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Series Theme:  Prayer

Title:   6. Intercessory Prayer


In 1 Tim 2:1 Paul spoke of “intercessions” as one of the forms or intensities of prayer.  In this Part we will consider some introductory thoughts on intercession, prayer that is both passionate and persistent

1. What it is

    In  Ezek 22:30 God said He looked for a man to stand before Him in the gap on behalf of the land. It is a picture of someone who, like Moses in Ex 32:11-14 stood in front of God and pleaded on behalf of sinful Israel.

    Intercession is more than simple prayer, it is urgently and persistently standing before God on behalf of others. Discussions ensue whether it is a gift or not, but without doubt there are those whose hearts are more strongly driven in prayer to urgently and persistently pray through on issues.


     It is said that, comparing intercessors against others, intercessors:
  •   pray longer
  •   pray with more intensity and enjoy prayer more
  •   receive more personal satisfaction from their praying
  •   see more frequent and dramatic answers to their prayers
  •   are acutely aware of hearing quite clearly from God.



2. The Jericho Example

     The illustration of the destruction of Jericho in Josh 6 is a powerful teaching tool when considering the process of intercession.

1. Joshua is instructed to take Jericho v.2

  •  the intercessor senses a call to pray for a specific subject
2. For six days Joshua encircles Jericho. We can now speculate:
  •   on Day 1 he observes the size of the city
  •   by Day 2 he realises the immensity of the city
  •   by Day 3 he begins to doubt his ability to take the city
  •   by Day 4 he almost feels like giving up
  •   by Day 5 he finds a surge of faith coming from God
  •   by Day 6 he realises a new confidence in God to take the city


3. On Day 7 he:
  •   goes round six times - realising what he has been through
  •   goes round once more - as faith reaches its climax
  •   gives a mighty shout of triumph - he KNOWS it is done

     Thus the intercessor senses a call to pray, starts to pray, realises implications of the task, its impossibility and the need for God to move, and a growing realisation that this IS what
    a) God wants to happen and then what
    b) God will do!

    The intercessor aims to pray into a place of faith where they KNOW the will of God and come to a place of faith to claim it.


3. Different Burdens

  Within our church context it is likely that different people will be at different places with the Lord with regard to prayer. Some may not be praying at all, some may be praying weakly or sporadically, while some may be moving towards or be in a place of strong regular, urgent and persistent prayer. These latter ones may perhaps be referred to as intercessors, but even they come in different shades. They may have different burdens to pray, perhaps for:

  •   the local church leadership & needs within the local church
  •   the lost
  •   the state of the nation or particular nations
  •  or even a combination of these.

      It is helpful in encouraging the growth of intercession to recognise that we are all different, are at different places in our calling to prayer and have different burdens from God. Resting in but seeking to develop your own particular calling is essential (see Rom 12:3-6)


4. Helps for Potential Intercessors

4.1 To recognise your calling

  •   experiment with intercession
  •     over a long period, try as much as you can
  •     try as many different ways to pray
  •     ask God to equip you
  •   check your feelings
    •   see if you have a growing desire to pray
  •   check your effectiveness
    •   are you getting divine help to pray on and on
    •   are your prayers being answered over a period
  •   let others (esp.leaders) encourage you

4.2 Personal Determination

  Rom 12:6 It is God's gifting but we determine how we will use it

  •   1 Pet 4:10 encourages us to use it “faithfully” i.e. go on using it
  •   Read books, listen to tapes etc. to stimulate your faith
  •   Find others who are like minded to pray with   

4.3 The Holy Spirit

  •   Jn 7:37-39 we go to God when we are thirsty (for prayer?)
  •   It shows the Spirit will flow like a stream
  •   2 Kings 4:3-6 example of woman - as long as she poured it came
  •   Rom 8:26 He teaches us how to pray
  •   Eph 6:18 tells us to pray in line with the Spirit's leading
  •   He knows the root of the problem AND the answer

4.4 Holding to the truth

  In the face of every difficult situation remember Jesus is Lord!

  •   He upholds this world (Heb 1:3)
  •   He is reigning over all things (1 Cor 15:25)
  •   He is your head (let Him direct you) (Eph 1:22, 4:15)
  •   All gifts come from Him (1 Cor 12:7-)
  •   All my abilities come from Him
  •   I am limited and constantly need His grace
  •   Even when I fail He seeks to restore (1 Jn 2:1)



5. Opposition & Dangers for Intercessors

5.1 Opposition

  •   Doubt, that comes from the enemy. Resist him (Jas 4:7)
  •   Weariness, for battling is weary (Heb 12:3 & Mt 11:28-30)
  •   Temptation to stop, a strategy of the enemy. Don't give up!

5.2 Dangers

The main danger that an intercessor (or anyone else who feels they are moving strongly in the purposes of God) faces is that of a wrong attitude towards others. The following are specific things to avoid: 


  •  I'm special because of my calling  
  •  Pride!
  •  Looks down on others


  •  Sees failures & weaknesses in others
  •  Doesn't handle that properly
  •  James & John syndrome (Lk 9:54)
  •  Lacks grace and mercy

5.3 Overcoming

We can overcome these if we allow the following to prevail in our lives:



  •   We are merely servants of God
  •   We are also to be servants of the body


  •   In knowing our own failures & weaknesses
  •   Knowing we are only saved by God's grace


  •   We continue to serve until HE says stop
  •   Receiving His grace again and again to continue