“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
Beloved, this not only describes Jesus the Christ, but it can also describe the life of an intercessor who fellowships in the sufferings of Christ for the benefit of others. I’m sure that those of you who are intercessors know what I’m talking about. Intercession is often, well, a ministry of sackcloth and ashes.
A brother has shared this about the ministry of intercession …
The word “intercession” comes from the Latin, meaning to stand between. Intercession is quite different from ordinary prayer. It carries with it a priestly function and duty, and since all Christians are or should be priests, it follows that all Christians have the potential to be intercessors. And from my own experience, I know that one does not need to be conscious of it to be involved in it. There are many who go through troubles blindly, not knowing that they are interceding.
Just as the Bible required training before the Israelite priests could take full responsibility at the age of 30, so also with the intercessors. They must come to some level of spiritual maturity before they can really be effective in that type of ministry. The sons of Aaron, however, entered into an apprenticeship at the age of 20, which lays down the principle that an intercessor (or priest) must undergo some on-the-job training.
Beloved, if you’ve not yet undergone on-the-job intercessoral training, then it might be a real good time to start. As this brother has said, intercession is different from most prayer, in that it usually involves bearing the burdens of another, identifying with them in their sin or their pain or their suffering in a way that you can bring it all before the Father for them.
My experience with this is that there is often a price to be paid for doing this, as we sometimes get caught up in the spiritual battles of the ones that we are interceding for, and this can have an effect on us even in the natural. This is often where the personal application of “smitten of God and afflicted” comes in for intercessors.
Maybe I’ll be able to share more on this at another time.