Section Two: Prayer as Intercession. Lesson Fourteen: Our Position in Christ

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1 Section Two: Prayer as Intercession Lesson Fourteen: Our Position in Christ Paul describes the spiritual position from which we approach the throne of God: "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6). In a spiritual sense we are already seated with Christ in heaven. It is a mystery that we might say is future history. When we pray, we don't pray from a position of spiritual weakness or earthly defeat. We pray from a place of spiritual authority in Christ Jesus, seated next to Christ Himself! Question: What does the Bible say about this heavenly position in the following verses? Colossians 2:6, 8 9; 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; Ephesians 1 2; and Revelation 1:6 How did we get to this position? Certainly it's not because of anything that we have done. In fact, just two verses later Paul writes, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph. 2:8 9). The work of the cross and the blood of Christ have provided us with this powerful position of prayer. Christ in us and we in Him are what give us the confidence that we have in prayer. Our position in prayer is possible through purity. "Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior." PSALM 24:3 5 Praying with impurity or unconfessed sin in our lives is another reason that our prayers go unanswered. James explains, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16). The prophet Isaiah wrote, "Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (Isa. 59:1 2). We can't overemphasize the importance of purity in prayer. God is clearly looking for purehearted, praying people. His long, strong arms and sensitive ears are tuned to hear your softest prayers. Yet sin can and will prevent His response. You may ask, "How can I possibly know if there is sin in my life?" First, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your sin to you. Second, ask God to cleanse you from secret sins. David dealt with the same question when he prayed, "Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults" (Ps. 19:12). The bottom line is simply this: We don't know our own hearts. But the important thing to realize is that it's not the presence of sin, but our preference for sin that is the problem. We will either regard sin, or we will regard the Savior.

2 It's not the presence of sin, but our preference for sin that is the problem. DAVID'S REPENTANCE AND RESTORATION King David enjoyed intimacy with God. He was a man after God's own heart. (Read 1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22.) Yet when he succumbed to sin, his fellowship with God was immediately broken. He was so crushed by the guilt of his sin and his broken fellowship with God that he prayed: "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." PSALM 51:7 12 Can't you almost hear David's desperation as he cries out: Cleanse me! Wash me! Blot out all my iniquity! Create in me a pure heart! Do not cast me from Your presence! Do not take Your Holy Spirit from me! Restore to me! Grant me! Sustain me! These are cries for restoration. Why? Because David knew that purity and obedience give us confidence and a preferred position in God's presence. After his repentance and cleansing, David reported, "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!" (Ps. 66:18 20). Friend, that is victory! The issue of purity also involves our relationships with others. We cannot expect God to hear us if we obstinately refuse to reconcile our damaged relationships and will not make restitution where it's required. This is especially true regarding those of us who are married. Peter writes, "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers" (1 Pet.3:7). Jesus taught: "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift...and when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins... For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father

3 will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." MATTHEW 5:23 24; MARK 11:25; MATTHEW 6:14 15 The question we often hear is, "Whose job is it to offer reconciliation the person who caused the offense, or the person who was offended?" The answer is simple. The job of reconciliation belongs to the person who wants to be the closest to God! You may have heard it said that "to err is human, to forgive is divine." We should not think for a moment that we can pray effectively if we harbor unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment or hatred toward any person, living or dead. Why? Because our forgiving Father requires us to forgive if we are to commune with Him. By willingly forgiving those who sin against us, we prove that we are His children. This is an expression of Christ's life in us. We are even to go beyond just forgiving those who sin against us. We are to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44 45)! Paul taught that without love, other Christian virtues amount to little or nothing (1 Cor. 13:1 3). "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." 1 CORINTHIANS 13:1 3 Question: Are there people against whom you are harboring unforgiveness, resentment or bitterness? 1) List their names and the offenses against you. 2) Pray about each name, asking God to forgive that offense and to give you love for that person. Write today's date beside each name to indicate that you forgave that person on this date. 3) Realize that Jesus' blood was shed for their sins, as well as yours. In the same way that you trusted in His shed blood for your sins and received God's forgiveness, you forgive them on the basis of Christ's sacrifice for their sins. Because Jesus has already paid the price of their sin against you, you can justly release them from the judgments you have held against them. We are to forgive others not because we are good, but because the price has already been paid! Jesus died for the sins of the whole world! To fail to forgive is to say in effect, "I don't think Jesus paid enough for what they did to me." Surely that is not what you truly think 4) Ask God to forgive you for harboring unforgiveness against others. 5) Release those from judgment who have offended you. 6) Ask God to bless them bountifully. 7) Ask Him to teach you how to love them as He loves them.

4 Our position in prayer provides unlimited access. Prayer knows no earthly boundary. It has the capacity to reach around the world. Prayer can penetrate prison walls and hearts hardened by sin. A person in their prayer closet can circle the globe and conduct meaningful, missionary business even in nations they would not otherwise be allowed to enter! The power of a praying Christian can challenge heads of state. It is said that England's Queen Mary feared John Knox's praying more than any enemy. In an encounter with the queen, Knox once said to her, "Madame, the sphere of my service supersedes the sphere of your service." The Bible is full of examples of normal, everyday people who affected people and nations through prayer. Read Genesis 18:22 23; 19:29. How did God use Abraham's intercession to affect the life of Lot? Read Esther 8:1 7. How did Esther's prayers impact her nation? Read Acts 12:6 11. What happened when the New Testament apostles prayed for Peter when he was in jail? Our position in prayer lines up with the will of God. Not praying according to the will of God is pointless. Everyone loves the verse that says, "And if we know that he hears us whatever we ask we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:15). We've heard it described as a "blank check" from God. All we have to do is fill in the amount! However, we feel impressed to remind you of the verse that precedes it. John writes, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (v. 14). God hears and responds to the requests that we make according to His will. When we know and pray according to Christ's will, we are able to pray in His stead. This is tantamount to having "power of attorney." Power of attorney is a legal term for one who has the right to act on behalf of another. Everyone wants to know how to know God's will. Jesus explained it this way: "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you" (John 15:7). Two things are required. 1) We must be in Christ and in fellowship with Christ. 2) We must have His words in us!

5 We cannot be effective prayer warriors unless we are effective Word warriors! We cannot know God's will without knowing His Word. Wow, what a lesson! Blessings, Eddie and Alice "America's prayer coaches" ======================================== Intercessors, like "spiritual defense attorneys," plead the cases of others in prayer before God's throne. Eddie and Alice present their readers fresh insights into effective intercessory prayer as they view it through "another lense." Spiritual Advocates: How to plead for justice, stand in the gap, and make a difference in the world by praying for others, may be their most unique book yet! For more info, or to order goto: ======================================== Enroll in this free 52Week School of Prayer at It s based on Eddie and Alice's book, Drawing Closer to God's Heart: A Totally Practical Non-Religious Guide to Prayer. It s offered with generous permission from Strang Communications, the publisher. For more information or to order the book visit:

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