For such a time as this, God is raising up intercessors and prayer warriors across the land.
In today’s program we’re going to explore the art of intercessory prayer. Whether you’re a baby Christian, a mature Christian, a prayer warrior, a ministry leader or even a pastor, this program is for you. Most Christians don’t pray anywhere near as much as they should, and this is why they don’t dedicate much prayer time to interceding for others. But today we’re going to learn that intercessory prayer is a very beautiful ministry, the highest form of prayer.
Throughout the Bible, God always raised intercessors to stand in the gap for His people. Intercessory prayer is an extension of the work that Jesus is doing right now as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. And God wants to raise up a mighty company of intercessors across the Church and across the world to protect His people through the Great Tribulation and to make them ready for Jesus’ Second Coming. Let’s get started!
Prayer 101 Review
Before we delve more deeply into the high calling of intercessory prayer, let’s do a very quick recap of the basics. Prayer brings us into the presence of God. Prayer invites God to intervene in our lives for good. It summons the power of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. When we bring our challenges to God in prayer, we’re saying to Him – as Jehoshaphat did – that our eyes are upon Him so that He may fight our battles.
Here are a couple of beautiful Old Testament promises about prayer:
“It shall come to pass
that before they call, I will answer;
and while they are still speaking, I will hear.
2 Chronicles 7:14
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
There are many more promises about prayer in the New Testament, spoken by Jesus Himself:
Matthew 7:7-8 – the same promise is made in Luke 11:9-10
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
This is repeated in Mark 11:24
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
1 John 5:14
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Clearly God is saying: I will answer your prayers if you turn to me with all your heart, if you have faith, if you ask in the name of Jesus, and if you abide in Me, meaning if you’re walking in obedience. Obedience is key. We read in Proverbs 28:9: “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”
Okay, we’ve established that we can pray with confidence and assurance because God does hear and answer our prayers. Let’s now go beyond our own personal prayer and explore the particulars of intercessory prayer.
Famous Intercessors in the Bible
Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorra (Genesis 18:23 onwards): “And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
This Bible passage is in Deuteronomy 9:17-20. Moses had already fasted 40 days and nights without bread nor water before the Lord gave him the Ten Commandments. He comes down and finds the people worshipping the golden calf. Now listen to what Moses said:
“Then I took the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes. And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was angry with you, to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me at that time also. And the Lord was very angry with Aaron and would have destroyed him; so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time.”
Esther intercedes before the King to save the Jews from extinction. “Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?” (Esther 8:3-6)
Job intercedes for his sons and his friends after his affliction. Intercession for his sons: “So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.” (Job 1:5):
Intercession for his friends: “And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” (Job 42:7-8)
By the way, please note that the Lord removed Job’s affliction after he prayed for his friends.
In Daniel Chapter 9, Daniel makes intercession for the Judeans captive in Babylon so that the Lord will keep His promise and end the 70-year captivity according to the prophesy of Jeremiah. This is an excerpt from Daniel’s fervent prayer:
“O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:8-12)
Paul interceded continuously on behalf of the Churches and specific individuals. This is a famous and beautiful prayer on behalf of the Church of Ephesus: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Jesus is our Supreme Intercessor, our High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…” Yet Jesus, The Intercessor, was misunderstood in His intercession. Not until after the resurrection did the disciples begin to understand why He came. Only after His ascension did they begin to understand His work as the great High Priest who pleaded before God for His people.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
What happens when there is no intercessor?
The answer is simple: judgment. Let’s read two examples:
Isaiah 59:16, 18
“He (the Lord) saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. … According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay.”
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.”
Why do we need intercessory prayer?
There are four very important reasons why we need intercessory prayer today:
- Intercessors stand in the gap on behalf of a person or an entire nation to avert judgment upon them and save them from utter destruction. God’s people perish for lack of knowledge, they’re not even aware of their sins and transgressions of God’s law. The intercessor pleads for mercy – that was the essence of Abraham’s, Job’s and Daniel’s prayers that we just discussed. Right now all world nations and world leaders need intercession for rampant iniquity, especially America with our calamitous moral descent.
- Give the Lord the legal right to enter someone’s life. God never forces Himself on anyone. He calls but doesn’t come in if He’s not invited. Therefore the intercessor invites the Lord into that person’s life to give God the legal right to save, deliver or heal that person in answer to the intercessor’s request.
- Intercessors are the guardians, sentinels and gatekeepers of the Church, and of the world for that matter. This is why the Lord is calling intercessors and prayer warriors for such a time as this, when evil and deception have reached an all-time high, to protect His people from the wiles of the devil, detect satanic infiltrators, cover pastors and other church leaders, and summon angelic assistance for outreach and evangelistic activities. The prayer warriors also discern demonic spirits that enter the church and cast them out, such as the Jezebel spirit, the Belial spirit, the Haman spirit, and the spirit of Sanballat and Tobiah.
- To catalyze a revival in the Church so that we can finish the work of spreading the Three Angels’ Message of the Book of Revelation and Jesus can come back again soon. Without prayer, there’s no revival. In our Church we’ve seen how prayer has been the key to transforming the Church. For nearly three years the Prayer Ministry has labored very hard through fasting, intercession, prayer encounters, all-night prayer vigils, and Drive-thru Prayer for the community. In that process a sleeping Church has awakened, we were appointed a new pastor and the pastoral team has grown, we have an army of Bible workers leading Bible studies in the community, and right now as the result of an evangelistic outreach we’re looking at 50+ baptisms. Pastor is the first one to admit that the engine behind all of this is prayer.
