THE MINISTRY OF INTERCESSION
"You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Intercession is a special kind of prayer. We intercede when we pray for one another, for our brothers and sisters in Christ; and the Bible is clear that we need to do just that. Praying for each other is not what Jesus was talking about in Matt. 5:43-44, however. In this verse Jesus says pray for those who aren’t your friends, who aren’t on your side, who would never ever pray for you, and would probably not pray at all. Pray for those who persecute you!
To our natural minds that doesn't sound right. Pray for the ungodly? Pray for the hateful?? Is there any biblical precedent for that kind of prayer? Consider:
Gen. 18:23-33 - Abraham interceded for the inhabitants of Sodom.
Num. 14:18-19 - Moses interceded for rebellious Israel in the wilderness.
1 Sam. 7:8-9 - Samuel interceded for faithless Israel when they feared the Philistines.
Job 42:7-9 - Job interceded for his friends.
Acts 7:59-60 - Steven interceded for those who were stoning him to death.
Rom. 10:1 - Paul interceded for Israel when they were rejecting both him and Christ.
An even greater example comes from the Lord Jesus Himself. Even from the cross He prayed for those who were putting Him to death, "Father, forgive them . . ." We must never forget that God poured out His mercy upon us and saved us when we were counted among His enemies. Rom. 5:10 says: “If, when 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!”
So Christian, pray for those who won't and can’t pray for themselves; never forgetting that our God is still a miracle-worker!
--- Pastor Keith Andrews