Jesus said in John 17, “I pray for them.”
At the right hand of the Throne of God in Heaven, “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.”
Now, if Jesus at the right hand of the Father is praying for His own, what does this mean for you and me?
I’d like to relate an experience I had years ago—one of the most meaningful revelations I ever received. I had been going through a very difficult time—one of those times when you feel like you are going under for the third time… never to come up again. I had gone under like Jonah. The weeds were wrapped about my head. One evening during this painful time I was in a little gathering with a few others. There had been some singing, and then a time of quiet worship. I was standing with my eyes shut, and my head bowed, and my hands folded… and feeling such a deep anguish. I began to pray in myself, “Lord, I am feeling so bad… what I need is… I need You Yourself to pray for me… Lord… please, You pray for me, that’s what I need. I need You to pray for me.” I continued on like this for a little while, head bowed, eyes shut, in my heart crying out to the Lord to pray for me…
…And suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. One of the brothers had quietly walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. Then another joined him. And another. And after a few moments the brothers and sisters were all standing around me praying for me.
I just broke.
And light dawned! Jesus had answered my prayer! Jesus Himself had prayed for me… just as I had asked Him to. Oh, what a healing experience that was for me!
It was a revelation I never forgot. The body of Christ is not just an organization, beloved. The body of Christ is a living reality. The body of Christ is just that—the body of Christ Himself. We who have the Holy Spirit of Christ in us—can you believe such a wonder?—here in the earth we are the members of Christ.
And oh, how we need to be awakened more fully into this reality—that what the Head is doing in Heaven, the Body is doing here in the earth. When He stretches forth His hand to heal, His arm here in the earth stretches out that hand, and healing with the power of the Throne of heaven goes forth.
When He prays, we pray—and it is effectual prayer, prayer with the power of the Throne in it.
Now I realize why Paul the apostle was such a praying man. Read his epistles. They are full of prayer.
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers… (1 Thes. 1.2).
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, always (continually) praying for you… (Col. 1.3).
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you in my prayers… (Rom. 1.9)
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day (2 Tim. 1.3, and note the singular thee here).
I won’t quote more; it’s all over the place. Paul was such a praying man. But we miss much if we think of this in terms of Paul himself initiating all this prayer… and we get to admiring Paul. Why was Paul like this? I believe it was because Paul was very close to that Intercessor who sits on the throne of Heaven. This One by His Spirit indwelt Paul. And so these prayers of Paul are in essence the prayers of Christ Himself. Perhaps that is better put by saying that Jesus on the throne of Heaven had a prayer partner—Paul, among others. Jesus prayed, Jesus wanted to pray, and so He sought out His prayer partner Paul, who, it appears, was always more than ready to get down on his knees and pray with his Lord. Since Jesus was continually interceding for His own, Paul too was habitually interceding.
Let us be seeking this same kind of intimacy with Jesus, and be always ready to pray with Him. Jude calls us to be “praying in the Holy Ghost…” That hits the nail on the head. When we are praying in the Holy Spirit, it is the prayer of Christ Himself that is going up to the Father.
And if there was ever an hour when the brothers and sisters needed this kind of powerful prayer and intercession, it is now.
Let us be praying for one another, beloved. Because this is what Jesus is doing. “I pray for them,” He says. Let us be Jesus’ prayer partners, then. He may just put His hand on someone’s shoulder through you or me.