“In the same way, the Ruach helps in our weakness. For we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Ruach Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows the mind of the Ruach, because He intercedes for the kedoshim according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
What does intercession mean to you and why would you intercede on another’s behalf, or need another to interceded for you? Instead of looking to the dictionary for the meaning, it may be more helpful, in this context, to look at biblical examples of someone acting as an intercessor.
Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah before God destroyed it. Abraham began appealing to God for the sake of fifty righteous people living in those cities, with his last plea being, “Please, let not my Lord be angry, so I may speak once more. Perhaps ten will be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.” (Genesis 18:16-33). Abraham interceded for Abimelech after he took Sarah thinking she was Abraham’s sister. God visited Abimelech in a dream and told him to return Sarah, or he would die. “So now, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet. And let him pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, know that you will surely die—you and all who are yours” (Genesis 20:7). After a seemingly tense meeting between Abraham and Abimelech, we learn that “Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his female slaves so that they could bear children. For Adonai had completely shut up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife” (Genesis 20:17-18).
Moses interceded for the people of Israel before Pharaoh, to set them free from bondage and before God after they left Egypt and were wondering in the wilderness for 40 years (Exodus 32:30-33; Numbers 14:13-16; Deuteronomy 9:13-14). In one instance, God threatened to wipe out the entire community of Israel and raise up another nation from Moses. But Moses interceded on their behalf saying, “Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now” (Numbers 14:19).
Intercession means to stand in the gap for another, especially when they are powerless to do so for themselves. New Covenant believers in Yeshua have a powerful intercessor – the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha-Kodesh) who pleads our case and makes our prayers clear, even when we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26-27).
Yeshua himself intercedes for us, as scripture tells us, “Therefore He is also able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, always living to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Again it says, “For there is one God and there is one Mediator between God and men—a human, Messiah Yeshua” (1 Timothy 2:5).
Yes, we have a mighty intercessor before God, and He calls us to be active members of his community and wants us to copy here on earth what is in heaven. Are you called to be an intercessor? Do not neglect the gifts and calling of God. If you have fallen short He is faithful to forgive and to raise you up to continue the mission. “Faithful is the One who calls you—and He will make it happen!” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Do you need an intercessor? Look to the community of believers in Yeshua, “And do not neglect our own meetings, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another—and all the more so as you see the Day[a] approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).