question is really a philosophical one. It is
rooted in logic and is attempting to make sense out of the
relationship between effective prayer and justice/fairness
in the lives of those for whom we pray. I do not believe
that philosophy or logic can provide a sound basis to answer
this question. However, as a person of faith, I do
believe that a biblical/theological response is fully
following are a few points based in scripture that provide a
sound basis for answering the question:
Intercession is often associated with prayer, but prayer is
only one form of intercession. Merriam Webster's
Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition) defines intercede as
"to intervene between parties with a view to
MEDIATE." Jesus interceded for all of fallen
humanity when he died on the cross for us. The
Bible says, "For he bore the sin of many, and made
intercession for the transgressors." (See Isaiah
53:12). Now, if Jesus had not "made
intercession" for us, we would be eternally lost and
cut off from God.
does justice and fairness fit into this picture? If
God gave us what we deserve, we would be eternally
separated from Him. That would be
fair. But, because of the intercession of
Jesus, we are forgiven our sins and reconciled to God.
is an insight here into biblical prayer. Intercession
is a means by which to stand between God and another person
and appeal to God to withhold what is just or fair and
to give mercy and grace for Jesus' sake.
As Christians, we are called to represent Jesus in the earth
by partnering with him in the ministry of intercession. We
are referred to in 1 Peter 2:9 as "a royal
priesthood." Royal means we have
regal authority since we reign in life through Christ.
Priesthood means we are intercessors who
stand between God and others.
reason we call this website "Advocates In Prayer"
is because we come to God on behalf of others as
Intercessors/Advocates -- defense attorneys, if you
will -- saying, "God, I know this person may not
deserve your blessing. None of us do. But, I
remind you that Jesus bore our punishment at the cross to
forgive us, deliver us, reconcile us, and bring us into a
life of favor and blessing. So, for Jesus' sake
(representing Jesus), I ask for your mercy for this person,
and I pray that you will meet their need for your names'
sake, to uphold your honor."
an attorney calls the judge "Your Honor."
When we ask God to meet someone's need based on the atoning
work of Christ for that person, we are appealing to uphold
God's honor in that person's life. Our prayers turn
the judgment seat into a mercy seat. Is this fair?
No, what's fair is that everyone get what they deserve.
Prayer appeals for God's mercy, not for justice. Yet,
because of what Jesus did in taking our punishment, God is
"just and the one who justifies those who have faith in
Jesus." (See Romans 3:26.)
The Bible teaches that if God cannot find a person to
intercede for others -- calling upon Him to be merciful
to them -- then He has no choice but do deal justly with
them and punish them for their sins. Consider this
passage from Ezekiel:
looked for a man among them who would build up the wall
and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I
would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So
I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my
fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all that they
have done, declares the sovereign LORD."
is a clear example of where God wanted someone to pray for
His people Israel, pleading with Him on behalf of His
covenant to show them mercy. However, since there was
no intercessor, no advocate, no defense attorney to turn the
judgment seat into a mercy seat, God had to bring
judgment to give the people what they deserved. If
this seems to paint a bad picture of God, consider the fact
that God's plan was to come Himself in the person of Jesus
and pay the penalty for our sins so that He could remain
just and still be merciful to us.
Consider Exodus 17:8-16. This passage speaks volumes
about the relationship between intercession and the
protection, blessing, and triumph of those receiving prayer. When Joshua led the armies of Israel into the
Valley of Rephidim to fight against the Amalekites, Moses
went up on a mountain to intercede before God on behalf of
Joshua and the armies of Israel. When Moses' arms were
extended to heaven in intercession, Joshua and Israel
prevailed in the battle. When Moses' arms got heavy and
he let them down, the Amalekites prevailed. So, Aaron
and Hur went up the mountain and stood on opposite sides of
Moses to help support his arms so that he held them up till
evening. Thus the Israelites won the battle.
and his troops could not pray and fight at the same time.
They needed Moses to intercede for them. This is a
perfect Old Testament illustration of the high premium that
God puts on intercession.
of these insights and illustrations from scripture drive
home a very important insight into prayer: Much
good will come to the lives of others because we pray that
would not come to them if we did not pray.
Christian has a covenant relationship with God through Jesus
Christ. God will hear and answer their prayers when
they are prayed in line with God's will and offered in
simple childlike faith. If a believer is negligent in
his prayer life, God will often inspire and honor the
prayers of others to make the way for Him to impart the
necessary grace to minister to the needs of the one on the
receiving end of prayer.
is a wonderful Christian group called Heirloom that has a
remarkable song about this aspect of prayer. The song
is called "Prayer Warrior." It's about a
woman who worked a regular 9 to 5 job. But, in her
free time, she was a prayer warrior. Consider these
lines from the song:
we'll never know of all the good she's brought us;
never know the evil we've been spared.
nights she's crashed through Satan's strongholds,
heaven with her prayers.
a prayer warrior, down on her knees,
with powers and principalities,
in the gap for others,
her sisters and her brothers,
heaven with her heart.
this song implies, prayer is warfare. In real warfare,
your friend's life might be spared because you stood in the
gap for him and warded off the Enemy when your
friend was weak, exhausted, or just plain negligent.
It's no different in spiritual warfare. Jesus said
"watch and pray." We're to be alert when we
pray in order to recognize and thwart demonic devices and/or
strongholds that are set against another person.
is not about bringing justice, but about appealing for mercy. We are
Advocates In Prayer, and an Advocate is never a prosecuting
attorney but always a defense attorney. As we
intercede for others based on the New Covenant sealed in the
blood of Jesus Christ, our Intercessor/Advocate in heaven,
our prayers turn the judgment seat into a
mercy seat in behalf of those for whom we pray. Our
prayers are God's mercy extended.