The covenant of God with His people is a contract, and His protection and provision are in the terms of the contract on His part. Intercession means to present a case in council or to plead the terms of the covenant (Ps 74:20). Can you imagine presenting your case before the bench of the Ancient of Days, the Lord of hosts? God invites His people to do that. Intercessors are aware of these spiritual realities.
Many Old Testament writers used the format of pleading with God as if arguing a case in a court of law. Job said that he would lay his cause before God (Job 5:8, 23:4-5). Moses affirmed that God defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow (Deut 10:18). David said that God secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy (Ps 140:12). He was sure that God would enter his contention with his enemy Saul and decide between them, vindicating him (1 Sam 24:15). He strongly cried out to God for Him to contend with those who contended with him (Ps 35:1). Contend means a judicial proceeding, a lawsuit, or the litigation of a valid legal case.
Jesus designated the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete, meaning comforter, encourager or exhorter, one who gives aid. Greek writers used parakletos also for a legal advisor, pleader, proxy, or advocate, one who comes forward in behalf of and as the representative of another. In 1 John 2:1, Christ is called our Intercessory Advocate, who pleads our case with the Father. The Holy Spirit witnesses concerning Jesus (John 14:16-17a,26). The Holy Spirit pleads God’s cause with us (John 16:15).
Plead is a legal word, meaning to make a plea in a legal action, to put forward a legal declaration, or to address a court as an advocate. Pleading our case and detailing our arguments pleases God, helps us understand the need more completely, strengthens our determination, and stirs up our holy hunger to see God move. Wesley Duewel outlines seven bases of our pleading in the court of heaven.
Plead the honor and glory of God’s name. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Ps 23:3.
Plead God’s relationships to you. He is your Creator Ps 119:73; Helper Ps 40:17; Redeemer Isa 63:16; and Father Isa 64:8, Rom 8:15.
Plead God’s attributes. Justice Gen 18:25, Neh 9:33; Compassion Ps 103:8; Righteousness Ps 97:2, Isa 42:21; Faithfulness Ps 89:14, 143:1, Deut 7:9; Covenant-keeping Ps 89:34; Mercy Deut 9:5-6, Ps 25:6, 4:1, 27:7, 30:10; and Lovingkindness Ps 119:41, Isa 63:7.
Plead the sorrows and needs of the people. Remember, O LORD, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace. Lam 5:1.
Plead past answers to prayer. Moses and the psalmists reminded God that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who delivered His people out of Egypt, who defeated their enemies in times past. Ps 85:1-7.
Plead the Word and promises of God. Quote God’s promises reverently back to Him. David pressed God to fulfill His promises. 1 Chron 17:23-27
Plead the blood of Jesus sprinkled on the mercy seat. This is perhaps the most powerful plea of all. Spurgeon called the blood of Jesus the master key “that unlocks the treasury of heaven.” In any court of law, we must have legal standing in that court. Our standing in the court of heaven is by the blood of Jesus. “He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption” (Heb 9:5,12). We have no merit of our own. Our prayer experience counts for nothing. Prayer doesn’t work; Jesus works on our behalf. We plead His finished work on the cross in our behalf in accordance with God’s will and His glory.
How do we do this? From the Word of God, we prepare to present our petition and prepare our hearts. We present our case through prayer knowing Jesus our Elder Brother is our Advocate. Our Father is our Judge. The Holy Spirit is alongside us as Friend of the court. We fall to our knees before Him on behalf of our loved ones. The case is stacked in our favor.
For more on pleading your case, see Prayer Essentials For Living In His Presence, Vol 2, page 127-130. © Sylvia Gunter 2000. Available at www.thefathersbusiness.com