Keys for Successful Intercessory Prayer
The Bible gives us some guidance about intercession. We’re encouraged to pray for one another. James 5:16 says:
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” So as we learned earlier, righteousness, obeying God’s commandments and walking with Him in obedience, are critical conditions so that our prayers may be answered. There’s another key given here which is beyond the scope of today’s program which is effectiveness – how to make our prayers effective. That we’ll be discussing in our next program devoted to prayer.
The Book of Matthew Chapter 18 adds a very interesting dimension to the topic of intercession. Let’s read three key passages:
Matthew 18:16 “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word will be established.”
Matthew 18:19 “ Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
What we’re discovering here is the power of coming into agreement with other believers. This of course is true for your own personal prayers, but it has even more relevance in the context of intercession. When at least two intercessors touch and agree on behalf of a petitioner, that prayer will be answered. This is how we’ve implemented Intercessory Prayer Service in our Church. Right after the divine service the prayer intercessors line up in front of the sanctuary and make ourselves available to the congregation for prayer. We make sure that at least two intercessors are praying together on behalf of every petitioner. We do the same with our Drive-thru Prayer Ministry, every car that comes in receives prayer from at least two and usually more intercessors.
There are a couple more keys that Jesus gives us in this chapter: loosing and binding (that’s in verse 18), and forgiveness. If we harbor any resentment or un-forgiveness in our hearts, God will not honor our prayers. In order for us to be forgiven of our sins so that He can hear our prayers, we must forgive others and release whatever offenses they’ve committed against us.
So to recap, in order to be an intercessor that’s acceptable in God’s sight, we need to be: 1) righteous, have a clean and holy lifestyle; and 2) forgiving, so that God in turn can forgive us. If we want more powerful intercession, we need to stand in agreement with other believers on behalf of the person in need.
Rewards of Intercessory Prayer
Prayer is a way of life. It takes time, effort, clean hands and a pure heart to be an intercessor or prayer warrior. Intercession also arouses the enemy’s wrath, so that intercessors are more prone to enemy attack than the average believer. This is why we have techniques to defend ourselves and divert the enemy’s attacks. We’ll discuss some of these in the next program devoted to prayer. But for now, let’s answer these questions: Why go to all the trouble? What are the rewards of being a prayer warrior or intercessor for God’s people? What’s in it for you to answer the call and become a prayer warrior for God’s Kingdom?
- Intercessors typically enjoy favor with the Lord, because we’re ambassadors of His Kingdom and we’re doing His work. This is part of the work that He entrusted to the great prophets and leaders of the Bible.
- When we take care of the Father’s business, He takes care of our business. You’re not wasting your time when you pray for other people, the Church, the poor, souls lost in darkness, world leaders and nations.
- You become stronger to resist temptation. When you spend enough time in the throne room the things of this world lose their appeal. As the hymn says: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
- Your character improves from spending time in the presence of the Lord. He rebukes and chastises you and shows you everything in yourself that is displeasing to Him. Then He gives you Holy Spirit power to overcome. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
- You will be making a difference in people’s lives, and even in the life of a nation. Your prayers might help lighten their someone’s burdens, give them their breakthrough, and deliver them from bondage. You reclaim souls back from the kingdom of darkness.
- As you stand in the gap on behalf of a people or a nation you will help to ward off God’s judgment, possibly averting national ruin or a natural catastrophe.
- You enter into the counsels of God. God reveals things to you. He tells you what the root cause of the problem is, how to pray in each case, what are the open doors that give the enemy legal right, what are the demonic spirits ruling over that person, and what is God’s vision for that person’s life so that you may prophesy that over them and speak it into existence.
- As a prayer warrior on the battlefield you learn how to recognize the enemy’s deceptions. It looks like an illness and there’s even a medical diagnosis with a known condition but in reality it’s an attack from the demonic realm. It looks like an accident but in reality it was supernaturally engineered to steal, kill or destroy. But you’re able to recognize it and call it out for what it is.
- The Holy Spirit trains you in how to gain victory in spiritual warfare. He teaches you how to protect yourself and fight off the enemy’s attacks. You learn how to summon angelic assistance. You’re able to overrule Satan’s evil plan for your life or the lives of others. You start to walk in the power and authority that Jesus has delegated to you as a believer.
- And last but not least, you have the awesome privilege of being an extension of Jesus’ ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary. This is the highest calling, to present God’s people before the throne of grace to obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
For such a time as this
God is calling forth intercessors and prayer warriors to stir up a mighty revival in the land. We need to fend off the severe judgments that are coming. We need to protect God’s people from the persecution that is already starting. And we need to finish the work so that Jesus can come back to take us all home. Are you willing to answer the call for such a time as this? Are you willing to become a part of God’s endtime army? If you’re willing and ready, join or start the prayer ministry in your church or your community. Join or start a prayer line. The time is now, you have been called for such a time as this.
If you’ve been blessed by today’s program, please make a donation so that we may continue to do the Lord’s work and share this program with your friends. May the Lord bless you as you give and share.