“So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breast piece of judgment on his heart when he goes in to the holy place to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord.” -Exodus 28:29
I love this picture. So this whole chapter is talking about the priest garments. So Aaron is the priest and going into the most holy place on behalf of the people, and part of the picture here, much of the picture here, revolves around the priest’s role as intercessor, as the priest who goes before God on behalf of the people and represents God to the people. So this picture of intercessor, a go between, and here in verse 29, so now let me read it again, “Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breast piece of judgment on his heart when he goes into the holy place to bring them to regular remembrance before the Lord.”
Intercessory prayer is an act of coming to God on behalf of others.
The whole picture of an intercessor is to bring people before the Lord. When we think about intercessory prayer, what are we praying for? We’re praying on behalf of others. We are bringing others before God, laying their lives before God, laying these people’s situation before God, and saying, “God, please help this person in that way. God, please comfort this person in that way. God, please heal this person. God, please strengthen this person. God, please embolden this person. God, please,” and on and on and on and on. We’re praying on behalf of others, and this is such an important role. So one ultimately that Jesus plays for us. Jesus is our intercessor. He is ultimately the one that goes to God the Father on our behalf, that provides the sacrifice to cover for our sins. We’ve prayed through that and we will continually pray. We’ll continually praise Jesus for that for all of eternity.
And at the same time, Hebrews says Jesus lives to intercede for us, day in and day out to provide for what we need to intercede before the Father on our behalf. When we think about Romans chapter eight, so not just God the Son, Jesus, but God the Spirit. The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don’t always know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will. So we have this picture of intercession going on for us all the time, and then you and I have been called to intercede for others, obviously, in a way that is different from Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but that is modeled after, empowered by their intercession.
And what you and I do is we have the privilege of coming before God and interceding for people in need in so many different ways, with so many different needs. So part of me right now wants to just pause in the middle of this prayer podcast episode and just keep it silent, and for you just to intercede for people’s needs. But I’m going to pray and then I want to encourage you, so this podcast episode will stop, but don’t stop praying. I just want to invite you to press in to some concentrated time in intercession right now for people who are in need around you. So let me get us started and then I just want to invite you to continue praying. If you’re listening to this alone, just continue praying. If you’re listening to this with somebody else, don’t just stop when the podcast episode is over. Just one of you start to pray, intercede for someone in need.
Maybe even for that other person you’re with or other people you’re with, or maybe somebody totally different who’s far from where you are. Just let the spirit of God lead you into a time of intercession. God, we praise you for this privilege. Jesus, we praise you for being our intercessor. I praise you, Holy Spirit, for interceding for us with groans that words can’t even express. We praise you for your love for us, for living to intercede for us, Lord Jesus. And so we pray that you’d help us to be faithful intercessors, to pray for those in need around us, to bring them before you, people who don’t know you, to faithfully intercede for their salvation. For people in our lives, our families, the places where we work, for people around the world, God, we intercede today for the Tai Dam people of Vietnam, almost a million of them hardly any followers of Jesus. God, we lay the Tai Dam people before you, and we ask, O God, for your salvation, your glory be made known among them.
We ask, please save them. They need the Gospel. Please send laborers to them. So, God, we intercede for people who don’t know you. We intercede for your church, for brothers and sisters in Christ who are going through all kinds of different things. Some in need of healing, need of comfort, need of strength, need of encouragement. God, we intercede for physical needs, for spiritual needs, for emotional needs. God, we intercede for cities. Pray for the city that I live in, for the mercy and grace that is found in the Gospel be made known in cities and communities and countries. God, help us to be faithful intercessors. Teach us to be faithful intercessors. Even right now, help us to press in, and we just pray that you would lead us in the next few minutes, however long, that you would lead us to intercede for others and you would hear our prayers for them and you would answer. O God, we pray. We bring them before you now in intercession.