“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him” (Psalm 34:7)
“To intercede means: to send an angel to someone.” This is how Martin Luther explained the meaning of intercession. The effect of this prayer is often underestimated and hence neglected. However, intercession should be a foundation pillar of our prayer life. The Apostle writes: “I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1). Verse 4 then makes it clear that we should do this because it is the expressed will of God that all men are to be helped in coming to the knowledge of the truth. Therefore, the prayer of intercession has such a highly valued position because it also concerns salvation from eternal death. We cannot tell from these few words whether Martin Luther thought of saved or not yet saved people, to whom the service of angels can be imparted by intercession. But in the Bible, we most certainly are informed of angels who appeared to keep people away from the wrong path. And often, this angel is identified as “the angel of the Lord.” This is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. Probably the best known appearance of an angel in the Old Testament is recorded in Numbers 22:31: “Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand.” The light which suddenly radiated from heaven around Saul of Tarsus on his way to Damascus, is also a direct intervention of Jesus Christ. Here, there is no mention of the angel of the Lord, because the Lord reveals Himself with the words, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest” (Acts 9:5). The Bible also reports about the service of angels to men who believe in Jesus Christ. Thus, Peter was twice delivered out of prison by the hand of angels (Acts 5:19; 12:7). And why did this happen? Because there were people who interceded for him! “But prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5). The liberation of Paul and Silas from the prison in Philippi is also such an event (Acts 16:26). Some may object that they were freed because of the earthquake. But was it not angels who caused such an earthquake, in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, and at the exactly correct intensity? Such service of angels still takes place today in full reality, even though mostly no longer so directly. For example, someone misses the scheduled flight. Later, we learn that it was exactly this plane which crashed. Accident? The Prussian General George von Viebahn tells us: “One night a mother was awakened by her child sleeping beside her, who excitedly told her, ‘Mommy, there in the door of the living room stands an angel who keeps beckoning to me with his hand. May I get up and go to him?’ The mother, who believed that a dream had excited the child, tried to calm her and persuade her to fall back asleep. But very soon the little one called again, ‘Dear Mother, the beautiful angel keeps beckoning to me again; I’m really not dreaming but see him quite clearly. Please let me go to him!’ Now the mother thought that it would calm her little daughter best if she complied with her wish and showed her in the next room that no one was there. Therefore, she warmly wrapped the little one and carried her into the living room. But no sooner had both arrived there that a loud crash frightened them. In the bedroom the tile stove had collapsed and had buried the little child’s bed under its ruins.—With what feelings the mother pressed her darling to her heart, and how deep was her prayer of thanks for the miracle which the Lord had done for them!” In Psalm 34:7 we read: “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him.” With the prayer of intercession, we have a means in our hand to cause the Lord to send His angels as the object of our prayers. Yes, intercession means: “To send an angel to someone.” The most beautiful thing in this is that the blessing of the intercession will fall back on us. This becomes clear with Job: “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends” (Job 42:10).
Last modified on Monday, 25 June 2012 08:49