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Reigning Through Prayer (Part 1): Jesus, the Interceding Ruler

Reigning in Prayer, Part 1: Jesus, the Interceding Ruler

Would you like more power in prayer? Do you want to fully exercise your God-given authority in prayer, like Jesus exercised His when He walked the earth? In order to pray with authority and prevail in prayer, you must first understand the role of intercession in Jesus’ life, past and present—and how you share that role with Him today.

This is the first part of a two-part series in which we examine the authority by which we pray, the position from which we pray (God’s throne), and the means through which God answers. As a result, we’ll pray with more confidence, expectation and authority. We may even pray for things we otherwise might have thought were out of our reach—out of our jurisdiction.

This post is based on a chapter in Wesley Duewel’s book Mighty Prevailing Prayer: Experiencing the Power of Answered Prayer. (I highly recommend it! This book is an invaluable resource and encouragement in prayer.)

Merely scratching the surface of this topic means this post is somewhat lengthy. But I wanted us to be reminded afresh of these great truths. I believe they will change the way we view our position and authority in prayer! And in turn, change what we pray for, the way we pray for them, and what God is able to do in return. In short, our lives and those for whom we’re praying could be greatly affected. So let’s dive in!

Jesus Prevailed in Prayer Before His Incarnation

Jesus has had an intercessory role from the time of Adam and Eve through today. He will continue in this role until all of His bride, the church, is with Him in heaven.

An example of Jesus’ preincarnate intercession is His role with the Israelites in the wilderness. Jesus accompanied Israel through their desert wandering (Exod. 14:19; 33:14, Isa. 63:9; 1 Cor. 10:4). Exodus 33:14 says, “My face will go with you.” Jesus’s face is the only visible form and face of God. If Jesus, prior to becoming flesh and walking this earth physically, escorted Israel through this journey, He no doubt interceded for them every step of the way.

“I will not keep silent because of Zion, and I will not keep still because of Jerusalem, until her righteousness shines like a bright light and her salvation, like a flaming torch” (Isaiah 62:1, HCSB).

Many commentators believe this verse refers to the voice of God, or His Servant—Jesus prior to His incarnation.

“I will not keep silent…” In what way will He not keep silent? The answer is given in verses 6 and 7:

“Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen on your walls; they will never be silent, day or night. There is no rest for you, who remind the Lord. Do not give Him rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem the praise of the earth” (v. 6-7, HCSB).

If the preincarnate Jesus was not going to be silent, those who call on God in intercession should also never be silent.

In this context, the condition of Jerusalem (physical Jerusalem then, spiritual Jerusalem now) is so critical that Jesus must intercede in ceaseless prayer—and we must join Him.

Jesus is constantly interceding. It’s incomprehensible to think of the number of times He has interceded over the centuries…even prior to His incarnation.

Jesus Prevailed in Prayer On Earth

Jesus did not make a big public display of His prayers and intercessions. He quietly slipped away to commune with His Father and intercede.

Yet prayer is one of the most noted characteristics of Jesus’ life. It marked His beginning — at His baptism it was “while He prayed” that “heaven opened” and the Holy Spirit descended (Lu.3:21-22).

Prayer was a constant throughout His ministry as He often withdrew to the wilderness or to a solitary place to pray … even spending all night in prayer on the mountainside (Lu. 6:12).

Prayer marked the end as well: As He took His final breaths in flesh, Jesus continued praying (Mt. 27:46; Lu 23:34,36).

Leonard Ravenhill writes that Luke’s gospel could be called the Gospel of Prayer, because it mentions the prayer life of Jesus when the other gospels do not. He writes,

The other evangelists say that Jesus was in the Jordan and the Spirit descended on Him as a dove — Luke says it was while He was praying that the Spirit descended on Him. The other evangelists say that Jesus chose 12 disciples — Luke says it was after He spent a night in prayer that He chose 12 disciples. The other evangelists say that Jesus died on a cross — Luke says that even when He was dying Jesus was praying for those who persecuted Him. The other evangelists say Jesus went on a mount and He was transfigured — Luke says it was while He was praying that He was transfigured.

In Gethsemane and on the Cross

Scripture describes the agony of Jesus’ wrestling in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. The anguish is unimaginable.

“Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12, NKJV).

The cross and Gethsemane go side by side. What Jesus had been praying for in secret and what He agonized for in the garden became audible on the cross when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.”

There Jesus was on the cross … interceding with His very body, paying the price for our sins, and somehow finding the wherewithal to make intercession with His mouth, praying for the forgiveness of those who brutally murdered Him.

“During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence” (Hebrews 5:7, HCSB).

The writer of Hebrews must have known of at least some of the numerous times in Jesus life when He prayed with loud cries and many tears. We’re able to see just one of these times in Gethsemane.

Wouldn’t you like to have more examples of Jesus’ prevailing prayers? I would. We’d all like the privilege of being able to eavesdrop on more of His prayers. We can see in scripture the prayers of Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Daniel, Paul, and others but who we’d really like to see pray is Jesus—the Intercessor Himself. None interceded on this earth like our great High Priest.

