The Principle: Standing in the Gap
“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one.”
Ezekiel 22:30 NLT
God does not need anything from humans. He doesn’t need help with things, He doesn’t need praise from us; He doesn’t need our money in the offering plate.
He allows us to join Him as He brings about His plan.
At times God has watched for someone to take a stand in their heart and bring a matter to Him. He honors those commitments and sometimes He will delay His judgement because of them.
Examples of Spiritual Intercession
Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found [in Sodom]?” And the LORD replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.” –
Genesis 18:32 NLT (from Genesis 18:22-33)
So he declared he would destroy [Israel]. But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the LORD and the people. He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them.
Psalm 106:23 NLT (refers to Exodus 32:1-20 and Deuteronomy 9:13-21)
[Israel] angered the LORD with all these things, so a plague broke out among them.
But Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped.
So he has been regarded as a righteous man ever since that time.
Psalm 106:29-31 NLT (refers to Numbers 25:1-11)
Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Romans 8:34 NLT
Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. –
Hebrews 7:25 NLT
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Matthew 5:43-44 NLT
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere .
Ephesians 6:18 NLT
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people . Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.
This is good and pleases God our Savior,
who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 NLT
Examples of Christians Interceding in Prayer
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly,
asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called–his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power
that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. –
Ephesians 1:16-20 NLT
Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,
Philippians 1:4 NLT
We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:3 NLT
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Colossians 1:9 NLT
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,
always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. –
Colossians 1:11-12 NLT
We’re commanded to intercede for others whether they are disciples of Jesus or not.
God gives us examples of how someone willing to stand before Him, caring for others can be the reason that He will withhold His judgement from those people for longer.
We should pray for others. We should pray for their salvation; we should pray that God withholds His righteous judgement; we should pray for God to bring them to Him, for Him to show off His righteous, sovereign power and His perfect love in the lives of the people for whom we’re praying.
God’s righteous judgement cannot be stopped. Satan, the world and we humans already tried to defy God’s power by killing His Christ but He overcame death and sin. God’s judgement will come but because of His mercy it may be forestalled for a time and we can be part of that. We cannot change God’s mind but He’s already said that He does not desire that any should perish so we know we can pray in His will for the eternal life of people and examples from the Greek Testament teach us that we can pray for people to grow in knowledge, confidence, hope, boldness and spiritual blessings.
Intercession can be made for fellow believers; for their growth, wisdom, insight, endurance, hope, joy and the power of God in their lives. We can pray for their physical needs, too.
Intercession is a responsibility to which we’re called, a way to care for others that God teaches us about through commands and examples. It is an opportunity for us to join God as He works out His will in individuals’ lives.
There are other commands, examples and promises in both testaments of the Bible but these were specific to intercession for others. Some promises of Jesus apply to prayer regardless of the person for whom the prayer is offered.