This is that great Messianic passage where the prophet Isaiah wrote hundreds of years before Jesus lived, died and rose again. Here the prophet says of Jesus that He would die with criminals and while yet dying for the sins of many, Jesus prayed an intercessory prayer for all transgressors...like me and you. Where and when did Jesus pray this intercessory prayer? We know that from the cross, Jesus asked the Father not to hold their sin against them (soldiers and Jewish leaders) for killing Him, which is a way of saying to the Father, “Forgive the sinners who have hurt and killed the Son of God and grant them the grace of God so they might know God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ whom they killed on the cross.” How powerful is that prayer! Even though they hurt Him deeply, mocked Him, spit in his face and eventually placed Him on the cross to die a painful and embarrassing death, even in front of His mother, no less, He prayed for their salvation!
Could you do that?
Could you pray for someone who was about to kill you and who had hurt you terribly?
Could you pray for their salvation and that God would have mercy on them and redeem them from the hell-fire of damnation?
If you could, you then would be through intercessory prayer “pushing back the darkness.” That is what Jesus was doing, interceding for those who killed Him that they might be saved and the darkness of sin in their lives would be pushed back and they would be free of sin and saved for eternity. When you pray for the lost you are praying that sin would be forgiven and darkness taken from their lives.
Now take a look at the passage from John 17:20, where Jesus is probably in the Garden of Gethsemane praying to His Father,