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"And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:27).

And He Who Searches The Hearts

The heading speaks of God The Father. Actually, all three persons of The Trinity search the heart: 

  • God The Father (1 Chronicles 28:9; Jeremiah 17:10)
  • The Son (Revelation 2:23)
  • And The Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10)

However, there is a progression of order here that is not to be ignored. Even though The Holy Spirit is God and, consequently, knows all things, still, His purpose and agenda is to carry out the will of God in our lives, even as the last phrase in this very verse proclaims. One could say that The Father orchestrates, the Son institutes, and The Spirit executes. 

Knows What Is The Mind Of The Spirit

The heading refers to the special means of communication, which can refer to praying in tongues but not necessarily so. The idea is that God The Father, Who searches the hearts of His saints, understands the intent or bent of our unutterable prayers. They are unutterable because we do not know the particular things for which we should pray in connection with a certain circumstance. God The Father knows the mind of The Holy Spirit praying for us – and in our stead – according to the plan for our lives. Even though the text is speaking of the personal work of The Holy Spirit on behalf of the saints, on a general basis, at this particular time (2018), that which The Holy Spirit is presently saying to the churches I personally believe is the message of The Cross. In other words, the church should come back to The Cross. I say come back, but the church has never really been there to begin with.  

Because He Makes Intercession For The Saints According To The Will Of God

The heading refers to the the fact that The Holy Spirit is ensconced within our hearts and lives to carry out God's will and not our will. The Holy Spirit is not there to do our bidding but the bidding of The Father, simply because The Father knows what we need. The idea of all of this is two-fold:

  1. The will of God. For The will of God to be carried out in the life of the believer, there must be a strong prayer life involved. As well, our faith must be anchored exclusively in Christ and what He has done for us at The Cross. The will of God always begins at The Cross, and for us to have that will and to know that will, we must, first of all, understand The Cross of Christ respecting not only salvation but also our sanctification. 
  2. The plan of God. God has a plan for the entirety of the world as well as a plan for each believer. This plan is ever the priority of The Spirit respecting our hearts and lives. He has the overall plan in mind as well as our personal involvement in that plan. He is there for one purpose: realizing this that God desires. As we have stated, this plan can only be worked out as we understand that The Cross of Christ makes everything possible. In other words, for every single thing that The Lord gives us, it is The Cross of Christ that opened that door. For the believer to work at odds for that which The Lord desires – and I speak of having faith in something other than Christ and The Cross – only creates conflict. 

The Cross of Christ

Paul said, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7) In the Greek, the word enmity is echtra and means "hostility, opposition, hatred." The carnal mind means anything other then faith in The Cross of Christ. This places such an individual in a very precarious situation. To be at odds with a fellow human being is one thing, but to be at odds with God is something else altogether. The believer must understand the following: man is in a dilemma in which he cannot extricate himself. In other words, he has no solution. God has all the solution and all the means and ways. It is only possible by The Cross. When man seeks to find another way, even as Cain did so long ago, this angers God. It puts the person at odds with The Lord. It creates hostility. So, let me say it again: one cannot know the plan of God for one's life until one's faith is anchored exclusively in Christ and what Christ did for us at The Cross. Anything else frustrates the grace of God and, thereby, shuts the door to all that The Holy Spirit desires to do for us. The patriarch, Jacob, is a perfect example. When his life was changed, it was the result of a wrestling match with God, which, in effect, was caused by self-will (Genesis 32). In fact, self-will is a major problem in the lives of all believers. Someone has said, and rightly so, that when Jesus died on Calvary, He died there not only to save us from sin but also from self. 

