Monthly Archives: March 2019

The God Who Prays

Here’s a thought: “Today, Jesus prays for you!” Wait a minute, what?
Yes, today, Jesus prays for you! It is true. Hebrews 7:25 says, “He (Jesus) always lives to make intercession for us.”

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25

So seriously, Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords is praying for you. Yes, the same Jesus, who is described in Phil. 2:9-10 as “…being exalted on high by God so that at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow, and every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord…,” is interceding to the Father for you and me.

To make it even more incredible, Jesus’ intercession on our behalf seems to be part of His saving work on our behalf. Heb. 7:25 says, “He is able to save to the uttermost (completely; to the final end/ to the uttermost limit) those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us.”

Intercessor
Intercession is an act of love. It is, in a sense, an act of humility. Intercession can involve meeting with another person for the explicit purpose of a conversation which can consist of consultation and or supplication on behalf of another.

Actually, intercession involves words like: plead, beseech, entreat, implore and ask. The word intercession as used in scripture generally means to pray to God; to entreat God; to beseech God on behalf of another person.

Moses is an example of someone who interceded on behalf of others. Exodus 32:31-32 is an example of bold yet humble prayer of intercession.

So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” Exodus 32:31-32

Hebrews 7:25 provides this picture of Jesus interceding for us. Jesus is beside the throne of God and is pleading with the Father on our behalf. It seems this is a continual occurrence, as “He always lives to make intercession for us.”

Romans 8:34 repeats this very same truth, describing a similar scene: “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Intercession as Advocacy
The scriptures reveal that Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. 1 John 2:1-2 gives us a better understanding of Jesus intercessory work.

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

The term advocate adds to our understanding of intercessor.  In general, advocate means help, console, and intercede. More precisely in this verse the term advocate is used in a legal sense. It was used to indicate one who pleads a cause before a judge. Our equivalent today might be a “defense attorney.”

A defense attorney comes alongside a person to plead their cause, to intercede on their behalf before a judge.  Jesus is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God presenting evidence to God on my behalf. Again, we see that Jesus’ advocacy is not a one time thing, but rather it is a continuous process. The word “have” in the phrase “we have an advocate with the Father” is a present tense indicating a continuous action!

Intercession Brings Hope
Jesus’ intercession, advocacy or prayers on our behalf are based on His atoning work on the cross (1 John 2:2), and on His identity as the eternal High Priest (Hebrews 7:23-27).

What exactly is Jesus saying to the Father when He intercedes?  Is He providing His evidence on our side when Satan comes to accuse us? Is He praying a prayer for unity as He prayed in John 17? Is He praying for us to be daily sustained by the hand of God? I do not know, but I know it is revealed in the New Testament scriptures three times that Jesus intercedes and prays for us.

This truth brings me hope. It gives me hope for all those impossible situations I have in my life. It gives me hope for those I love who seem to be so far away from God. It gives me hope that I am not in this alone, and that there is a spiritual power greater than me involved in my life. It gives me hope that no matter how I have messed up – Jesus is speaking on my behalf before the throne of God.

You have heard the saying that it is good to have friends in high places. As believers in God and Jesus, we have a Friend in high places – Jesus. In fact, He is seated at the right hand of God. Let the truth of Jesus, who He is and what He has done and continues to do for us, give you hope.

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“For if, while we were God’s enemies,
we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,
how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so,
but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom
we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:10-11

The God Who Groans for You

What an encouraging and supportive truth to know that the Spirit of God prays for us. That thought, in and of itself, encourages my soul and gives me hope. No matter what burden I am carrying, or agonizing problem I am facing, the Spirit of God intercedes on my behalf.

Romans 8:26 reveals this truth;
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” 

Say What?!
This is a wondrous truth. Just what is the Spirit doing? One would think that the Spirit might reveal to us what to pray for, or help us get a better grasp on what is happening and why.

However, the breath taking truth is “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” The Spirit of God constantly intercedes for us even in times when we are not desperately seeking God, or thinking we need help.

Groanings from the Gut of God
The Spirit does help us pray in a more effective way, but that is not what this verse is saying. The impact of this truth is this: “the Spirit of God intercedes for us.” Let that sink into your mind and heart. It is a powerful truth.

“To Intercede” means to petition on behalf of another.  The term in the original language implies a meeting with another so as to converse on behalf of a person. So the Spirit meets with God to have a personal conversation with Him about you or me.

The Spirit seeks the presence and hearing of God on our behalf, unsolicited by us. It is a part of His heart of love and care for us.

Romans 8:26 states that the Spirit intercedes in a unique way, “with groanings too deep for words,” so that the Spirit gives voice to our inarticulate thoughts and feelings.

The Spirit groans on our behalf. “Groan in this passage means: groan, deep sigh; internal unexpressed feelings; powerful gut wrenching sighs exerted as from a pressure within similar to labor pains. These guttural groans come from a pressure from within, the pressure of the Spirit’s love for us and His desire to help us in our weakness.

