Paul wrote: 'I urge then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth' (v.1-4 NIV).
Intercession means 'to mediate between parties with a view to reconciling those who differ or contend'. It happens every day in the court system when lawyers intercede on behalf of their clients. It also happened in Scripture. When Israel made a golden calf and worshipped it, Moses interceded with God on their behalf, saying: 'Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! ...But now, please forgive their sin - but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written' (Exodus 32:31-32 NIV).
And it worked. God told Moses, 'Go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you' (v.34 NIV). Later when Israel turned again to worship false gods, Samuel said, 'Assemble all Israel to Mizpah, and I will intercede with the LORD for you' (1 Samuel 7:5 NKJV). So that day, God sent a loud thunder over the Philistines and confused them so much, they were defeated (see 1 Samuel 7:10).
Interceding for others can be lonely, and it's also hard work. Epaphras was described as 'wrestling in prayer' for the people of the Colossian church (see Colossians 4:12 NIV). But there's so much value in intercessory prayer. Could you be an intercessor for someone today?
Links to Bible verses: Holy Bible