“Then Queen Esther answered and said, ‘If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.'”
When the chance arose for Esther to make her request known to the king, she pleaded on the behalf of others. This is called intercession, and is a critical part of the prayer life of every believer.
When Jesus responded to the disciples’s request to teach them to pray, He gave a model prayer that included praise, petition, confession and intercession. When we pray we should allow time for praying on behalf of others. Intercession includes both praying with others, and in the place of others. We should pray for the physical and spiritual needs of our Christian friends, and we should pray for those who have not yet come to Christ.
Esther’s prayer for the life of her countrymen is a good illustration of what is at stake when we are praying for our unsaved friends. We should keep in mind, we are standing between them and separation from God. Like the watchman who stood guard over an ancient city, we should stand in the gap for those who don’t yet know Christ; praying for their salvation.
Intercession should include praying for their hearts to soften, their eyes to open, and an opportunity for them to hear the Gospel. We should also pray for boldness to share the love of Christ with them, and power to live out our Christianity in a way that is attractive to them.
A great complement to intercession, is taking an opportunity to show the love of Jesus. Perhaps an invitation to coffee, or even to church, might open a door to share the Gospel with someone you have been praying for.