This simple blog is devoted to the greatest privilege that man has ever been given; PRAYER.
Jesus, your great high priest, provided the example of how to intercede when He was on earth, and assured you that He continues to intercede even now in heaven (see Heb. 7:25). Therefore, when you intercede, you are following His example. The Bible tells you to intercede, and explains why in 1 Timothy 2:
First of all. then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior (vv. 1-3).
The initiative for intercession comes from God! As an intercessor, you must be sensitive and responsive to the direction of prayer the Holy Spirit places on your heart. When Abraham was interceding for the city of Sodom, God said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (Gen. 18:17). Abraham was trying to save the whole city, not just Lot and his family. God communed with Abraham as a friend.
Intercession has been described as a love response to the prompting of the Holy Spirit for an urgent need. It can be a very simple cry to the Lord for someone you love. All His children are called to participate in this kind of prayer. In Galatians 6:2 we read, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” God is pleased when you are a burden-bearer for others, coming in intercession on their behalf.
Daniel 10 records an instance when Daniel received a message from God concerning a great conflict between the angelic hosts. The Hebrew word translated “message” is sometimes translated “burden.” Often when God gives you a message or a word, there is a heaviness or a burden placed upon you to pray that word into action. Sometimes the directive will be to pray the Word of God. At other times you may be led to do warfare against the enemy forces. Sometimes intercession may cause an anguish of heart, or a wrestling within your spirit.
You must be available to receive a prayer message or prayer burden from God. And when the Lord reveals His secrets to you in this way, it is a holy trust; do not take the matter lightly. If you feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving within your heart, be obedient to cry out to God on behalf of a spiritual leader, a nation or an individual as the Spirit brings names and places to your mind. Effective prayer requires availability, sensitivity and obedience.
Another admonition to intercede is found in 2 Chronicles 7:13-15:
If…My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.
How do you know what to pray for? The Scriptures give you guidelines, and the Holy Spirit brings to you the most urgent requests.
Make me know Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day (Ps. 25:4,5).
The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant (Ps. 25:14).
Begin by asking:
1. Lord, what do You want me to pray for this person today?
2. What is on Your heart?
3. What is the most pressing need?
4. How do You want me to intercede?
You may wonder. How will I know if the Holy Spirit is calling me to pray! The Holy Spirit will show you by words, messages or thoughts that stir your spirit. Sometimes these stirrings will totally surprise you. (See “Hearing God’s Voice,” chapter 4.)
The following are ways to identify a call to pray:
1. The Holy Spirit brings to mind a face, a name, a family, a church, a situation, a nation or a scene.
2. God places a practical need upon your heart; perhaps one you have observed or heard expressed in everyday conversation. (Examples: A friend calls requesting prayer; the news media alerts you to a current event; you can’t get someone off your mind, etc.)
3. Something you witness—such as a car accident, a passing ambulance, a person in obvious need, someone being abused, or a crime taking place—prompts you to pray.
Remember, intercession generally begins and is ended by God. After He gives you a subject or topic to pray about, continue to pray until you feel He wants you to move on to something else. Continue to follow His leading.
Don’t be surprised if occasionally you experience something unusual or unexpected, such as laughter, groans, weeping or travailing sounds. Paul admittedly prayed this way, saying, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19, KJV). Though the emphasis is not on a travailing type of prayer, it does sometimes accompany deep intercession. Many times you may pray in a very authoritative manner over the principalities and powers of the evil, unseen world. The Holy Spirit will set the tone.
When the burden for prayer is lifted, you may experience other emotions, such as peace, joy accompanied with laughter, or tears. Regardless of your feelings, know that your petitions have touched the Father’s heart.
Excerpt from Chapter 3 (Types of Prayer) of “Becoming a Prayer Warrior” by Elizabeth Alves