E.M. Bounds writes,

“His life crises were distinctly marked, His life victories all won in hours of importunate prayer.”1

Thomas Payne said,

“His prayers were stronger than all the forces of earth and hell together…. It was to Him the real battlefield.” 2

We can see in scripture the victories that Jesus’ prayers brought. He prayed that the disciples would not lose their faith and disperse at the crucifixion (Lu. 22:32). He prayed at Lazarus’ tomb (Jn. 11:41-42). He prayed in Gethsemane, and with all its anguish, He was able to carry the weight of the sins of the world.

In Mighty Prevailing Prayer Wesley Duewel writes,

It was not customary in Jesus’ day to kneel for prayer. But Jesus was in such agony of prevailing prayer that He kneeled down as He prayed (Luke 22:41). Matthew and Mark add that He fell to the ground on his face in his prayer wrestling (Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35). Jesus prevailed till He had assurance of victory, and rising from His agony, He demonstrated the quiet poise of total victory. He had prayed as no one ever prayed and had prevailed as no one had ever prevailed, and it was all for our sakes.

Prevailing prayer was His lifelong vocation. All that Christ accomplished during His earthly ministry was born in intercession, covered and saturated with intercession, and empowered and anointed as a result of intercession.3

Did you see that last sentence? Everything that Jesus accomplished during His earthly ministry was the result of prayer! Every bit of it! In spite of being deity in the flesh, Jesus found prayer necessary. He did no miracles, saw no conversions, taught no truths without it first having been made possible and empowered through prayer.

We tend to think that prayer was an aside to Jesus, something He needed only a little bit of. But prayer was His primary work out of which everything else flowed.

Jesus Triumphed Through Prayer

When Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness, He triumphed through fasting and prayer. Had He not triumphed, Jesus would have abandoned the path to the cross. What implications for us! Everything hung on the outcome of that testing—on the fasting and prayers of Jesus!

Duewel continues,

He selected His apostles through prayer. He depended totally upon the Holy Spirit, just as you and I must do, and He received the Holy Spirit, just as you and I do—through prayer. Jesus prevailed daily. He could not live and minister without prevailing prayer, as Hebrews 5:7 indicates.

Jesus Is Still Prevailing In Prayer

Jesus is on heaven’s throne today, our High Priest and King. He is still the Son of Man. He reigns and intercedes today as the Son of Man.

As Son of Man, what is His priority? As Son of Man on the throne, what does He live to do?

Does He live to welcome the saints to heaven at their death? I am sure He welcomes them, but the Bible does not say so. Does He live to grant interviews to saints and angels? he most probably often does this, but the Bible does not say so. Does He live to enjoy heaven’s music? I am sure He thrills to it. He created us to be able to enjoy music along with Him, but there is something more impotant than listening to music. Does He live to reign? Most certainly He does—and he will reign for ever and ever.

But the Bible emphasizes one role of Jesus today above all others—He is Priest forever (Heb. 5:6; 6:20; 7:17, 21). His sovereign throne is a throne of grace, both because of his atonement and because He ever lives to intercede for us. His is a priestly throne (8:1).4

According to Romans 8:34, Christ is at the right hand of God and He is interceding for us. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). While on earth, He loved us intensely, longed for us, and prayed for us (John 17). We have the example of Him praying for Peter personally (Luke 22:32). Jesus is as intensely interested in us and as burdened for us as He ever was (Heb. 4:15).

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time” (Hebrews 4:15-16, HCSB).

The word for “sympathize” in the original language means to suffer with. Hebrews 4:15-16 is saying that we can come to the throne of grace—where Jesus is interceding—with boldness because He sympathizes with our sufferings and temptations. He is touched by our weaknesses. Jesus feels compassion for us as much as He ever did.

Every Blessing Is Stamped: Through Christ’s Intercession

Every blessing we receive from God, every answer to prayer, is through Christ’s intercession.

Andrew Murray writes,

All [Christ’s] saving work is still carried on in heaven, just as on earth, in unceasing communication with, and direct intercession to, the Father, who is All in All. Every act of grace in Christ has been preceded by, and owes its power to, intercession. God has been honored and acknowledged as its Author. On the throne of God, Christ’s highest fellowship with the Father, and His partnership in the Father’s rule of the world, is in intercession.

Every blessing that comes down to us from above bears this stamp of God: through Christ’s intercession. His intercession is nothing but the fruit and the glory of His atonement. When He gave Himself as a sacrifice to God for men, He proved that His whole heart had the one object of glorifying God in the salvation of men. In His intercession, this great purpose is realized: He glorifies the Father by asking and receiving everything from Him. He saves men by bestowing on them what He has obtained from the Father. Christ’s intercession is the Father’s glory, His own glory, and our glory. And now this Christ, the Intercessor, is our life. He is our Head and we are His body. His Spirit and life breathe in us. On earth, as in heaven, intercession is God’s chosen, God’s only, channel of blessing. Let us learn from Christ what glory there is in it, what the way to exercise this wondrous power is, and what part it is to take in our work for God.5

Did you catch that? “Every blessing that comes down to us from above bears this stamp of God: through Christ’s intercession.” On earth right now, as in heaven, intercession is God’s only channel of blessing.

