Genesis 18:23: Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
Abraham did not stand aloof when God told him he had heard many bad reports about the sinfulness of Sodom and Gomorrah and have come to find out things for himself, before he makes the final judgement (Genesis 18).
God came down to the state of men and have decided to share his heart with Abraham, revealing his mind and impending action to God.
A lot of time intercession is our response to revelation. No one else had the opportunity to know what is in the mind of God as Abraham, because none was as close to God. Which also means that intercessors get to be close to God, and are privy to information in the realm of the spirit to which they respond to in the place of prayer.
Noah was the first recorded intercessor on the earth (Genesis 8:20-22). Having just witnessed the total destruction of the earth, he offered intercessory sacrifices, and when the savour of their odour was perceived by God, he swore not to destroy the earth again.
That was intercession at its best. By sacrifice Noah drew the mercy of God and God committed himself to the earth in a new way. A new chapter was opened in the relationship of God with man and the earth is preserved for the time being and the sign of that commitment is the rainbow in the sky.
Intercessors get to shift the hands of God. Daniel was an intercessor (Daniel 9), and he saw a promise in the scriptures that other people may ignore with which he prayed. He used the scriptures, the prophetic words written by Jeremiah to engage in his intercessory work with great result. He refused to be quite when what is seen in the bible is different from what he sees in real life and he engages in intercession to bridge that gap. Intercessors are called to do that.
Intercessors carry a burden and a sense of urgency in the spirit. They on bended knee refuse to bend in their intercessory pursuit until they bring a change, achieve their intercessory aim.
They are not easily deterred by no immediate answer. Abraham pursued an intercessory agenda and pushed his demand for mercy from God on Sodom to the hilt, rather than say for Sodom, it is good riddance to bad rubbish. He was moved by the need for mercy rather than for judgment. As far as he was concerned there should be no situation to far-gone that there can be no reversal of fortune. Intercessors do not take no for an answer, so they give the intercessory work all it takes.
Intercessors are bold. They are emboldened by their relationship with God, to go with him with the most impossible of situations seeking change. That is what we see in Abraham’s intercession for Sodom. He was bold to ask God for mercy, emboldened to spent time with God, to determine what happens. Intercessors knows they have powerful with God, which their closeness over time with God gives them the right to. For us we have the right to be close to God because of the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 2:13).
Moses interceded for the nation of Israel when God had decided that he was going to do away with the whole bunch of them and raise a new nation through Moses (Exodus 32:1-14), because they made for themselves an image to worship, making a mess of the plan of God to make them a different nation entirely, from other pagan-activities-infested nations around.
God wanted to raise them up to replace the nations in Canaan, as a different species of people. But through intercession, Moses brought the plan of God for them back on tract, drawing the mercy of God and pushing away his wrath.
Intercessors pave the way for the new things God wants to do. John the Baptist came with an intercessory mandate, so much so that he taught his disciples to pray, and they fasted, paving the way for the ministry of Jesus, which was the way he defined his mission on earth. Intercessors seek for the manifestation of Jesus and pave the way for that in the place of prayer.
John the Baptist said that he was the voice of one in the wilderness, prepare the way of the lord, the mountain will be made plain and the rough edges made smooth (John 1:23, Isaiah 40:3-5), for the manifestation of glory of God. That is the work of the intercessor.
Paul sought help from some church asking them to pray for him. He never asked any to send him money, but he said: send me prayer. To the church in Philippi he said while he was in prison that he was sure God will soon free him from prison and death based on their prayer (Philippians 1:19).
We empower the one we intercede for. Anna served God with prayer and fasting (Luke 2:36-39). That was an extreme of devotion. Hers was a life spent interceding.
For what you may ask?
It was definitely for the coming of Jesus. She probably spent her time declaring the prophetic words in the book of Psalms: lift up your heads oh you gates and be lifted you everlasting doors and the king of glory will come in, the Lord strong and mighty the Lord mighty in battle (Psalm 24).
In a way her intercession made the incarnating possible because it is not enough for the prophetic word to be declared that a virgin will be pregnant and give birth to a child to be called Emmanuel (Isaiah ), it needs to be backed by intercession, by prayers of enforcement. And Paul told Timothy to war a good warfare by the words declared over him (1Timothy 1:18).
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus wanted his disciples to give him some help, not by giving him words of encouragement but by waiting and praying with him, but they were overtaken by the need for sleep (Matthew 26:38-42).
Intercession is a game changer. It is a prayer for others. It is receiving help for others via prayer, it is spiritual help.
When Moses asked Joshua to confront an enemy nation with a thousand soldiers in Israel (Exodus 17:8-16), Moses was on a mountain, with his staff raised up and later on when his hands were heavy, he was helped by Aaron and Hur. The battle was won, not just by the effort make by Joshua on the physical battlefield, but the effort Moses made in the spiritual battlefield to help the physical battlefield.
Intercession is spiritual labour. The bible talked about Epaphras who laboured in intercession for the Colossian church that they stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Ephesians 4:12).
And there is something in intercession for the intercessor. The bible says that God turned around the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friend (Job 42:10). When Abraham prayed for the house of king Abimelech and barrenness was removed, he got plenty of goods from the king (Genesis 20:1-14).