"Standing in the Gap"?
What Does That Mean?
You hear many pastors, teachers, intercessors, etc. using the phrase "standing in the gap" when referring to praying for others; but my experience is that many praying people don't really understand the meaning of that phrase or what it has to do with "intercession". Hopefully, this short teaching will answer some of those questions.
The word "intercede" comes from the Latin "inter" meaning "between" and "ced" meaning "go". So it literally means "go between".
Think of a brick wall, in particular, the mortar in the joints between the bricks. That mortar "goes between", or "intercedes", between the bricks to bind them together and strengthen them. Without the mortar "going between" the bricks, the wall would collapse.
If you want to break down that wall, the easiest way is to start where there are gaps in the mortar. You start chopping and chipping at those sections and soon the entire wall will lack the support it needs and will give way.
That's just what the enemy of our souls does. He and his cohorts look for those weaknesses in us -- places where there are gaps or chinks in our personalities or spiritual armor. Even if we are not consciously aware of those areas, our enemies are! They have spent years watching us, studying us -- looking for those things that cause offense in us, or where we've compromised truth for self-advancement or exaltation. They know where the pride, contentious and resentful triggers are, or where we're vulnerable to a religious spirit or divisive spirit. And they know which people, incidents and conditions are most likely to have the greatest impact and cause us to lose our spiritual balance.
They don't target the areas where we're strong; that would be spiritual suicide for them. They target our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our besetting sins [our friends & family members may not know about them, but the spiritual forces in the heavenly places do!]. They look for old recently-healed or not-yet-healed emotional wounds, or habits about which we feel some shame or guilt [like smoking, gluttony, too much TV, too much internet or social networking, etc.], or those matters we've confessed to others as being weaknesses or problems in our lives.
So, when we intercede for one another, our chief purpose is to fill in those gaps in one another's spiritual armor and hold up that person so the enemy can't gain an advantage over them. Likewise, when we fail to intercede for one another, we're virtually giving the key to that person's spiritual house to his/her enemies for them to wreak havoc, to steal that person's peace or joy or health or even their financial security.
Just as we wouldn't build a brick wall and intentionally leave gaping holes in the cement joints, I would go so far as to say it's malicious for us to not "go between" / "stand in the gap" for our brothers, sisters, and our religious and political leaders. Jesus said, "By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another." [John 13:35] How can we say we love one another and not pray for each other?! It's impossible! It's a contradiction and a lie!
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another,
that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Copyright © 2010 Rev. Linda Smallwood