That’s powerful, and daunting to think of. We want blessings … but don’t want to join Christ in His intercession—in prayer. We’re too lazy … too busy … too preoccupied with the mundane. But God’s only channel of blessing is intercession.

Reigning Through Prayer: Jesus, the Interceding Ruler

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We Intercede Because Christ Intercedes

Duewel writes,

Christ is not sitting passively in blissful royal dignity, unmoved, while you intercede. No! never! You intercede because He intercedes. The Holy Spirit conveys to you the heartbeat of Jesus. you feel but the faintest burden of concern as compared with the infinite concern that Jesus feels for you and with you.

Jesus enters into all the struggles and spiritual warfare of the church. The Jesus who felt all the sorrows and pain of Israel in her sin (Isa. 63:9) feels all the heartbreak of the world yet today. He is our eternal High Priest. He is prevailing today on heaven’s throne—not only by His presence and because of His wounds at Calvary, but through his continuing holy pleading, His intercession. Not till Satan is cast into the lake of fire, the warfare with sin is forever over, and the last lost sheep is in the fold will Jesus cease to prevail in intercessory burden for our world.6

Jesus’ Enthronement

There are a few facts about Jesus’ enthronement that are helpful to remember.

  1. He is exalted to the place of highest supremacy, honor, and majesty. He has been given the name above all names in heaven and on earth, and under the earth. He reigns supreme over every spiritual power, even demonic powers. (See Phil. 2:9 and other scriptures from post)
  2. He is involved in the governance of the universe. He is “seated” on the throne, which indicates His sovereignty is accomplished; it is fact. He is at the Father’s right hand, the place of highest honor and authority. He reigns over the entire universe.

    “He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens—far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything (Eph. 1:20-22, HCSB).

  3. His reign is priestly. As Duewel describes it, He is our “High Priest-Sovereign.” His throne involves being both a king and priest.

    “We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven” (Heb 8:1, ESV).

    As high priest, He gave Himself as the perfect and final sacrifice on the cross. “When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (10:12, ESV).

Jesus’ sacrificing is completed forever. So how then does He serve as our High Priest? The other activity of the priesthood is intercession.

“Because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently….He always lives to intercede for them. For this is the kind of high priest we need” (Heb. 7:24-26, HCSB).

Jesus is the interceding ruler of the universe. His throne is a throne of intercession. The day is coming when He will rule by the scepter—by His power. But today He rules by His “uplifted and extended hand—by prayer.”7

Jesus’ intercession is a very real fact, an ongoing activity. It is as real as as it was when He walked this earth in bodily form and made intercession His custom.

Jesus is on the throne this very minute waiting for you and me to join Him in His intercession! He longs for us to reign with Him through prayer!

(Part Two of this article examines how we join Jesus in His intercession and reign with Him through prayer.)

A Moment of Worship: Throne Room Song

Throne Room Song featuring May Angeles and Ryan Kennedy

Questions: 

  • Had it ever occurred to you that Jesus interceded in prayer before His incarnation? 
  • Did you realize that prevailing prayer was Jesus’ lifelong vocation—that all He accomplished during His earthly ministry was born in intercession, saturated with intercession, and empowered as a result of intercession?
  • Everything Jesus accomplished on this earth was not empowered by His teaching or performing of miracles, or even the sheer fact of His deity—it was accomplished through prayer. What are the implications of this for your life today? 
  • If the Son of God through whom the world was created found prayer necessary, should prayer be necessary for you as well? Do you think you can accomplish anything apart from prayer? Have you been trying to do so?
  • Jesus could not live and minister without prevailing prayer, as Hebrews 5:7 indicates. Prayer was necessary and vital for Jesus. How does being reminded of this change the priority of prayer in your life? Might you pray more than you watch television or engage in social media? Will you make prayer a priority in your daily life?
  • Jesus is the interceding ruler of the universe. His throne is a throne of intercession. One day, He will rule by the scepter by His power. But today He rules by His uplifted and extended hand in prayer. How does this encourage you to join Him in this rule through prayer?

 

OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES

RELATED ARTICLES ON PRAYER

FASTING DAY 20 FROM THE ARCHIVES



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  1. E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer. In E.M. Bounds on Prayer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008), 40
  2. Wesley Duewel, Mighty Prevailing Prayer: Experiencing the Power of Answered Prayer  (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990), p. 38. Kindle edition.
  3. Ibid., p. 38-39.
  4. Ibid., p. 39-40.
  5. Andrew Murray,  Andrew Murray on Prayer (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1998), p. 533.
  6. Ibid., p. 40-41.
  7. Ibid., p. 43.

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