The Ministry of Intercession

Even though Romans 8:26-27 speaks primarily of intercession made by The Holy Spirit on our behalf, still incorporated in the text is the intercession that The Holy Spirit promotes in the hearts of praying believers as they intercede for others. Actually, it is in this manner alone that various moves of God take place all over the world. That is the reason for revival in certain areas, for movings and operations of The Holy Spirit in certain parts of the world, and even for conviction respecting individuals. None of that just happens – it is carried out with the ministry of intercession on the part of believers. Of course, as stated, The Holy Spirit is the One Who executes all of this. To be a little clearer, the point I am attempting to make is that every single person in the world who is saved and every move of God that takes place somewhere (anywhere) has been brought about by intercession on the part of believers in some way. Believers doing the interceding may have been very much acquainted with the people or situation or not acquainted with them at all. Even so, The Holy Spirit would begin to move upon the believer's heart respecting intercession for certain people, certain areas, or certain parts of the world. Many times, these are areas where the intercessor has never been. At the same time, The Holy Spirit is probably moving on a number of intercessors all over the word respecting this particular area or place with none of these people acquainted with each other and, yet, The Holy Spirit is acquainted with all. 

The Authority Of The Believer

Even though The Lord needs nothing, He has allowed believers a very prominent part in the carrying out of His great plan on the earth. Actually, involvement of believers in that plan is of such magnitude that if we fall down at our task, the work of God is greatly hindered. Even though God's plan is ultimately realized – albeit sometimes delayed – what the believer does still affects that plan greatly, whether in a positive or negative sense. The believer's great part in this is characterized as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). Incidentally, as an aside, every believer in the world has spiritual authority. Of course, some have more than others; however, this spiritual authority is never over other people but always over Satan and his spirits of darkness – be they demons or fallen angels, etc. Unfortunately, some have tried to claim spiritual authority for individuals, and, as such, they should be obeyed no matter what they say. Nothing could be further from the truth. While we are to love every single believer in the world, our allegiance belongs to The Lord and none other. Paul said regarding this very thing, "Owe no man any thing (carries the idea that Christians do not owe their brethren in The Lord the same obedience that is owed civil rulers [Romans 13:1-7]), but to love one another (proclaims the only requirement between believers): for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law (pertains to what the law of Moses intended but wasn't able to bring about; it can be done under Christ and Christ alone)" (Romans 13:8).


In the Hebrew, intercession is pagha, and it means "to make intercession, to strike upon or against, to assail anyone with petitions, to urge, and, on behalf of another, to intercede" (Genesis 23:8; Ruth 1:16; Job 21:15; Isaiah 53:12; Jeremiah 7:16; 27:18; 36:25). In the New Testament, a similar word is used in Greek – enteuxis – among several other Greek words that mean "to come between, to interpose on behalf of, to intercede" (Romans 8:26-34; 1 Timothy 2:1; 4:5) Actually, the Greek word entughano is found in Romans Chapter 8. 

Man's Intercessions For His Fellow Man

​Many such prayers are recorded inScripture: 

  • The sacrificial act of Noah may have been partly of this nature, for it is followed by a promise of God on behalf of the race and the earth at large (Genesis 8:20-22)
  • Abraham's prayer for Ishmael (Genesis 17:18)
  • Abraham's prayer for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-33)
  • Abraham for Abimelech (Genesis 20:17)
  • Jacob's blessings of Joseph's sons is also of the nature of intercession (Genesis 48:8-22)His dying blessings of his sons is hardly to be regarded as intercessory. It is, rather, declarative. Although, in the case of Joseph, it does approach intercession.

The absence of distinct intercessory prayer from Abraham to Moses is to be observed and shows, at least in part, the spiritual apathy of the time. In Moses, however,the social element finds a further development and is interesting as taking up the spirit of the father of the faithful, namely Abraham. Intercessory ministry of Moses is revealed in his prayer for the removal of the plagues regarding Egypt (Exodus 15:25), for water at Rephidim (Exodus 17:4), for victory over Amalek (Exodus 17:8-16), and prayer for the people after the golden calf (Exodus 32:11-14, 21-34: 33:12). There are many other instances as well. 


None of these prayers of Moses are perfunctory. They are all vivid and passionate utterances of a man full of divine enthusiasm and love for his people. It is intercession wrung from a great and devout soul on occasion of deep and critical importance.

