Intercessory Faith Matthew 8:5-13 Dorothy Norwood sang the song called Somebody Prayed For Me to signify intercessory prayer and faith. The lyrics of this song went this way: Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind, They took the time and prayed for me. I'm so glad they prayed I'm so glad they prayed for me. My mother prayed for me, had me on her mind, She took the time and prayed for me. I'm so glad she prayed I'm so glad she prayed for me. The preacher prayed for me had me on his mind, He took the time and prayed for me. I'm so glad he prayed I'm so glad he prayed for me. We as believers of Jesus Christ should be thankful for those who interceded for us. We all have people to intercede for us when we were lost in sin, went through sickness, and have been in situations where it looked like there's no way out. There are times when our parents have prayed for us and requested for their trusted friends to pray for us. All of us need someone to intercede for us and join our faith with their faith. If you're wondering what does prayer have to do with the bible study lesson called intercessory faith, you must understand that prayer and faith go together like peanut butter and jelly. It takes faith to trust God when we pray and intercede. The term intercede is derived from the Greek word huperentugchano, meaning to petition and stand on the behalf of one person or multiple people. Intercede is also derived from the Hebrew word Pagha, meaning to be on behalf of other people. Pertaining to intercession, we have to understand that God's relation to man is both individual and social. One of the examples of intercession in the Old Testament is Genesis 8:20-22 when Noah built an altar, made animal sacrifices, and gave burnt offerings to God on the behalf of the wicked world. But the greatest example of intercession in the New Testament is when Jesus Christ stood before God on our behalf when He died on the Cross at Calvary (Romans 8:33-34). When you understand the importance of intercessory prayer and faith, you'll have to understand that prayer and faith is both individual and social. In other words, we cannot pray and have faith only for ourselves. We should pray and have faith on the behalf of people. Pertaining to intercessory faith, there are different types of faith. There's the family faith. Pertaining to family faith, which family members of yours are you praying for? Are you praying for a family member who left Jesus Christ for other religions like Islam? Are you praying for a family member who's given 6 months to live after being diagnosed with cancer? Are you covering your children in prayer when they're in school? In families, parental faith is important and needed because the households need to be covered in the blood of Jesus Christ. That's why it's important for parents to have their children to participate in partaking of Holy Communion. Holy Communion signifies the importance of being covered in the blood of Jesus Christ so that no harm shall come near us. Not only there's family faith, there is also co-worker faith. Are you praying for your co-workers, especially those who can be mean as a rattlesnake and irk your nerves? That's why it's important to love people whom seem unlovable and leave them in the hands of God. You can encounter some people in the work place who would be mean to you and cuss you out, but the best thing to do in this situation is bless them out and let God fight your battles. Along with co-worker faith, we have friendship faith. Are you interceding for your friends and your friends' family members? It's a good thing to not only intercede for your friends, but also intercede for your friend's family members including children, grandchildren, spouse, siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins. In friendships, we can benefit from the intercessory prayers of each other. The example of intercessory faith is the story of the centurion's servant being healed according to Matthew 8:5-13. The interesting thing about this story is when the miracle occurred in the place called Capernaum. Capernaum, which was known as Nahum's Village located in Galilee, was known in the Greek word of the Hebrew transliteration called "kapar nahum", meaning the place of comfort. Capernaum was also known as the hospital because of the miracles that were performed by Jesus. In order to understand why Jesus Christ lived in Capernaum, you have to understand that Isaiah 9:1 recorded a prophecy about the Messiah living by the way to the sea. Then Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy by living in Capernaum, according to Matthew 4:13-16. Before diving into the story about the centurion's servant being healed, we have to bring comparisons and contrasts between the miracles that happened in Capernaum. Along with the centurion's servant being healed, the healings of Jairus's daughter and the woman with the issue of blood occurred in the place called Capernaum. The healing of the woman with the issue of blood was recorded in Matthew 9:20-22 while the healing of Jairus' daughter was recorded in Matthew 9:18-26. What the woman with the issue of blood, Jairus, and the Centurion have in common is that they had this thing called desperate faith. Desperate faith is when you can trust God to perform a miracle when circumstances look grim. Although their faith were desperate, Jairus and the Centurion operated in intercessory faith while the woman with the blood disorder operated in personal faith. Jairus operated in patriarchal faith while the centurion operated in employer-employee relations faith. In this passage, we've see steps where intercessory faith is involved: 1. Advocacy Matthew 8:5-6 highlights the importance of advocacy in prayer and faith because we know some of the people who are in need of a miracle. While fulfilling a prophecy by moving to Capernaum, Jesus Christ knew His divine purpose for moving to Capernaum. Despite having never gone to medical school, Jesus became the Chief Physician at the place called Capernaum Care Medical Center. In this text, the centurion was joining his faith with his servant's faith by petitioning to Jesus for a miracle. You'll see that the servant was not able to go to Jesus for himself because he was bedridden, but you'll see how the centurion was able to go to Jesus on the behalf of his servant. This shows that interceding involves advocacy and standing on the behalf of someone. Matthew 18:19 tells us that if two touch and agree on earth over anything that they ask, it shall be establish by God the Father. Therefore it's always important to make prayer requests to trusted people who have the faith believing that the miracle shall be performed. 