Intercession and Fasting Pt1

These are powerful principles when used in the correct way, namely in the context of the finished work of the cross. But the way that it has been turned into a tactic to try and twist God’s arm to do things for us, it is actually doing more damage to the body of Christ than those who propagate it can imagine.

Fasting and intercession is often a “whip” that is abused by people for the following four main reasons:

1)      It is used by legalists who try to beat the church back into obeying the Old Testament law

2)      To make believers beg and cry out to God to give them things that they already have

3)      To appeal to God to do things which He’s already done

4)      To plead with God to do things which He commanded us to do

 

Praying for God to “Heal the Land”

Recently a well known entertainer in South Africa sent out a request through his website to thousands of his fans to join him in a day of fasting, during which prayers and intercessions would be made for their country in the hope that God would “heal the land” like He promised in the Old Testament:

…if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron 7:14 MKJV)

This verse has been used wildly out of context. Note that it doesn’t start with a capital letter, which means it most likely forms part of the previous verse. Let’s read it in context with verse 13:

If I shut up the heavens, and there is no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people; if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron 7:13-14 MKJV)

Aha… Since God doesn’t kill people or destroy their countries anymore under the New Covenant, it’s clear that these verses do not apply to us! God will not honor a day where people fast and beg Him “to heal the land” since we are asking Him to do something which He commanded us to do. God gave us the Holy Spirit in order for us to be His hands and feet here in the earth. He commanded us to go out to all the nations and make them His disciples (Matt 28:19). He commanded us to heal the sick and raise the dead (Matt 10:8) and take care of widows and orphans (Jam 1:27). So why are we asking God to do all this stuff?

 

Intercession

After the cross, Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father, continually interceding for the saints:

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 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. (Rom 8:33-34 ESV)

So why does Jesus need to intercede for us with the Father? Is the Father against us? Are they at odds in their feelings for us? Of course not! Jesus is our advocate (1 John 2:1) who continually pleads our case with the Father whenever the accuser (the devil) tries to condemn us, as the apostle John wrote in Revelations:

For the one who stood before our God and accused believers day and night has been thrown out of heaven. (Rev 12:10b GNB)

Jesus’ atoning blood continually cleanses us so that the case of the accuser repeatedly gets thrown out of the court. All the evidence against us has been removed – he has nothing to prove his case with anymore!

So since it’s Jesus’ role to intercede for the saints, we actually seem to believe that He isn’t doing a good enough job if we try to assume that position – we are acting in an Anti-Christ manner if we think we have more compassion for other people than God. Jesus is the only person who was ever appointed to act as a mediator between God and man:

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus… (1 Tim 2:5 ESV)

Often this type of prayer is also called “standing in the gap”, which implies the supposed “gap” between God and man. This gap is of course completely bridged when someone becomes born-again and their spirit is “fused” with the Holy Spirit:

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (1 Cor 6:17 ESV)

Do we really think we love other people more than God? Whenever we pray for God to have mercy or to divert His wrath and not punish someone, we act as though we are more merciful than God. How do we think that makes God look in the eyes of the world? Mostly if we intercede for other people (or for a country) it stems out of a belief that we can “change God’s mind” – as though He doesn’t really want to do anything about the problem in the first case – and that our praying will change His mind to make Him step in and finally do something. Do we really believe that we love other people or our country more than God does?

One of the very few scriptures in the Bible which tell us to intercede for people is this one:

First of all, then, I exhort that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. (1 Tim 2:1-2 MKJV)

God has no problem with us asking for wisdom for ourselves or for other people:

But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. (Jam 1:5 GNB)

The principle of intercession has become an abused, ugly, trash word in lots of Christian circles. No wonder people (including pastors) burn out! They walk around with the weight of the world on their shoulders, when Jesus promised His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

The correct way to intercede would be to acknowledge the finished work of the cross and pray from a place of victory, not for victory. Most often this involves commanding life, favor, deliverance, healing and restoration into a situation and destroying the works of the devil!

In part 2 of this series we will take a look at Fasting – it might just take some more of the burden off your shoulders!

5 Comments

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  1. Peter

    I once thought like you did as well. That is until I realized that God doesn’t want us to stay babies anymore. What do you think your earthly parents will think if you asked them several times a day what they wanted you to do? Or if you kept on asking them what to do with your life? Are you going to hold onto your boy’s bicycle for the rest of his days, or do you think he will reach a point where he learns to ride by himself without side wheels?

    Mat 10:7 And as you go, proclaim, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
    Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. You have received freely, freely give.

    Jesus told THEM to do it, He didn’t command them to ask God to do it.

    If you’ve never put your hand on a person and saw them get healed, then I suppose you may still be stuck in the mindset of asking God to do it or to have God send somebody else to do it. Peter this is the very reason why God gave us the Holy Spirit! To be dangerous, revolutionary, history makers in the earth! Jesus knew that the Father would give us the Holy Spirit, that’s why He could make this statement:

    Joh 14:12 Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on Me, the works that I do he shall do also, and greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father.

    Now I am not claiming to be doing the greater works yet, but I certainly am seeing some results when I pray for the sick or cast out devils.

    I REALLY recommend that you listen to those Andrew Wommack teachings – and if you want I can also send you an MP3 CD from Curry Blake – Divine Healing Technician Training Seminar. It will seriously rock your world and empower you to clearly see that it’s our mandate to heal the sick!