In the history of Joshua, we found only a prayer for the people after the sin of Achan (Joshua 7:6-9), although the communications from God to Joshua are numerous. A faint intercessory note may be heard in Deborah's song as well (Judges 5:13). Gideon's prayer seemed to echo something of the words of Moses (Judges 6:13). Manoah's prayers may be noted also (Judges 13). However, for the most part, from Moses to Samuel, even as it had been from Abraham to Moses, there seems to have been very little intercession. Again, this shows the spiritual climate of that period. 

​The Kings And The Prophets

Samuel is the real successor of Moses and, in connection with his life, intercession again appears more distinct and effective. His mother Hannah's song, for instance, though chiefly of thankfulness, is not without the intercessory spirit (1 Samuel 2:1-11). There is also Samuel's prayer at Mizpeh (1 Samuel 7:5) and the recognition by the people of Samuel's place (1 Samuel 7:8). Going to others, one must note David's prayer for deliverance of the people from pestilence (2 Samuel 24:17); Solomon's prayer for wisdom to govern the people (1 Kings 3:5-15); Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:12-61); Elijah's prayer for the widow's son (1 Kings 17:20); Elijah's prayer for rain (1 Kings 18:42); Elisha's prayer for the widow's son (2 Kings 4:33); and Hezekiah's prayer (2 Kings 19:14-19). Of course, there are many more of which we do not have space to enumerate. Also, the poetic books furnish a few examples of intercessory prayer: Job's intercession for his children (Job 1:5); and The Lord's command that Job should pray for his friends even though they had not been very kind to him (Job 42:8). In the prophetic books, a note of intercession also appears. The prophet, though primarily a messenger from God to man, has also something of the character of the intercessor (Isaiah 6). In Jeremiah 42:2, the prophet consents to the request of Johanan to seek The Lord on behalf of the people. The book of Lamentations is naturally conceived in a more constantly recurring spirit of intercession. In the prophecies, Jeremiah has been the messenger of God to the people. However, after the catastrophe, in his sorrow, he appeals to God for mercy upon them (Lamentations 2:20; 5:1-19). Ezekiel, in the same way, is rather the seer of visions and a prophetic representative of God. Yet, at times, he appeals to God for the people (Ezekiel 9:8; 11:13).

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Intercession In The New Testament

In the New Testament, all prayer necessarily takes a new form from its relation to our Lord, and, in these supplications before God, intercessory prayer plays a part. At the outset, Jesus teaches prayer on behalf of those "...which despitefully use you,..." (Matthew 5:44). How completely does this change the entire spirit of prayer? We breathe a new atmosphere of a high revelation of love as characterized by Christ. As well, The Lord's Prayer, (Matthew 6:9-13) is of this character. In fact, Christ's high priestly prayer is the most sublime height of prayer to God and is intercessory throughout (John 17). 

The Entrance Of The Holy Spirit

Although The Holy Spirit has always been involved in man's prayer and petition to the Heavenly Father and, as well, in intercession, His filling the hearts of believers after the day of Pentecost, due to what Jesus did at Calvary, puts a brand new perspective on this ministry. It is even as we are now studying in Romans 8:26-27. While it seems as if the entirety of the text is devoted to the Spirit Himself interceding on behalf of believers, still, the word helps and the phrase, "for we know not what we should pray for as we ought," (verse 26) lets us know that He is actually the One who energizes the believer respecting intercession on behalf of others. Actually the Divine Spirit is said to be a Spirit of supplication (Zechariah 12:10). We see this intercession at work throughout the entirety of the Book of Acts. Hence, the prayers of the early church believers become intercession at times, involving the wider outlook on others and on the world at large, which Christianity has bestowed on men. Actually, they literally breathe The Spirit (Acts 2:24-30; 6:6; 7:60; 8:24; 9:40; 12:5-12; 13:3; 14:23; 15:40; 20:36).

The Intercession of Christ

Even though this ministry of Christ is on a far higher plane than that of believers, still, the example is very prominent before all. The general conception of Our Lord's mediatorial office is especially summed up in His intercession, in which He appears in His High Priestly office and also as interceding with the Father on behalf of that humanity of whose cause He has espoused. The function of the priesthood, which was meant to emulate Christ as developed under Judaism, involved the position of meditation between man and God. The priest represented man and, on man's behalf, approached God, thus he offered sacrifice, interceded, and gave to the offerer, whom He represented, the benediction of Divine acceptance. In other words, forgiveness by The Lord was tendered toward the sinning soul. 

How Christ Intercedes On Our Behalf

Paul wrote, "But this man (The Lord Jesus Christ)​, because he continueth ever (proclaims the priesthood of Christ as eternal, while death was inevitable as it regarded the Aaronic priests), hath an unchangeable priesthood (this not only refers to that which is eternal but to that which will not change as far as its principle is concerned as well; the reason is the finished work of The Cross is an everlasting covenant [Hebrews 13:20]). Wherefore he (The Lord Jesus Christ) is able also to save them to the uttermost (proclaims the fact that Christ alone has made the only true atonement for sin; He did this at The Cross) that come unto God by him (proclaims the only manner in which man can come to God), seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them  (His very presence on the right hand of The Father guarantees such, with nothing else having to be done [Hebrews 1:3])(Hebrews 7:24-25). 

The Sacrifice Of Christ

The sacrifice of Christ has been accepted, and the very presence of Christ at the throne of God proves this. As well, His intercession on our behalf does not refer to certain particulars carried out by Himself, for the work has already been done. In other words, His very presence at the throne of God guarantees all on our behalf that is needed. We must remember that Calvary was a finished work. If a person wants to know what the intercessory work of Christ is, he only has to look at the prayer of David – the prayer of repentance listedin Psalm 51. In this prayer, Our Lord becomes as us, thereby interceding on our behalf. Actually, the prayer is threefold:

  1. As is obvious, it is David's prayer of repentance as it regardshisterrible sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah.
  2. The prayer also characterizes Israel when she will cry to God – a cry of repentance during the battle of Armageddon, which will precipitate the second coming of The Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, this will also be Israel's cry and prayer of repentance. 
  3. Above all, this prayer pictures and portrays intercessory prayer of Christ – all on our behalf. It has already been prayed, and our looking to Him guarantees the answer to that prayer. 

The Work Of Christ

As in sacrifice, so in the work of Christ we find the proprietary rights of the offerer in the sacrifice. For man, Christ is one with man and, yet, in His own personal right, offers Himself (Romans 5; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 2:11). There was also a transfer of guilt and its conditions, typically by laying hands on the animal called the scapegoat, which then bore the sins of the offerer and was presented to God by the priest. The acknowledgement of sin and the surrender to God is completely fulfilled in Christ's offering of Himself at His death (Leviticus 3:2, 8, 13; 16:21; Isaiah 53:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Our Lord's intercessory quality in the sacrifice of Himself is not only indicated by the imputation of guilt to Him as representing the sinner but also in the victory of His life over death, which is then given to man in God's acceptance of Christ's representation and the substitution of Himself. 

Its Intercessory Character

In the epistle to the Hebrews, the intercessory character of our Lord's High priestly office is transferred to the heavenly condition and work of Christ where the relation of Christ's work to man's condition is regarded as being still continued in the heavenly place (Hebrews 9:11-28). This entrance into heaven is once for all, and in the person of the high priest, the way is open to the very presence of God. From one point of view (Hebrews 10:12), the priestly service of The Lord was concluded and gathered up into His kingly office (Hebrews 10:13-18). From another point of view, we, in a sense, are bidden to enter into the holiest place as if, in union with Christ, we too become a kingly priesthood (Hebrews 10:19-22; 1 Peter 2:9). 

