Does Jesus pray for us now?
The prayer life of the Lord Jesus (handled in a previous article in this issue) is a beautiful subject and is worthy of the consideration of every believer. This question posed to us now takes us beyond His exemplary earthly prayer life and into the current sphere which the risen, ascended Christ of God occupies and where He is active.
Indeed, Christ is very active on our behalf in the heavenly sphere, and His work is ongoing and unceasing. We’ll stop short of saying that Christ “prays” for us in His current ministry, as He has fully entered into His place as Advocate and Priest, and it seems that the very general term “pray” is connected to the earthly sphere. We are unable to find a reference to Christ’s “praying” for us while He is in heaven, though it can be said with certainty that His current ministry in heaven is perfectly consistent with the prayers of Christ for His own while He was here on earth (e.g., compare John 17:11-13 with Hebrews 7:25, and Luke 22:31-32 with Hebrews 2:18).
As stated, when we consider the heavenly ministry of Christ for the individual believer, we typically think upon Him as our Advocate (1Jn 2:1-2) and Priest (Heb 4:14-16). When the context and substance of these two references are considered, it becomes apparent that His Advocacy is in relation to our present sins, and His Priesthood is in relation to our current weaknesses.
Scripture is clear that the believer is to maintain a sanctified life (Rom 6:11,19,22), forsaking sin (Rom 6:1-2) and keeping oneself pure (1Jn 3:3). Yet sadly, we do sin, and when we do, the joy of fellowship is interrupted. But “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (KJV), who is Himself “the propitiation for our sins,” and He pleads for us before the Father. He doesn’t plead that our sin would be overlooked, excused or ignored, but He approaches the Father in righteousness, on our behalf, on the value of His own sacrifice, that our fellowship might be restored. Our Advocate (paraklētos) in heaven comes alongside to help us, just as the Spirit does on earth (Joh 14:16,26).
Upon His ascension into heaven, Christ fully entered into His office of Priest, “ever living to make intercession” for us (Heb 7:25). The epistle to the Hebrews takes us into the very expansive subject of the Priesthood of Christ. Staying within the scope of the question, as our Great High Priest, we learn that He succours them that are tempted (2:18), He sympathizes with His own (4:15), He has compassion on us (5:2), He saves to the uttermost, or to completion (7:25), He appears in the presence of God for us (9:24), and He makes it possible for us to “draw near” (10:22). This He does, and more, without ceasing or growing weary!
It may be that many readers wake up each morning and silently express, “What will I do for Christ today?” Perhaps, with this brief consideration on His current ministry in heaven, we will add to that the sobering yet valid sentiment, “What will Christ do for me today?”