What is Christian Intercession? - Week of Prayer to Intercede

Daniel is a Good Example of God Hearing and Answering Intercessory Prayer

Christians around the world celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from January 18 to 25, 2009. One of the original founders of the annual week of prayer for Christian unity was Reverend Paul Wattson. He wrote, “Prayer, in its energy and power, may be likened to that invisible something in the material world which we call electricity; like the wind, we see its visible effects but the secret of its tremendous influence cannot be fathomed.”

Among the great directives to Christian leadership is the appeal made in 1 Timothy 2:1-4. “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Four kinds of prayer are mentioned: supplications are requests for the fulfillment of specific needs; prayers are worshipful, conversational prayer emphasizing complete dependence on God; the intercessions are petitions concerning others and on their behalf; and giving of thanks is self-explanatory. These prayers made by Christian leaders are to be made for all, but specifically men and women in positions of governing authority. The purpose given is two-fold: that God's people may live tranquil and quiet lives, free to worship God and live for Him. Doing this is good and pleasing to God, Whose will is that all people are made whole through Jesus Christ's saving works, and that they come to an accurate knowledge of the truth of God's Word. These are certainly excellent and righteous reasons to pray. It is clearly God's will, and it pleases Him. But it is also effectual, in that it actually activates and energizes spiritual power to go to work on and in the hearts of people. As Wattson said, “the secret of its tremendous influence cannot be fathomed.”

Daniel was a young man when he was taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. He was recognized among other outstanding Israelites because he was “good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand.” (Daniel 1:4) He was assigned within the king's palace and taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans. Daniel never compromised in his worship of the one true Lord God, and although there were conspiracies against Daniel, in the end he was victorious. Chapter 9 records an exemplary prayer of Daniel, excerpted here.

“Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, 'Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.'” (Daniel 9:3-5,17,19)

While Daniel was speaking, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him specific revelation to answer his prayer. Note that Daniel approached God with humility, with worshipfulness, and wasn't praying for his own personal needs, but was confessing the sins of his people, and was interceding and supplicating for restoration and unity for all of God's people.

God assigned Gabriel to reveal His Word to Daniel, but today the Holy Spirit dwells with God's people. The Spirit of Truth has come, and “whatever He hears He will speak and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13) God shows no partiality. He can hear and answer prayers just as powerfully today as He did for His people in the Bible times. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14,15)

It is also important to notice is that Daniel didn't have to wait long to get his prayers heard or answered. Gabriel was dispatched immediately with God's Word to Daniel. The writer of Psalm 66:19, 20 wrote, “But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me!â&#&#€;;&#&#�;;” God hears and delights in answering the prayers of His people.

Written by: Pete Miller




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