In Exodus 28:9-21 we read God’s instructions to Moses about two parts of the high priest’s apparel. He was to bear two stones upon his shoulders, one on each side. The names of six of the tribes of Israel were inscribed on one stone, and six on the other. In addition, he was to wear a breastplate with twelve more stones attached, this time each stone inscribed with the name of one tribe. As the high priest carried out his duties in the tabernacle, in a symbolic way he bore the people of Israel with him before the Lord. Verse 12 says, “… Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.” It was a symbolic type of what intercessors do when they carry others before the throne.
I had never thought about this until, one day, the Lord brought it to my attention. My pastor and his wife were very much on my mind, even though I needed to pray about some other things right then. I said, “Lord, You know that even when I am not specifically praying for them, I carry Pastor _______ and ________ into the throne room with me. They’re always with me, and I want to constantly remind You of them.” Immediately, the high priest bearing the stones with the engraved names upon his shoulders came to mind. I then remembered that in my early days as an intercessor, a prophet had prayed for me that I would have strong shoulders to bear the weight of the intercessions I would someday carry. For quite a few days after, whenever I went to prayer, I “saw” myself coming before the throne with the high priest’s stones upon my shoulders, and I understood how important my intercessions really are.
It was sometime down the road from that revelation that God spoke to me about the stones on the high priest’s breastplate, and that not only did I bear my pastor and his wife upon my shoulders, but upon my heart as well. Having the priestly calling to bear those we are interceding for upon our hearts is the reason why we love the ones we pray for so dearly.
As an added thought on an entirely different line, I have an idea that the reason that Jesus said, “Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44), was because He knew that we can’t help but love those we pray for.
This wraps up the Just for Intercessors series. I hope that you have found something here that will be useful to you or that will confirm what you have already personally learned from the Lord. If you have any questions, comments, or additional insights, I’d love to hear from you.
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Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual