Etymology and meaning of the term is determined by its use in, (1 Tim 2:1). “I exhort, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all and
men"." Supplications and “prayers” refer to general and specific petitions. “Intercessions” will then have the meaning of a request concerning others. Intercession is prayer on behalf of another and naturally arises from the instinct of the human heart. Intercession is to be regarded: As the spontaneous act of man for his fellow man; the official act of developed sacerdotalism (practices of a priesthood). Man’s intercession for his fellow man.
Many such prayers are recorded in Scripture. The sacrificial act of Noah may have been partly of this nature, for it is followed by a promise of God on behalf of the race and the earth at large, Gen 8:20-22.
- Such also is Abraham’s prayer for Ishmael, (Gen 17:18).
- Abraham’s prayer for Sodom, (Gen 18:23-33).
- Abraham for Abimelech, (Gen 20:17).
- Jacob’s blessing of Joseph’s sons is of the nature of intercession, (Gen 48:8-23).
- His dying blessing of his sons is hardly to be regarded as intercessory; it is, rather, declarative, although in the case of Joseph it approaches intercession.
The absence of distinct intercessory prayer from Abraham to Moses is to be observed, and shows how intensely personal and individual the religious consciousness was still in its undeveloped quality. In Moses, however, the social element finds a further development, and is interesting as taking up the spirit of the Father of the Faithful.
- Moses is the creator of the national spirit.
- He lifts religion from its somewhat selfish character in the patriarchal life to the higher and wider plane of a national and racial fellowship.
In the history of Joshua we find only the prayer for the people after the sin of Achan, (Josh 7:6-9). Although the communications from God to Joshua are numerous. A faint intercessory note may be heard in Deborah’s song, (Judge. 5:31) though it is almost silenced by the stern and warlike tone of the
poem. Gideon’s prayer history of seems to echo something of the words of Moses, (Judg. 6:13). Also accords with the national and religious spirit of the great leader who helped in the formation of the religious life of his people (see, Judge 6:24.). Notwithstanding the evident lower plane on which he stood, (Judg. 8:27) which may account partially for the apostasy after his death, (Judge 8:33 f). Manoah’s prayers, Judge 13 may be noted.