I took some time recently to pray for some of the ministry leaders in my church. I’m not trying to sound super-spiritual. Honestly, I should do this more often since the Holy Spirit is the one who actually does the work of the church. Anyway, I was overwhelmed with how long it took me to pray for each of those leaders by name. For some, I knew what to pray…but not all. I mean, these are women with lives and needs and pains and desires. I only know some details and, frankly, many of the women I had no idea what to pray about for them. Sometimes I just uttered their names, trusting that Romans 8:26 is true and that the Spirit does indeed intercede for those “unspoken” needs.
Jesus’ Intercession for Us
We’ve probably all grown accustomed to identifying the last calendar year as strange, different, or even uncertain. We are all grieving in different ways and facing various challenges in our lives. But I am reminded that regardless of who is surrounding our tables and what lies ahead, we have One who is making intercession for us, who knows what loneliness and grief feels like. We talk a lot about what Jesus accomplished on our behalf in our adoption and justification, and that’s extremely important. But we don’t often think about what he is doing today…like right now in this very moment.
If Jesus completed his task on the cross and subsequent resurrection, what fills his schedule now? What is he doing? More specifically: what has been left undone? Scripture tells us that he always lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).
Like in the prayer time I mentioned, I know that I can only pray for one person or situation at a time and even that becomes burdensome, but not for our Savior. He is not overwhelmed. Somehow, while he is seated at the right hand of the throne of the God, he is talking about each believer to our Father. He knows it all. He knows every life, every need, every pain, every failure, and every desire. He knows us. How does it make you feel to know that the King of Kings is praying for you right now?
It drenches me with love.
This is from Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund:
“What then does it mean for Christ to intercede? Who are the parties involved? God the Father, on the one hand, and we believers, on the other hand. But why would Jesus need to intercede for us? After all, haven’t we been completely justified already? What is there for Christ to plead on our behalf? Hasn’t he already done all that is needed to fully acquit us?…The answer is that intercession applies what the atonement accomplished. Christ’s present heavenly intercession on our behalf is a reflection of the fullness and victory and completeness of his earthly work. The atonement accomplished our salvation; intercession is the moment-by-moment application of that atoning work.”
Praying Us Home
We live in what’s called the “already and not yet” phase of the Christian life. We are fully acquitted, but we’re not quite complete and holy. What is a foretaste now will be fully revealed when we see Christ face-to-face (1 Cor. 13:12). That’s why we pray. That’s why Jesus is praying for us right now. What we see now is simply a dim reflection of the glory to come. They are copies and shadows of the heavenly things (Heb. 8:5). This is not our home. This has never been our home. Earthly pleasures and joys barely scratch the surface of the true everlasting delight that awaits us in eternity.
I remember as a child that even when I had the most amazing Christmas, getting all that I wanted and more, there was always a slight depression and sigh of disappointment when it was over. It’s never enough. There is not enough on this earth to fully satisfy. That’s why, regardless of our celebrations, gatherings, and the love that surrounds us, our souls are always longing for more. Even if we have Christ Jesus at the center of our lives with family, friends, church and all of our physical needs met, we will always long for more. We are children of God who deeply desire to go home. And Jesus knows exactly how that feels, but in reverse. He walked this path, but in the opposite direction as he left heaven for us…and now he is praying us home. Jesus, our Messiah, our King, our Elder Brother, our Bridegroom, our Rescuer is praying us home. He intercedes for us, moment by moment, applying for each of us what is already true. We are his: fully loved, fully accepted, fully known.
Bask in this truth heading into whatever lies ahead, knowing that if you are in Christ, your name is on his lips right now. And again…right now. And right now. And right now. Forever. And forever. Until he comes.
“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.” (Romans 8:34)
 Dane Ortlund. Gentle and Lowly, p. 79
About the Author:
Sue Harris serves the congregation at Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church (Birmingham) as the Women’s Ministry Director. She has a passion for spiritual formation as she earned her Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta in 2014. She served Mission to the World for nine years challenging PCA congregations in missions as well as serving missionaries on the field through encouragement, teaching and short-term teams. Previously, she spent 12 years as a college women’s basketball coach, earning her MBA at Texas Woman’s University.