There are a few things in my life that I can point to that have had a profound effect on me…that have been used by the Lord to change me in radical and significant ways. The bible study I attend on Wednesday nights is one of those things. I started going about a year and a half ago…and I can say without hesitation that I would not be where I am in my walk, in my thinking, in my theology, in my prayer life, in my bible reading, or in my habits were it not for the teaching in this class and how the Lord has used it in me.
Every so often, our teacher says something that just lays me flat or causes me to get mentally stuck. I wind up pondering this one thought and miss large sections of the rest of the class. Last night was one of those nights.
For the past several weeks, he has been beating the drum of intercession. He opened up this strain of teaching and thought by saying something pretty radical: “God does nothing outside of an intercessor…outside of prayer.” One man in the group dared to question that statement…suggesting that creation was the one exception. Though I couldn’t think of the verse, I knew that wasn’t true…and our teacher led us to:
Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Hebrews 7:25 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
He explained that Jesus’ ministry is intercession…is now and was always. As the word says “all things were made through him”…through him as the word and through his intercession.
(he explained it far better than I just did…and I don’t have my notes handy...sorry)
Anyway…as he reminded us of this last night, I wrote “everything that happens in my life happens because of Jesus’ intercession!”
And there I stayed for most of the rest of the night…and into this morning.
I confess that I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about intercession until recently. And until last night, I didn't realize how much my thinking needed reforming in this area.
I guess it is sort of a residual catholic thing, but I always sort of saw Jesus' intercession as: I pray and he takes my petition to the Father. But the reality is , he is interceding for me before I am praying...when I am not praying...about things I haven't even thought to pray for yet. I pray or act ONLY because He has first interceded for me. Whew…taking that to a more specific and personal level…
This past year and all of the changes that have taken place in my heart, in my habits, in my mind…were birthed in prayer long before I took the first step towards it. He was praying for my freedom while I was still content to wallow in self-pity...while I got angry with Him for not making it all just vanish or giving me the life I wanted in spite of my sin...while I continued to walk in disobedience.
Still this morning, I can hardly think of it without either sitting in stunned silence or getting teary-eyed.
It really has radically changed the way I view prayer…and my Savior.
He is interceding for me…always (Heb 7:25). That is almost too much to comprehend. But at the same time…what a benefit! Knowing that the Lord is interceding on my behalf…that the unction I now have for obedience…the burden I feel for something…that convicting word I read the other day…all of that was brought into being through His intercession for me…and will be carried through by His intercession. How can I NOT step out? How can I NOT obey? How can I think I might fail? How can I think I have no choice but to give into temptation? And…how can I not join Him in intercession?