Yeshua (Jesus) had a full prayer life and often went out to a solitary place to pray all night (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12). Prayer petitions God, but intercession is different. When Yeshua laid down His life for us on the cross, He interceded on our behalf to the Father that sin would be removed from humanity. According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, to intercede means “to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences.” It is a mediation or an interposing of oneself to separate the parties so they have an ability to reconcile their differences. This is why the Scriptures call Yeshua “the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrew 12:24). [i]
Prayer can be a simple request, “God, bless this person” or “impart that experience to me.” However, intercession is fundamentally different. Yeshua interceded for us on the cross when He put Himself between God and humanity. He mediated with the Father for us until a reconciliation occurred, and this is the ministry that the Body of Christ must have now for the world. When Yeshua interceded for us, He gave us the ministry of reconciliation that can only be accomplished through intercession (2 Corinthians 5:18). Christ came to save the world, not to judge it (John 12:47). That is why we are not to judge others; you cannot judge someone and intercede for them at the same time.
Powered by the love of God, our intercession must cry for mercy to triumph over judgment (James 2:13). One of the clearest scriptural examples of intercession is when Moses stood between God and the Israelites. After they worshiped the golden calf in the wilderness, the anger of the LORD burned against them. God was ready to destroy them all and make a great nation out of Moses. But notice the interplay between God and Moses as you read Exodus 32 and 33. Moses is bold to stand before the LORD, between God and all of Israel. God tries to disown this idolatrous people that Moses brought up out of Egypt. But Moses interceded and said, “If You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” (Exodus 32:32). Moses refused to take a personal deliverance or blessing while letting God destroy His people. He did not pray for Israel; he interceded.
During times of intercession, it is important to remind God of His Word. Moses laid his eternity on the line and reminded God of His covenant promises with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He stepped in between God and Israel and refused to allow God to do anything contrary to His nature or His Word. As a result, God agreed not to destroy the people, but He still refused to go into Canaan with them. Moses interceded a second time, saying, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Moses understood God’s integrity to His Word, so God agreed to go with them and give them rest. Likewise, Paul was ready to lay down his life and eternal salvation in order to see his kinsmen saved (Romans 9:1-5). I know we will see the miraculous salvation of the Jewish people because God is going to honor the intercession of Moses, Paul, and Yeshua.
Christ interceded for us on the cross by putting Himself between us and God. He laid down His life and gave up everything. Likewise, the Body of Christ must become intercessors and intercede for the nations, including the seed of Abraham. Yeshua commissioned us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), but the only way we will do that is through intercession that brings reconciliation. Our cry must be that mercy triumphs over judgment.
For Further Study
1 John 3:14-19
[i] All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).