A pleading, urging, or making of a petition in behalf of oneself or another, even one’s enemies; John 9 is considered the great intercessory prayer. “Christ was [and is] the great Intercessor. In like measure, you must make intercession for those who fall short in your life. You should thank God for the opportunity that they give to you to show that charity. It may seem odd to do this when you start. But prayer and grace go together. You will find you are able to pray with sincerity for those in your life after you have spent time on your knees on their behalf. Grace begets grace. Do it, and you will grow as a result.”1 Just as Christ made intercession for all of mankind through the atonement (see 2 Nephi 1:6), so Nephi also makes intercession on behalf of his unbelieving brothers and cried unto the Lord (1 Nephi 1:9) for those who had rejected him. Nephi’s conduct makes him a ‘type’ of Christ. Nephi shows himself to be faithful in the face of adversity. He has been charitable to the critical. As a result of this, he is ready to receive more.2 Christ teaches man to love his enemies, bless those who are trying to do him harm, and pray for his persecutors. This is the only way to become like Him. He is an intercessor. Becoming an intercessor for others is part of one’s development, through grace, to become as He is. It is through this that charity becomes a part of one’s character (see Moroni 7:9), and charity is a necessary attribute in one’s character (see 2 Nephi 11:17).3
Many “great souls” have interceded for their fellow man. Intercession for one’s fellow man, including those who give offense, is one of the hallmarks of the saved soul. This is who Abraham was and why he became a friend of God. “I’ve hesitated to even discuss the exceptions to the rule because everyone wants the exceptions to apply to them. No one wants to comply with the rule. The higher way is, however, found in following the rule. It should be an absolute sacrifice, and a painful one at that, for the exception to be applied in your life. If an inspired condemnation is required at your hand and by your voice, then immediately afterward you should make intercession with the Lord for those condemned. That is the way of those who know the Lord. Those who have been forgiven much — including those who have been forgiven everything — always love much in return (Luke 5:21).”4 Once forgiven, man must forgive. He (or she) must take on himself (or herself) the role of the intercessor by accepting the shame and abuse of this world and must forgive and pray for those who give offenses. Through this, each comes to understand his Lord because he will be like Him.5 Some few will forgive and plead for the weaknesses and failings of others. They will forgive and thereby be forgiven. They will obtain for themselves a judgment based only on mercy, for they will have shown mercy to others. This atoning act of love and intercession will be the hallmark by which the children of God are identified in the Day of Judgment (see Matthew 3:12). Only the peacemakers can be trusted to live in peace with one another. All others are unfit for the presence of God.6 “Sometimes the relief other people need can only come from you. Under inspiration of the spirit, we can relieve the burdens of those around us.”7
1 Second Comforter, 192.
2 Second Comforter, 67.
3 “3 Nephi 12:43–45,” Oct. 16, 2010, blog post.
4 “3 Nephi 12:21–22,” Oct. 11, 2010, blog post.
5 “Forgiving to be Forgiven,” Aug. 3, 2001, blog post.
6 “2 Nephi 30:2,” Aug. 16, 2010, blog post.
7 Preserving the Restoration, 92.