God uses people all the time so that His purposes can be accomplished. Here are a few examples from the Bible: God used Joseph to save his family from starvation by bringing them to Egypt (Genesis 50:20). Moses begged God not to destroy the Hebrews when they had worshipped the golden calf (Psalm 106:23). Esther stood in the gap with prayer and fasting for her people, saving them from Haman who wanted them destroyed (Esther 8).
After God created the earth, He said, “It was very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was no divide between God and anyone on the earth; however, after Adam and Eve disobeyed, sin created a gap between God and humanity, cutting all future generations off from God’s best for their lives. Fortunately, God Himself stood in the gap for us by sending His Son, Jesus, in human form, to live as a man, die for our sins, and rise from the dead so we could be restored into a personal relationship with Him.
Part of our responsibility as followers of Jesus is to pray for God’s intervention in the lives of others. The idea of “standing in the gap” comes from Ezekiel 22:30:
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:40
Clearly, God’s heart is moved to act when people cry out on behalf of others. In fact, this verse indicates that God is searching and waiting for people to stand in the gap so He may respond mercifully.
The word “intercessor” is commonly used by Christians to describe someone who acts as a go-between, pleading to God on behalf of those in dire circumstances. We read in Galatians 6:2 that we are to “carry each other's burdens.” One way we do that is by lifting others’ concerns to God in prayer. When the circumstances or our brothers and sisters become overwhelming, we can be their voice, calling out to God for help.
We are also called to stand in the gap for those who have not yet found salvation in Christ. The Apostle Paul implied that praying for the salvation of others should be at the top of our list:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people ... This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1; 3-4
Jennifer Kennedy Dean writes in her Bible study, Living A Praying Life, that “Prayer is the most aggressive, offensive, pro-active, invasive work you can ever engage in.”
Just as many characters in the Bible bridged the gap for others, we have the privilege to intercede proactively on behalf of our family, friends, and those who do not yet follow Jesus. The Enemy is very active in the world today; he knows his time is short. Let’s urgently and intentionally pray for God’s will and protection so can we stand firm against Satan’s plans (Ephesians 6:10-18) and see the kingdom of God advance (Matthew 6:10).
Check out In Jesus’ Name, our 10-part series on prayer.