The Spirit of God knows our minds, our hearts, our feelings completely, and He knows the mind and the will of God, so He is able to expertly translate our needs to God.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

Groans Give Hope
I always associated groaning with deep pain, frustration, or longing. These groans from the Spirit come from the Spirit feeling pain on our behalf and yearning for our good.

This truth increases my hope, my faith and gives me a sense of security. I am not in this alone. No matter how low I feel or how complex my circumstances, the Spirit are constantly interceding on my behalf. He groans for me when I am thinking of this truth and when I am not.

His continual groaning on my behalf is not dependent on my performance just on my connection with God through Jesus. This is a powerful thought.

What does this mean to you?
I encourage you to meditate on this passage and think about how you have seen the Spirit work on your behalf in the past, and how does the truth of Romans 8:26 encourage your faith and hope for the future?

A Dare!

Many years of my life were spent working in public schools as a teacher and evaluation team leader.  I especially treasured the days that I taught 3rd grade in Salisbury, Maryland. Each day I woke up eager to be in school. I loved working with these children, beautiful human beings, precious, full of life, sparkle, intelligence  and with a genuine joy for life. They were ever eager to learn. They refreshed my soul. I learned more from them than I think I taught them, and as I reflect back on those days I am still learning.

God, Our Teacher
As people who claim to believe in God, trust is a hallmark of our relationship with God. We communicate our love for Him and our need for Him, by asking for His help, and by asking Him to teach us what we need to know.

I often call out to God to strengthen me or deliver me from a particular difficulty, but, how often do I call out, yes, even “cry out” for God to teach me of Him, and to teach me the strength, character and spiritual skills I need to live in this world.

What about you, when was the last time you asked God to teach you anything?

Humble Hearts Ask
Teach Me about You, God
In Exodus 33: 13, Moses, a most humble man, asks God to teach him more about God!
“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” Ex. 33:13

Moses had a close relationship with God. He personally met with and communed with God. God gave Moses the words of the law and let Moses into His presence, so much so that Moses’ face radiated the light of the glory of God after their meetings.

One would think Moses would be content, that he would feel what he had was enough. Yet, Moses hungered to know God more, so that he could find favor with God, be in His grace and please God.

David, who the scripture describes as a man after God’s own heart, asks God to teach him God’s ways. David wants to know truths about God, His character and His will (way), so that David will apply God’s truth to his life, and by so doing will fear God and honor Him.

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.Ps. 86:11

Teach Me to Do Your Will, God
In Psalm 143:10, David asks God to teach him about God’s will and how to do God’s will. David also asks to learn how to be led by God’s Spirit.
Teach me to do your will, for You are my God! Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”

This is a prayer I need to pray. I read the scriptures a lot, but just because I read the scriptures and even agree with them does not mean I am doing the will of God. Teach us to do your will God.

Teach Me to be Led by Your Spirit
In this same passage Ps. 143:10, David is asking God to teach Him to follow the lead of God’s Spirit. In this day and age when many are talking about the Spirit of God and purporting all manner of ideas about what the Spirit does and does not do, we can become confused. We should not get discouraged, but instead, like David, ask God to teach us how to walk according to God’s Spirit. God will teach us.

Teach Me Good Judgment
In Psalm 119, the psalmist asks God to teach him knowledge and good judgment. Take note that this request comes from faith. God has proven to the psalmist that His commands are reliable guides in life. The psalmist trusts God, so he seeks to know more about God, the ways of God and how he, personally, can exercise good judgment.

Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.”  Psalm 119:66

I have often relied on my own judgement and wisdom, and made unwise choices that have carried consequences to me and others.  God is all wise. He is filled with good will towards me. Why would I not ask God to teach me to have discernment and make good decisions?

Teach Me Integrity in My Inmost Being
David in Psalm 51:6 after an unwise decision that lead David to sin grievously against God, in repentance David asks God to teach him wisdom down deep in his soul.

Indeed,You are pleased with truth in the inner person, and you will teach me wisdom in my innermost parts.” Psalm 51:6

David is asking God to teach him the truths of God down deep in his soul. David is asking God to teach him to have a pure heart, so that in the future it will bring out words, thoughts and actions that will honor God.

The Truth and A Challenge
I have wrestled often with my faith and my character. I have come to know that I cannot change myself. I need God to change me. I need to be humble and ask God to teach me. Here are some of the things I am asking God to teach me:

  • “Teach me Oh God, to fear You.” What does that look like for me in the 21st century and on a daily basis?
  • “Teach me Oh, God, to be humble before God and man.”
  • “Teach me Oh, God, to seek your approval and not man’s.” What does that look like on a day to day basis, especially as I attempt to serve God and others?
  • “Teach me Oh, God, to love You with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength.” Just because I know this command and agree with it does not mean I know how to do this in all the areas of my life.
  • “Teach me Oh. Go, how to have a pure heart, how to be honest and not hypocritical.”

How about you? Has God been showing you something(s) in your life that you need to learn, maybe about: traits in your character, attitudes in your relationships, and /or weaknesses in your faith and relationship with God?

Take some time to reflect on your relationship with God. Ask God to show you your need, and  then ask God to teach you about these things. Go ahead, I dare you! Ask God to teach you! You might be surprised at how God answers.