To intercede is to “come between parties” or to “act as mediator or advocate”. Does this definition sound familiar to lawyers? I think so. Lawyers are, in a very important sense, intercessors. They are the “go between” their client and the judge or another party, speaking persuasively on their behalf as they advocate for justice.
Intercession happens daily in the courtrooms with lawyers interceding for clients, but also in contractual meetings with lawyers representing one party to another, and in the office whenever one partner represents the other. Like it or not, the legal profession is about interceding or representing on behalf of someone. If you are in law school, it will not take long to understand that and learn the rules about maintaining trust, referrals and accountability.
The Christian worldview dynamically informs what intercession means, and especially for lawyers, the Bible gives plenty of reasons to be what I would call ‘intentional intercessors’.
First and foremost, there is one ultimate intercessor that stands alone, Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. When Adam and Eve had sinned, there was as a result, a great chasm created between God and mankind, because our sins separate us from the holy and just God.
In a demonstration of perfect and unconditional love, God sent his Son to save sinners. Jesus’ death on the cross was the greatest act of intercession in human history. That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Tim 2 “there is one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, who took on human form, and who gave himself as ransom for all.” Peter declares “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). Through his sacrifice, the righteous one (Jesus) “went-between” earth and heaven, God and us (the unrighteous).
One of the wonderful truths of the Gospel is that Christ calls his followers to be His representatives on Earth. John 20:21: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you". The concept of ‘being sent’ embodies the reality of intercession, as both a privilege and a commission received from Christ’s hands. Therefore, as you study and practice law, remember that you are not only called to represent the client; in all your dealings and in all your endeavours, you are also to represent Jesus. You are sent to be salt and light, to be an ambassador of God’s kingdom.
There is another powerful truth that Christianity brings to the work of lawyers as intercessors: Although we often represent clients before a judge or to another party, the Bible teaches that there is a God above all authority, who is powerful, sovereign, loving, and invites us to be in a close relationship with Himself. Have you considered that God is interested in hearing our prayers on behalf of our colleagues, professors, clients, judges?
Christians are meant to live in an intentional way. What we read in the Bible should correct and direct the whole of our lives, including our study and practice of law. A Biblical understanding of intercession should therefore transform the work of a Christian lawyer. We should intercede or represent someone before God not simply because we are paid to do so, but because we know the grace of God towards us in Jesus and, by His Spirit, we are mobilised as intercessors to speak to God on behalf of others, and to speak to others in Jesus’ Name.
How significant then is the intentional Christian intercessor! You might be the only person interceding with God on the part of your course mate, your client, your colleague, your community. What a privilege and responsibility it is to intercede for them! Who might you intercede for today?
As Charles Spurgeon once said, “Jesus knows all about us, but it is a great relief to pour out our hearts before him. In his case there is no need of reserve, there is no fear of his treating you with cold pride, or heartless indifference, or cruel treachery. He is a confidant who never can betray us, a friend who never will refuse us.”
Collins English Dictionary Third Edn 1991 Harper Collins Publishers, Glasgow