2. The Power of The Words In the 7th verse of Matthew 8, Jesus planned to come to the centurion's house to heal the servant. However the centurion, also known as the Roman army officer in charge of hundred soldiers, requested Jesus Christ not to enter into his home. We must look at why the centurion told Jesus that he's not worthy to have Him in his home. When the centurion told Jesus to not enter into his home, the centurion was sensitive to the Jewish traditions. This is when Jesus Christ had to fulfill the law before dying on the cross so that we can be under grace rather than the law. In accordance to Acts 10:28, the Old Testament law stated that a Jew was considered ceremonially unclean if he enters into the home of the Gentile. In respect to the Old Testament law, the centurion told Jesus Christ that speaking the word is sufficient to heal the servant. When the centurion told Jesus to speak the word, you'll understand that we shouldn't limit healing to just anointing with oil and laying on of the hands. Faith is the most important thing to have. Matthew 17:20 tells us that if we have the faith that is like a mustard seed, we can speak to the mountain and tell it to be removed. God has given us believers to speak the word of God over those who are connected to us as well as ourselves. Just like Ezekiel spoke to the dry bones in Ezekiel 37, we have the power to speak the word over ourselves and those who are connected to us. If you use the power of the words over yourself and those who are connected to you, you don't always need an out of town prophet to speak over you. All you need to do is speak over yourself and those who are connected to you. 3. Faith Trumps Over Race Verse 10 of Matthew 8 shows the race relations of Jesus Christ. The greatest thing that occurred in this verse is that Jesus applauded the faith of a centurion. What's interesting is that the centurion came from a pagan and polytheistic country called Rome, but had great faith in Jesus Christ for his servant's healing. The theological implication in the text is that Jesus Christ the Jewish Messiah has made salvation available to all people who place their faith in Him. Some of the Pharisees may find it very odd for the centurion to have great faith while they had little faith. Not only Jesus Christ encountered the Pharisees and the nation of Israel lacking faith, He dealt with the disciples who lacked faith. In Matthew 15:21-28, Jesus Christ dealt with a situation where a Canaanite woman was desperate for the healing of her daughter who was oppressed by a demon. You'll understand in verse 23 of Matthew 15 that Jesus had to pause after the Canaanite woman requested Him to heal her daughter. The main reason why Jesus had to make a pause after receiving the request because His disciples at the time had lacked faith. That's why Matthew 17:16 highlighted that the disciples couldn't cast the demon of the young child. Their inability was a result of their lower faith level. Like the centurion, the Canaanite woman who came from a pagan and polytheistic nation called Canaan was rewarded by the healing of her daughter as a result of her faith. This is an indication to us that we shouldn't preach Jesus Christ from a white supremacist perspective. Nor we should preach Jesus from a black supremacist perspective. The bible states that whosoever will let him come. Jesus Christ didn't come to save a particular racial group. Jesus Christ came to save those who are lost regardless of racial and ethnic background. 4. The Result of Faith Not only the centurion was commended for his faith, but also the servant was healed as a result of the centurion's faith. This is an indication that we should never pray selfish "bless me" prayers. When it comes to prayer, yes we should petition to God concerning our personal needs. But we should never forget to intercede for people whom we're connected to including family, friends, and the pastor. The Bible tells us that one can chase a thousand, but two can put ten thousand to flight. We as Christian believers are qualified to be intercessors for one another. Because we are called to intercede for one another, we cannot afford to be selfish when it comes to prayer and faith. If we learn to pray for people concerning their needs, we can also trust God to make sure that our needs are meet. Conclusion Corrie Ten Boom had stated best about intercession, "We never know how God will answer our prayers, but we can expect that He will get us involved in His plan for the answer. If we are true intercessors, we must be ready to take part in God's work on behalf of the people for whom we pray." Throughout the story about the centurion petitioning to Jesus concerning the healing of the servant, we can apply the story to our prayers. While praying, we should never beg God to do something for those whom we're connected to. But we should speak the language of faith and count our petitions as already done. The ways to intercessory faith along with prayer include fasting, seed sowing, and giving God the praise. If we practice intercessory faith, it would benefit you as well as others because you could be in situations where you need someone to intercede for you. While we have to learn how to pray for ourselves, we also must learn the power of intercession and agreement because we need each other for iron sharpening.