Scripture tells us that when we say prayers of intercession, we are building bridges between God and the people for whom we pray.
Remember, this isn’t just a prayer, it’s a deliberate action. It isn’t just saying words, it’s a construction project. In 1 Timothy 2:1–2, Paul writes:
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Because Jesus has done the work of intercession and still intercedes for us with the Father, and because the Holy Spirit intercedes for us as well, helping us unburden ourselves, we can now intercede for others. The Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit have built bridges to God that we may cross over, so that we, too, can be in that bridge-building business. We have the incredible privilege of building a span from heaven to earth, from God to the person for whom we are praying.
Let’s imagine you have a twenty-year-old son named Josh who hasn’t been walking with the Lord. You’re concerned that he’s being drawn into the wrong crowd and straying into some dark areas, and you want to intercede for him.
Jesus does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves. — Romans 8:27 MSG
So you come to God with this crushing weight on your heart because you love Josh, because you’re deeply concerned for him and some of the choices he’s been making, because you feel helpless to change his course. What do you do? How do you intercede for him?
First, you take hold of God.
When the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him how to pray, He told them, essentially,
The first thing you do is to honor God. You say, Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (Matthew 6:9)
Your version might be something like this:
“Father, I thank You that You made a bridge for me. I thank You for saving me by grace through faith, through the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank You, God, that You are an all-knowing, all-powerful God. You are a loving God and a merciful God, and I praise You for Your greatness… for Your wisdom… for Your kindness to me…”
You take hold of God by acknowledging who He is and by thanking Him and praising Him for all He has done.
Second, you take hold of Josh.
You say, “Lord, You know the weight on my heart today. I’m bringing Josh to You right now. I ask You to protect him. I ask You, dear Father, to take away all the evil influences of friends around him who are trying to lead him in a wrong direction. I ask You, Lord, even to replace those friends with other friends who know You and love You and will bring Josh to You. You know this deep concern on my heart, Lord, I can’t hide it from You. So I bring it to You, in Jesus’ name.”
Do you see how that works?
You take hold of God in one hand and take hold of Josh in the other hand, and you become a bridge in between them. You stand in the gap for your son. You pray, “God, I’m bringing Josh to You, and I’m asking for a miracle in his life. I’m asking that the Holy Spirit will go to Josh and convict him of the way he has been living. I know that this is Your will, Father, and that right now I am praying in Your will.”
So you pray for Josh, and don’t give up on him, no matter what. You continue to pray until there is an intersection between Josh and God, until Josh finally runs into God’s arms and God’s way becomes his way.
Jesus Himself said it: “Pray always, and don’t give up.”
The reason any of us can do this — is because Jesus has first made a bridge for us and an intersection for us.
You and I can’t begin to imagine what that cost Him.
Not long ago I read a story in a history book. After World War I, the United States government allocated funds to help care for the orphans in Europe. At one of the orphanages, an emaciated man brought in a very thin little girl. He said, “I would like for you to take care of my little girl, please.”
They asked him if the girl was his daughter, and he said yes. “We’re so sorry,” they told him, “but our rules and policies are such that we can’t take in any children who have a living parent.”
“But I was in prison camps during the war,” he protested. “And now I’m too sick to work. Her mother’s gone. She will die if you don’t take care of her!”
The officials felt compassion for the distressed man but told him their hands were tied. There was nothing they could do.
Finally the man said, “Do you mean to tell me that if I were dead, you would take care of my little girl, and she could have food and clothes and a home?”
“Yes,” they replied.
With that, the man picked up the little girl, hugged her and kissed her, and then put her hand in the hand of the man at the desk. “I will arrange it,” he said. He walked out of the orphanage and sacrificed his own life.
Why do I tell that story?
Only because it reminds me of another story.
Somewhere in eternity, the day came when Jesus said to the Father, “Do You mean that if I die, those people on earth can live and have a home with You forever?”
And the Father said, “Yes.”
With that, Jesus put our hands in the Father’s hand, walked out of Heaven, was born on earth, and died on the cross and paid for our sins. In so doing, He made a bridge for us so that we could have a relationship with a holy God.
If you have never done so, you need to walk across the bridge that Jesus provided for you at the cost of His own blood, His own life.
Then, remembering that Jesus built that bridge for you (and with the Spirit’s help), you can begin to intercede for others, so that their paths will intersect with the path of God and they will walk with Him forever.
Excerpted from Why Keep Praying When You Don’t See Results by Robert Morris, copyright Robert Morris. Robert Morris is the founding senior pastor of Gateway Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to more than 36,000 active members. He is featured on the weekly television program, The Blessed Life, and serves as Chairman of the Board of The King’s University. He is the bestselling author of eleven books including The Blessed Life, From Dream to Destiny, The God I Never Knew and The Blessed Church. Robert and his wife, Debbie, have been married 35 years and are blessed with one married daughter, two married sons and six grandchildren.