how Jesus took the position of a servant and as an act of his intercession for transgressors he was "obedient to death, even death on a cross." Therefore God exalted him to the highest position and gave him the name above every other name. Then in Hebrews 7 we read how our Lord, from that highest position as our great High Priest, "always lives to intercede" for us. From the position of having all authority in heaven and on earth, he always lives to act as our advocate before the Father.

Intercession, then is taking our position, according to the authority we have as believers, in the places he assigns to us. From that position we express our intercession through various means such as prayers and petitions, praise and worship, with prophetic acts of intercession, or with language from the Spirit not expressible in natural language: "but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Rom. 8:26)

Levitical worshippers, who are called to a lifestyle of standing before God to minister to him, by their very acts of worship take the position of  intercessors. Through their worship, they "stand in the gap" between heaven and earth. Our worship opens the door to God’s presence. It opens heaven over the geographical areas and societal spheres that we are given responsibility for. 

All of worship is intercession. Worship does not just prepare the heart for intercession or open the way to effective prayer. Every expression of worship offered in spirit and in truth, brings the worshipper into a position of intercession. It is not accurate to describe some forms of worship as more "intercessory" than others, depending on what words are being used, or what style of worship is being employed.

Simply giving God the glory due his name, praising Him for the splendour of his holiness, and declaring "The Lord is good, and his love endures forever" is intercession, as, by the very act of worshipping him for who is, we release God’s grace and favour over the land.

Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever." 

As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (II Chron. 20:21-22) 

So worshipper rise up, take your position, and bless him with all your strength. Let all that is within us, bless his holy name. The Father is seeking true worshippers, who will worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23), and the world is crying out for our worship – to take our position as intercessors between heaven and earth. Our worship will open the gates of heaven over our land, over our communities, over our businesses, our families, our government, our cities, and over our nation.


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