The Right Of Entrance

It must not be forgotten, however, that this right of entrance into the most holy place – the very throne of God – is one that depends entirely upon our vital union with Christ. He appears in heaven for us and us with Him, and, in this sense, he fulfills the second duty of His high priestly office as intercessor, with the added conception drawn from the legal advocacy of the Roman court. We must understand that this right and privilege of going into the very throne of God – which actually belongs to every believer – is made possible totally and completely by Christ and what He did for us at The Cross. Once again, it's The Cross that opens the door to everything, even the very throne of God. The term "Advocate" in1 John 2:1 is, in the Greek, parakletos, which, in John 14:16, is translated "Comforter". The word has a familiar use in Greek for the legal advocate in Roman law who appeared on behalf of his client. Thus, in the double sense of priestly and legal representation, our Lord is our intercessor in heaven. In other words, He guarantees our salvation and redemption, which is all made possible by The Cross. His legal representation is guaranteed by the seal of promise given by The Holy Spirit. Concerning this, Paul said: "And that he (Christ) might reconcile both (Jews and Gentiles) unto God in one body (the church) by the cross (it is by the atonement only that men ever become reconciled to God), having slain the enmity thereby (removed the barrier between God and sinful man): And came and preached peace to you which were afar off (proclaims the Gospel going to the Gentiles), and to them that were nigh (this refers to the Jews; it is the same message, however, for both – Jews and Gentiles). For through him (through Christ) we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access by one Spirit unto the Father (If the sinner comes by The Cross, The Holy Spirit opens the door. Otherwise, it is barred [John 10:1])" (Ephesians 2:16-18). 

The Manner Of His Representation

Of the modes in which Christ carries out His intercessory office, we can have little knowledge except so far as we may fairly deduce them from the phraseology and suggested ideas of Scripture. As high priest, it may surely be right for us to aid our weak faith by assuring ourselves that Our Lord pleads for us and does so by His very appearance at the throne of God without actually having to say anything. At the same time, we must be careful not to deprave our thoughts concerning the glorified Lord by metaphors and analogies of earthly relationship. To be sure, His intercession on our behalf is done on a much higher plane and level that we can too very well comprehend. Consequently, the intercessory work of Christ may be represented in these ways: He represents man before God in His perfect nature, His exalted office, and His completed work. The Scripture for this is, "...to appear in the presence (before the face) of God for us:" (Hebrews 9:24). This is the office of our Lord as advocate or parakletos. This conveys some relation to the aid one who has broken the law receives from an advocate, and that cannot be overlooked. We find Christ's intercession in this aspect brought into connection with the text, which referred to justification and its allied ideas (Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1). 

The Manner Of Intercession And Representation

Whatever else it may include, the following must be a part of that which The Lord does for us as our personal representative in heaven: 

  • His appearing before God on our behalf, as the sacrifice for our sins, as our High Priest on the ground of Whose work we receive the remission of our sins, the gift of The Holy Spirit
  • Defense against the sentence of the law and the charge of Satan who is the great accuser 
  • His offering of Himself as our surety, not only that the demands of justice shall be shown to be satisfied but that His people shall be obedient and faithful 
  • The oblation of the persons of the redeemed, sanctifying their prayers and all of their services and rendering them acceptable to God through the savor of His own merits. 
  • Even this expression of the elements that constitute the intercession of Our Lord on our behalf, cautious and spiritual as it is in its application to Christian thought and worship, must be carefully guarded from a too complete and materialistic use. Without this care, worship and devout thought may be degraded and fall into the mechanical forms by which our Lord's position of intercessor has been reduced to very little more that an imaginative and spectacular process that goes on in some heavenly place. It must not be forgotten that the metaphorical and symbolic origin  of the ideas which constitute Christ's intercession (for instance, the duties of the high priest of old) is always in danger of dominating and materializing the spiritual reality of his intercessional office. Nevertheless, even though of necessity, our understanding is limited. The example portrayed by Christ in His intercessory role on our behalf should at least produce in us a love for the lost and especially for our fellow believers. While we may not understand all the He has done, is doing , and shall do, we still know that His intercession on our behalf is total and complete. Of that, we can be certain (The author is indebted to L. D. Bevan for his excerpts from his insights on the intercession of Christ.)

 'Tis God The Spirit leads

in paths before unknown;

The work to be performed is ours 

The strength is all His own.

Supported by His grace,

We still pursue our way;

And hope at last to reach the prize,

Secure in endless day.

'Tis He Who works to will,

'Tis He Who works to do;

This is the power by which to act,

This is the glory too.

How The Holy Spirit Works
Chapter 8
​The Mind Of The Holy Spirit