Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Here is another remarkable fact we need to appreciate. The Lord Jesus in heaven as our mediatorial Lord is praying for all believers, wherever they are and in all their circumstances. He continues to pray for Christians from his exalted position in heaven. I find this fact unexpected, possibly because it is rarely mentioned in our circles. However, it is true. The Lord Jesus is praying for ALL believers, including ourselves.
This statement about his intercession for us from heaven is only mentioned twice in the New Testament. The other reference is in Hebrews 7:25, ”Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them’. Here is the great High Priest which weak and doubting sinners need and can depend on. Because ‘He continues forever‘ (v.24), and ‘always lives’ (v.25), being all-powerful he will never fail to help his people. This means also that no believer will ever be lost. He prays for weak, struggling believers as well as for those who are making progress in grace. When we read that our Lord ‘is able to save to the uttermost’, this last word is a Greek idiom emphasising that He eternally lives as our Saviour and Intercessor and will never fail, desert, or forget his people.
What does He pray for?
Christians have seen the answer to that question in the Lord’s high-priestly prayer in John 17. In this prayer, the Lord prays for himself (vs 1-5), for his disciples (6-19) and for all believers in all ages (vs 20-26). His intercession for us concerns big and important issues, which include our protection (vs. 11) and joy (vs. 13), the deep spiritual unity of the church which is to be expressed for the world to see (vs. 21, 23). He also prays for our intimate fellowship with him (vs. 21, 23) and that we may be with him, gazing on his glory in heaven (vs. 24). When we neglect or forget to pray, he is praying for us. And when our prayers are selfish or somewhat petty, our Lord is praying big, important prayers for us in heaven. He will never give up on us and his on-going intercession guarantees that we will never be lost or turned away. Each and every Christian is dear to the Lord Jesus. After all, he died for them.
Christians have often prayed effectively, receiving remarkable answers to their prayers on occasions. I think of a prayer meeting in North Wales in January 1948 in the Dolgellau area when young people met for teaching, fellowship, and prayer. On the final day, the prayer meeting was signally blessed when Elwyn Davies was given liberty to plead the promise of the Holy Spirit in Luke 11 verse 13. Suddenly, as he prayed and pleaded, the Holy Spirit fell upon him and, he wrote, ‘and filled me to such a degree with love for God that I sat down sobbing and laughing at the same time’. Prayer was answered and many lives were influenced and people saved over that weekend and in later months in various places in North and South Wales (A Father in the Faith: J.Elwyn Davies, 1925-2007: 41).
There are times when our prayers are effective and fruitful. By contrast, the Lord Jesus in heaven always prays effectively for all Christians everywhere; his prayers never fail.
You may recall that before Peter denied his Lord prior to the crucifixion, the Saviour warned him: ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren’ (Luke 22:31-32). Three times Peter denied knowing or following Jesus yet despite failure, Peter was given grace to repent and was restored then re-commissioned by the risen Christ and used powerfully by the Lord from Pentecost onwards. The Lord’s intercession for him was effective, even in Peter’s weakness and failure.
Whatever your need, the Lord has absolute authority while his prayers for us are always answered! In the words of Charles Hodge, ‘Christ continues since his resurrection and exaltation to secure for his people the benefits of his death. Everything comes from God through him and for his sake’.
Discouraged? Remember, the Lord is praying for you!
Dr Eryl Davies (Heath Church Cardiff)