Love on its knees

July 2nd, 2014 · by Tom Stuart · Prayer, Uncategorized

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Most Christians would agree that demonstrating a self-sacrificial love for others is the essence of the gospel message and the highest form of obedience we can render to the New Commandment of Jesus.  Our common concept of expressing Christ’s love is typically associated with our feet (going), our hands (serving) and our mouths (proclaiming).  But how often do we associate His love expressed from our knees through praying?

We think of love, and rightly so, as an action or deed done specifically for the benefit of another. Jesus, our example, expressed His love throughout His earthly ministry for those He came to save. He went from village to village with His feet, He healed all who came to Him with His hands, He proclaimed the Gospel with His mouth and yes, right up to His arrest in the Garden He agonized in prayer upon His knees.

His love, referred to in the Greek as agape, is a sacrificial kind of love. It is a love that found its purest expression in Jesus laying down His life for the salvation of human kind. Our expressions of His love for others therefore will always extract a personal cost from us as well. Like all forms of agape love, the price of loving others from our knees in prayer demands a sacrifice of our time, our effort, our comfort, and personal preferences.

Such prayer, motivated by love, is what the Bible calls intercession. It can be said that intercession is agape love on its knees. It is a form of earnest prayer that is focused upon and offered on behalf of others. It is motivated by a selfless identification with the cares and concerns of others. An intercessor places him or herself in the shoes of another and stands in the gap between them and God pleading for mercy. An intercessor also takes a position as a hedge of protection guarding those for whom they are interceding from the attack of the enemy. (Ezekiel 22:29-30)

Throughout the Bible, the ground of authority from which intercession is made is rooted in one or more of three divine truths. It is based upon an appeal to the unchanging nature and character of God, His past merciful dealings with His creation, and/or the many promises of His coming kingdom and glory. Because the very idea of intercession originated in the heart of God, it is not something we can do in our own strength. On the contrary it requires a humble dependence upon Him, a stirring by His Spirit of our heart of compassion and a persistent faith to overcome every distraction and obstacle that would thwart our efforts.

Intercession is arguably the first and best thing we can do for someone. Consider this. Intercession is presently the primary ministry of Jesus as He is seated in heavenly places at the right hand of the Father. The Bible clearly states that since His resurrection and ascension He “always lives to make intercession.” (Hebrews 11:25) And here is the clincher, Paul the apostle tells us that we are seated with Him in the Spirit in that place of influence and authority and urged also like Christ, to “pray continually.” (Ephesians 2:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Sadly, the ministry of intercession is often misunderstood and regarded as something only a select few are called and equipped to do. As a result it is relegated in people’s thinking to the super spiritual, the prophetic types, the mission-minded, more women than men, or the shut-ins and the elderly who have nothing better to do. This is an all too persistent misbelief! Recently I was shocked to hear even a pastor excuse his own prayerlessness with the expressed assumption that intercession was something for the retirees to do because they had more time on their hands.

If however, intercession is as we have established, a practical expression of Jesus’ love for others, it is something everyone is expected to do, busy pastors included! It becomes the responsibility of every believer, irregardless of calling, gifting, gender or age. Everyone is “called” and “gifted” to love, none exempted. And what better way to love someone than from our knees in intercession?

How have your concepts or misconceptions about intercession affected you? What have you learned about intercession that has made a positive difference in your prayer life?

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2 Responses to “Love on its knees”

  1. steven Klassen July 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Time and cultural realities seem to be slowly disappearing before the throne.
    Those who experience the heavenly place shift within, find a peaceful place of rest where
    prayer and intercesson become even more than what we do, but Life itself.

    A continual dialogue with Father from morning to evening and even in our dream life.

    The nations you mentioned Tom, and the whole earth are being prepared in the spirit of Elijah, “Prepare ye the way”. It is not what it seems to mans reasoning, but an awakening to our call as priests forever in the eternal realm.

    The love of Father to all men on earth released through His priests in intercession. Good blog Tom!

  2. Amen and amen! It’s not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of the Lord that the kingdoms of this world will be become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ… Thanks for your insight!

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