Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

August 2, 2015

The remarkable power of intercession

Famous baseball pitcher Orel Hershiser lacked confidence in himself until he started playing for Tommy Lasorda, the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lasorda called Hershiser aside one day and got in his face. What happened changed Hershiser’s life. You can read more about it in the pitcher’s book, Out of the Blue.

Shouting at Hershiser, Lasorda said, “You don’t believe in yourself! You’re scared to pitch in the big leagues! You’ve got good stuff. If you didn’t, I wouldn’t have hired you. I’ve seen guys come and go, son, and you’ve got it! Be aggressive. Be a bulldog out there. That’s going to be your new name: Bulldog. With that name, you’ll scare the batters to death! Starting today, I want you to believe you are the best pitcher in baseball. Look at that hitter and say, ‘There is no way you can ever hit me.’ ”

Orel took Lasorda’s advice and became a remarkable pitcher, winning 204 games before retiring. In 1988 he earned the Cy Young Award and was named the MVP of the World Series that year. He credits Lasorda’s inspiration for his success.  

What you believe about yourself makes a powerful difference. If you think of yourself as a poor sinner struggling to be a Christian, you will live like a poor sinner constantly harassed by Satan. You will experience defeat after defeat instead of victory after victory.

But what if you think of yourself the way God thinks of you? Consider what the Bible says about you once you become a Christian. You are a child of God, a son or daughter of God. You are a saint, a citizen of heaven, set apart to live as a holy temple of God. Your name is recorded in the Lamb’s book of life. You have come to God through Jesus and he has pardoned your sins – all your sins! You are forgiven. You have received mercy!

If that does not light your fire, think of this: Jesus Christ, the eternal High Priest of God, is constantly praying for you! Jesus is alive forever and he is interceding with God for you! He is not merely praying for the Pope and Christian leaders; he is praying for you! The Book of Hebrews says that Christ “is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 17:25).

If, as James reminds us, the prayer of a righteous person has great power (5:16), then imagine how much more power the prayers of Jesus have! Jesus is not only God with us (Emmanuel), he is God praying for us. Jesus knows everything about you and loves you in spite of your sins, and he is constantly interceding for you before the throne of God.

The old covenant with the Jews was replaced by a new covenant. The blood of animals was replaced with the blood of the Son of God. In the fullness of time Jesus made with his own blood the one sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. God made Jesus the great High Priest and his priesthood is “permanent.”

How encouraging – to know that no matter what Jesus is always there for you! He hears your cries for help and he presents them to the Father on your behalf. My heart cries Hallelujah!

Andrew Murray wrote brilliantly of the “great work of intercession.” Intercession, Murray insisted, is the most important “work” Christians can do. There is remarkable power in intercession. Jesus is our example. He ever lives to intercede for us; he inspires us to intercede for one another. Reflect on those persons who have been intercessors for you. My eyes fill with tears when I recall friends who for years have called my name in prayer.

The eternal Christ empowers us to live as priests in our homes. It makes a difference to our children to know that their parents and grandparents pray for them. We cannot spare our loved ones the consequences of their behavior but we can plead with God to grant them help, hope and healing.

When as an intercessor you stand in the gap between God and hurting people, you are imitating the great work of  Jesus who “lives to make intercession” for you. Give him praise! And think of yourself as “more than a conqueror” because Jesus is interceding for you. You may not be a bulldog like Orel Hershiser but you can be pray for others. Christ’s prayers for you are not wasted. He is continually renewing your hope and replenishing your strength so that you can complete the work he created you to do.

Be done with negative thinking! Come boldly to the throne of grace. Your High Priest understands your weaknesses. Receive his mercy. Embrace his grace. Live and love boldly for the Son of God is praying for you!  +  +  +