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Dewiswch ddewis iaith
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Raising an Army of
Ordinary Intercessors (pt.3)

Owen Cottom

Let me ask you a question; what is Jesus’ full-time occupation?

Maybe your answer to that question is ‘Saviour’. That is hard to beat! He has been sent to deliver us from sin, satan and death through His death and resurrection, to bring us safely home into the kingdom of God (Acts 4:12, 1 Timothy 1:15).

Or maybe your answer is ‘Lord’. How wonderfully true! He has been raised to establish the kingdom of God in our lives and our world, to push back the darkness and to reign with righteousness, peace and justice (1 Corinthians 15:25, Philippians 2:10-11) .

But when the New Testament speaks of what Jesus is presently doing as He sits risen and ascended at God’s right hand right now, there is another work it commonly emphasises that we sometimes miss…

“Christ Jesus is the One ... who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34)

“We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1)

“He always lives to make intercession for [those who draw near to God through Him]” (Hebrews 7:25)

What a beautiful thought. The Son of God, who is upholding the universe by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), has us on His heart. Day and night He loves to bring the needs of His people before the Father. Day and night He covers His church and its mission in prayer. Day and night He gathers up the prayers of His people, presenting them before the throne of grace.

There are few things more encouraging than hearing someone tell you they’re praying for you (and knowing they really mean it!). My faith has been lifted so many times by hearing an older saint assure me that I’m in their prayers. Prayer is its own love language! Now imagine Jesus telling you “I am praying for you”. Imagine how comforting and fortifying it would be. Imagine if you could hear Him praying for you in the very next room. That is what is going on in heaven right now.

When we realise that this is what Jesus is doing in heaven today, it has the power to help us feel how loved we are by God. He remembers us. We matter to Him. We matter enough for Him to speak our names before the Father.

But when we realise that this is what Jesus is doing in heaven today, it also poses a question back in our direction: Will we join Him?

Jesus calls us to be His coworkers, to labour alongside Him in the advance of His kingdom (1 Cor 3:9). And one of the ways He loves to work alongside us is in the work of intercession.

One of the reasons He loves us to join Him in this work is because it puts God in His proper place. When I invite my young sons to do household chores alongside me I am implicitly teaching them, ‘this is how life works (whether we like it or not!)’. So it is with intercession. It is a way of us learning and relearning how the kingdom of God works. As we carry our churches and communities to Him in prayer we are reminding ourselves that “unless the LORD builds the house (or plants the church or reaches the lost) the builders labour in vain” (Psalm 127:1). The work of intercession may not look as outwardly impressive or impactful as some other ministries. But the gospel repeatedly reminds us that God loves to work powerfully in hidden ways; in the buried seed (Mark 4:30-32), in the invisible wind (John 3:8), in the unimpressive yeast (Matthew 13:33). Intercession is an invitation into humility.

But the other reason He loves us to join Him in this work is because it becomes an opportunity to share His heart. When I invite my young sons to watch a Welsh rugby match alongside me I am implicitly showing them, ‘this is what matters to me (sometimes too much!)’. So it is with intercession. Prayer is an incredibly intimate thing. To truly pray with someone is to sit alongside them whilst they bear their heart before their Father. And that is an experience Jesus wants to share with us. He doesn’t simply assure us, “I am praying for you”. He invites us, “pray with Me” (Mark 6:31-32). Intercession is an opportunity to participate in the very heart of Jesus; to learn His concerns, to taste His joys, to share His desires (Romans 8:26-27).

Could it be that in our call to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the communities of Wales, we have under-emphasised this vital ministry of intercession? We must join Him in His saving work by proclaiming the good news of His death and resurrection. We must join Him in His ruling work by demonstrating the kingdom of God in word and deed. But we must also join Him in His interceding work by praying for His will to be done on earth as in heaven. What Wales needs is an army of ordinary intercessors.

So, will you join Jesus in intercession for the church in Wales today? Will you carve out time to join Him in His heavenly work? I can think of no better vocation, no better way to spend our days than to share the heart of Jesus in this way.

Why not join THIS SATURDAY 21st October at 7.30pm in Hope Church Merthyr as we join Jesus in this privileged work of intercession.