As Christians, we often hear about the importance of standing in the gap for others, interceding on their behalf, and defending our faith. This concept, found in the Bible, refers to the role of an intercessor or advocate, someone who represents others before God, especially in times of need or crisis. But who is truly qualified to stand in the gap? How can we know if we possess the characteristics and faith necessary to fulfill this critical role?
In this blog post, we will explore the qualifications of an individual who is called to stand in the gap, drawing from the teachings and examples found in the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible. By examining these qualifications, we will better understand the responsibility and privilege of interceding on behalf of others and standing firm in our faith.
The Biblical Origin of Standing in the Gap
The concept of standing in the gap originates from Ezekiel 22:30, where God is seeking someone to intercede for the people of Israel: “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30, NKJV). In this passage, God is looking for an individual to act as a spiritual “wall” to prevent His judgment from falling upon the people due to their sins.
Qualifications of an Intercessor
There are several qualifications we can glean from the Bible to determine who is capable of standing in the gap.
A Righteous Life
To intercede effectively on behalf of others, one must lead a righteous life. James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (NKJV). Living a life that is pleasing to God allows our prayers to carry more weight and significance.
A Humble Heart
Humility is a vital characteristic for those who wish to stand in the gap. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (NKJV). A humble heart is necessary to approach God in prayer and intercession.
Persistence in Prayer
An effective intercessor is persistent in their prayers. In Luke 18:1, Jesus teaches His disciples “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (NKJV). Standing in the gap requires perseverance and unwavering commitment to prayer.
A Burden for Others
A true intercessor carries a burden for others, deeply caring for their well-being and spiritual growth. Paul demonstrates this in Romans 9:2-3, stating, “I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (NKJV). This deep compassion for others is essential when standing in the gap.
A Close Relationship with God
An intercessor must have a close relationship with God to be effective in their role. Jesus is the ultimate example of this, as He is our High Priest, constantly interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25). To stand in the gap, we must be intimately connected with God, seeking His guidance and understanding His heart.
Biblical Examples of Those Who Stood in the Gap
Throughout the Bible, we find numerous examples of individuals who stood in the gap for others. These individuals demonstrate the qualifications we have discussed and inspire us to follow in their footsteps.
Moses is a prime example of someone who stood in the gap for the Israelites. After they created a golden calf to worship while Moses was on Mount Sinai, God threatened to destroy them (Exodus 32:9-10). Moses interceded on their behalf, pleading with God to spare them and reminding Him of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 32:11-14). Moses’ intercession demonstrates his humility, close relationship with God, and burden for his people.
Abraham also stood in the gap when he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah. Aware of God’s intention to judge these cities for their wickedness, Abraham boldly approached the Lord in Genesis 18:23-33. He pleaded with God to spare the cities if there were even ten righteous people living there. Through his persistent prayer and concern for others, Abraham showed his qualifications as an intercessor.
Esther, a Jewish queen in the Persian Empire, risked her life to stand in the gap for her people. When she learned of a plot to annihilate the Jews, Esther fasted and prayed before approaching King Ahasuerus to plead for her people’s lives (Esther 4:16). Her willingness to sacrifice herself for others and her reliance on prayer demonstrate her qualifications as an intercessor.
Daniel is another example of someone who stood in the gap for his people. In Daniel 9:3-19, he prayed fervently for the nation of Israel, confessing their sins and seeking God’s forgiveness. Daniel’s righteous life, close relationship with God, and burden for his people made him an effective intercessor.
Standing in the gap is a vital responsibility for Christians, as it allows us to intercede on behalf of others and defend our faith. To be qualified to stand in the gap, we must lead righteous lives, possess humble hearts, be persistent in prayer, carry a burden for others, and maintain a close relationship with God. By examining biblical examples like Moses, Abraham, Esther, and Daniel, we can better understand the characteristics and faith necessary to fulfill this crucial role.
As we strive to become effective intercessors, let us remember that Jesus Christ is the ultimate example and our High Priest who continually intercedes for us. By following His example and seeking His guidance, we can become qualified to stand in the gap for others.
May we all be inspired to grow in our faith, develop the necessary qualifications, and embrace the responsibility of standing in the gap for our families, communities, and world. As we do, we will play a crucial part in furthering God’s kingdom and bringing His healing, forgiveness, and grace to those in need.