Christ Our Teacher, Our Intercessor
Christ Our Teacher
Christ was what He taught. All His teaching was the revelation of how He lived, and of the life He was to live in us. Let us believe very confidently: all He was in prayer, and all He taught, He Himself will give. He came to fulfill the law; much more will He fulfill the Gospel in all He taught us, as to what to pray, and how.
What to pray. It has sometimes been said that direct petitions, as compared with the exercise of fellowship with God, are but a subordinate part of prayer, and that "in the prayer of those who pray best and most, [petitions] occupy but an inconsiderable place." If we carefully study all that our Lord spoke of prayer, we shall see that this is not His teaching. In the Lord’s Prayer, in the parables on prayer, in the illustration of a child asking bread, of our seeking and knocking, in the central thought of the prayer of faith – everywhere our Lord urges and encourages us to offer definite petitions, and to expect definite answers. It is only because we have too much confined prayer to our own needs, that it has been thought needful to free it from the appearance of selfishness by giving the petitions a subordinate place.
In intercession is our only real power to bless men. There can be no truer fellowship with God than these definite petitions and their answers, by which we become the channel of His grace and life to men. Then our fellowship with the Father is even such as the Son has in His intercession.
Pray in faith. Our Lord taught us to pray in secret, in simplicity, with the eye on God alone, in humility, in the spirit of forgiving love. But the chief truth He reiterated was ever this: to pray in faith. And He defined that faith not only as a trust in God’s goodness or power, but as the definite assurance that we have received the very thing we ask.
Then, in view of the delay in the answer, He insisted on the perseverance and urgency. We must be followers of those "who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Heb. 6:12) – the faith that accepts the promise, and knows it has what it has asked – and the patience that obtains the promise and inherits the blessing. We shall then understand why God who promises to avenge His elect speedily (Luke 18:8), bears with them in seeming delay. It is that their faith may be purified from all that is of the flesh, and tested and strengthened to become that spiritual power that can do all things – can even cast mountains into the heart of the sea (Mark 11:23).
Christ Our Intercessor
On the throne of God, Christ’s highest fellowship with the Father, and His partnership in His rule of the world, is in intercession. Every blessing that comes down to us from above bears upon it the stamp from God through Christ’s intercession. When He gave Himself a sacrifice to God for men, He proved that His whole heart had the one object: the glory of God, in the salvation of men. In His intercession this great purpose is realized: He glorifies the Father by asking and receiving all from Him; He saved men by bestowing what He has obtained from the Father. Christ’s intercession is the Father’s glory, His own glory, our glory.
Now this Christ, the Intercessor, is our life; He is our Head, and we are His body; His Spirit and life breathe in us. As in heaven so on earth, intercession is God’s chosen, God’s only channel of blessing.
The glory of it. By intercession, beyond anything, we glorify God. By it we glorify Christ. By it we bring blessing to the Church and the world. By it we obtain our highest nobility – the Godlike power of saving men.
The way to it. Paul writes: "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself…a sacrifice to God for us" (Eph. 5:2). If we live as Christ lived, we will as He did, give ourselves for our whole life to God to be used by Him for men. When once we have given ourselves to no more seek anything for ourselves but for men, when we have given ourselves to God for Him to use us and to impart to us what we can bestow on others, intercession will become to us as it is in Christ in heaven, the great work of our life.
If ever the thought comes that the call is too high or the work too great, the faith in Christ, the Interceding Christ who lives in us, will give us the victory. We will listen to Him who said, "The works that I do, shall [ye] do also; and greater works…shall [ye] do" (John 14:12). We shall remember that we are not under the law with its impotence, but under grace with its omnipotence, working all in us. We shall claim afresh the fullness of God’s Spirit as His sufficient provision for our need, and count Him to be in us the Spirit of Intercession, who makes us one with Christ in His interests.
We shall no longer try to work for God, and ask Him to follow it with His blessing. We shall do what the friend at midnight did, what Christ did on earth and ever does in heaven – we shall first get from God and then turn to men to give what He gave us. As with Christ, we shall make our chief work to receive from the Father. Our giving to men will then be in power.
Abridged from The Ministry Of Intercession by Andrew Murray.