In this bible study, we examine examples of successful intercession to understand their common characteristics. We relate the characteristics to the principles of living in the image of God and, thus, reach an understanding of the kinds of intercession that have been effective. Several of the examples are drawn from events that occurred during Christ’s ministry. In such cases, intercession consisted of people going to Jesus directly on behalf of other people. Other examples occurred before Christ or after he had left human form. In such cases, intercession consisted of going to God in prayer on behalf of another.
In all cases, we find that successful intercessions were motivated by compassion and were persistent (ceaseless), selfless, and delivered by faith. Motivation by compassion is important for an intercession because such intercession is consistent with God’s purpose of creating every person to be a channel for his compassion. Christ describes this purpose through the 4th Beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled;” and the 5th, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” [Matthew 5:6–7].
Ambivalence describes a situation in which the outcome of an event has both positive and negative implications for a person. You are happy with the positive but sad with the negative. If another person has labored or sacrificed for the event in order to provide the positive outcome, then it is important your sadness does not convey a message of regret or blame to the person. This bible study focuses on an example of ambivalence when David’s army put down a rebellion led by his son Absalom but the son was killed in the battle.
King David was faced with adversity in the form of a rebellion against him led by his son Absalom. David’s third son Absalom cultivated reputation among Israeli men as a future king to replace his father. He was successful and support for him grew rapidly. To take advantage, he declared himself king and, because of the strength of his support, David and his people ran from Jerusalem in fear of him and his supporters.