Reading “I pray for them.” John 17:9
There is no part of Christ’s priestly office more soothing to the sick, tried, and suffering believer, than His intercessory supplication on their behalf. To know that we are borne upon the prayerful hearts of our fellow-Christians in times when providences are trying and our hearts are breaking is unspeakably soothing. How much more so is the thought that Jesus, our merciful high priest, is praying for us in heaven—our names worn upon His heart, our woes and needs, sins and sorrows entwined with His prayers before the throne. His intercession for us is not a past, nor even anticipated intercession; it is a present intercession: “NOW appearing in the presence of God for us.”
O sweet thought that, when some new trial comes, and some dark cloud lowers, and some bitter sorrow crushes, at that very moment Jesus is praying for us, asking His Father on our behalf the strength that will support, the grace that will sanctify and sustain us. Thus consider Him.
Intercessory prayer for others is one of our most spiritual and richest privileges. ”Pray one for another.” “Praying for all the saints” is the divine precept constantly enforced. How many of the Lord’s tried ones, through bodily pain, or mental depression, or crushing sorrow, cannot pray for themselves! What a privilege to pray for them, to be “God’s remembrancers” on their behalf, to imitate Jesus, and intercede for them outside the veil, while He intercedes for them within the veil! Thus, intercessory prayer on earth and intercessory prayer in heaven will envelop them as with a cloud of incense, and the tried saint will be upheld, and the weak strengthened, and the tempted shielded, and the sorrowing comforted, and the sick soothed, and the dying one supported and cheered, as he passes down the valley, homeward to be forever with the Lord.
Offering up by that dying couch and in that solemn moment the prayer of faith in the divine assurance that ”He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them,” we may humbly hope that at the evening time it shall be light, and that at the last moment the brand shall be plucked from the burning and by free grace will wear the crown.
Taken from Consider Jesus: Thoughts for Daily Duty, Service, and Suffering by Octavius Winslow, 1870 (public domain).