    Send me your postal address ;-)

    In Grace
    Andre

  2. Thanks for the reply, I am with you on the whole fasting to get God to do something thing, and agree that God wont all of a sudden think we are more serious because we are fasting.

    fasting aside (and perhaps off-topic), what I do not agree with here, or still struggle to get my head around is the idea that (if what you say is true) then we have all this responsibility to heal the sick, help the poor, heal the land, etc. and cannot have a shopping list for God to assist us, be it directly or indirectly! It’s scary! can we not run to Him and ask Him to help us or do it hemself be it via someone else? ask God to heal this person be it me who heals or someone else tomorrow or miraculously? Ask Him to Heal the land? Ask God to let my friend open his heart to Him? Can we not ask this? You notice how theres a difference in this kind of shopping list and the shopping list you spoke about?

    I get this picture of a father no longer holding his childs bicycle seat from behind balancing it after removing the training wheels and the child starts peddling on his own. no longer needing the training wheels or his father keeping the balance from behind. Are we peddling on our own now? or can we still look over our shoulder and see Him there looking after us, making sure we dont cycle into a bush or a busy road? I like to believe that God appreciates these kinds of requests, be it a shopping list or be it one request that comes from a loving heart and pure motives. It’s all about the heart.

    example: I pray that God will keep my family safe from burglars, danger and evil. I do not go and camp out there in the street to be the hands and feet of God. I trust God with my request. I have quite a few of these, so i guess you can call it a shoppinh list. In the same way I pray that God will work in the hearts of the people of power all over this country to heal it.

    Thanks for the time and effort, and reading this long reply.

  3. Hi Peter

    Thank you for your reply.

    1) The principle is the same. Fasting to ask God to do something is OLD TESTAMENT. It completely disregards the finished work of the cross. Do you fast before you ask your earthly dad for something? If not, why then would we fast to ask our heavenly Father something, who loves us much more?

    2) You have misquoted me and misinterpreted what I wrote. I didn’t say we shouldn’t ask God to heal the land because He’s already done it – in fact I know that South Africa is in a very sorry state. If you will look again at that paragraph you’ll see I said that I said it’s something He has commanded us to do. God hasn’t healed the land yet, He has commanded us to make a change in the earth. In Gen 1:28 God commanded man to rule over creation and on day 7 God rested from His works. Following your theory, can you maybe tell me why so many of God’s children still get raped, killed, robbed, etc?

    3) What is the purpose of prayer? Are you serious?? He-he… Well I see prayer as chatting with my heavenly Dad – the same as having conversation with my earthly father. When I talk to my earthly father, I don’t pitch up at his house with a shopping list every time. I simply enjoy seeing him again and talking with him ;-) This free 5-part audio teaching entitled “A Better Way to Pray” from Andrew Wommack blessed me tremendously, take some time and download it and listen to it if you can: http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1042

    PRAYING FOR OTHERS TO BE SAVED:
    It is the goodness of God that leads people to repentance after they have heard the good news of the gospel – not our praying. Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel (the great commission in Matt 28), not to pray for Him to save people. By praying for Him to save people, we are putting the responsibility back on Him. Well, in the end it is God who saves people, but these kinds of prayer create a mindset of passivity. If people believe they only need to pray for others to be saved and God will do the rest – they’ve got it completely wrong.

    FASTING WHEN WE WANT GOD TO DO SOMETHING:
    If we want to ask God to something, why do we need to fast as well? Do we need to convince God that we are REALLY SERIOUS about the issue? Will God not answer the prayer if it isn’t combined with fasting as well? Is fasting the magic ingredient to persuade God when we think our prayers aren’t enough? If I don’t have to fast to ask my earthly dad something, then neither will our infinitely more loving heavenly Father require it.

    Thank you once again for your reply.
    In Grace
    Andre

  4. Good article, which raises a few questions though…

    1. For the record,the well known entertainer made no reference to the verse in 2 Chron, he stated that we vast for change in our country, and that each one does this as he feels God leads him/her to do it, that it ALWAYS goes together with prayer, and in his/her own privacy.

    This still puts all the responsibility on God, and away from us as you quite rightly said we are the hands and feet. but…

    2. Saying God wont honor a request “to do things which He’s already done” like heal the land (which i cant see how that is alread done)is saying God has no direct influence in the every day workings of the world today seeing as we are the ones who are supposed to do/be His will on earth? Like God is sittting in heaven and saying “i wont stop that person from being raped, my people will arrive and stop it from happening” … but we never do.

    3. If we are the sole will and power of God on earth then what is the purpose of prayer? If we have the power and authority given to us because of the finished work of Jesus then why pray prayers where we ask Him for something? Seeing as its all been done? Why pray for a friend to be saved, why pray for rain, why pray for finding a loved one? or will God also not honor these requests because its already been done???

    I see nothing wrong with a nation trying to stand together in prayer and vasting, asking God for change in a country. No hidden motives, no twisting God’s arm. A pure and simple loving request to a loving father TOGETHER WTH being the change, being His hands and feet.

    I guess I still have a long way to go in renewing my mind, but these where my intitial honest feelings after reading this. Thanks, and keep preaching undiluted grace!

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