- Distinguish from "inter-session", i.e. "between sessions."
, in both Christianity
, is a prayer
to God on behalf of another person. The nature of intercession in Judaism
In Christian practice, intercessory prayer
is the act of one person praying for or on behalf of another. The prayer intercedes
on behalf of the subject, believing that God will answer the prayer accordingly.
Intercession in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches
- Main article: Intercession of saints; prayer for the dead
In Roman Catholic and Orthodox practice intercession has several senses:
- Prayer for the Living—As among Protestant Christians, intercession commonly refers to a Christian praying to God on behalf of others. This is common to all Christian traditions, though Protestant teaching normally limits intercessory prayer to that on behalf of the living.
- Prayers of the Saints—Intercession may also refer to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox faithful asking members of the Communion of Saints in Heaven to intercede with God on their behalf or that of others. Both Eastern and Western traditions clearly distinguish between the prayer that is offered to the saints ("prayer" means, literally, "to ask"), and the worship that is offered to God alone.
- Prayer for the Departed—Among ancient Christian churches, prayer for the departed has been practiced from ancient times.
- Among Roman Catholics (both Western and Eastern rites), the faithful may pray (and celebrate Mass or Divine Liturgy) in intercession on behalf of those who are in Purgatory, for their speedy reception into Heaven.
- In Eastern Orthodoxy, intercession for the dead is also common, with special services (Panikhidas) and the Divine Liturgy being offered frequently for the departed. However, Orthodox theology has no concept of Purgatory. The Orthodox doctrine of prayer for the departed has been clearly developed, though the Orthodox teach that there are questions which have not yet been answered by divine revelation. The Orthodox accept these as mysteries which will be revealed at the eschaton, and do not normally delve into speculation about them.
Intercession in the Protestant Churches
Intercession in liturgical Protestant churches (as well as in the Anglican Church) is a regular part of the worship service, often spoken by one or more people with the congregation responding, "Hear our prayer." Protestant intercession is usually by the living and for the living, although many Anglo-Catholics and Lutherans share the Roman Catholic belief in the Communion of Saints (see above).
In some evangelical, Pentecostal and charismatic churches, the role of "Intercessor" or "Prayer Warrior" is believed to be a divinely appointed spiritual gift or ministry. The intercessor agrees to take on the burden of another; this kind of prayer is often an intense religious experience. Some well known charismatic intercessors are Joy Dawson and Cindy Jacobs. A notable intercessor in Christian history was Rees Howells, a Welsh minister who Norman Grubb wrote about in the book Rees Howells: Intercessor.
Judaism and intercession
Islam and intercession
In Islam, intercession is known as Shafa'at. The Qur'an makes it abundantly clear that only one person will hold power of intercession in the Final Judgement , Hadith reveals this person as Muhammed (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 3, Number 98). Intermediary prayer in the present time is a contested subject in Islam. Both the Twelvers Shia and Ismaili Shia accept intercession at the levels of Jurispudence and Creed. Sunnis and Zaydī Shia have disagreement on the subject, though on the whole, tend to favor its creedal position. When praying at the Tomb of Muhammad at the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, Muslims clearly state that they pray for Muhammad, and not to him.