Intercessors are a gift to the Body of
Christ. I believe that one reason they are so hidden is that they do such
strategic work. All ministers interceed - praying about the burden they carry
for their ministry work - but there are those who do not carry a burden of
public ministry as much as they do a private one.
Because we don't see it defined in the
Bible per se, it could be argued if that is even a legitimate Spirit gift name,
but when you get a crowd of them together, you will find some things very common
to them that are not as common with others.
It's often said in prophetic circles
that "All prophets are intercessors, but not all intercessors are prophets."
That is said because of the public ministry work of declarations that are often
made as the performance that fulfills that calling mandate. The other full time
five-fold ministry gifts that are called (Ephesians 4:11-16) pray just as much
as the prophets do about their duties of ministry in fulfilling it.
But there is this wonderful gift of
intercession that serves not only the ministers but also the Body of Christ at
large and their styles and capacities span just as wide as the spectrum of all
the other different ministries as well. Sometimes their burden is for
individuals, sometimes it is for ministries or situtions of Kingdom advancement
and often is all of the above. Many times no one even knows the burdens they
As you fellowship with Christian
brothers and sisters, you start noticing these intercessors and their type of
concerns and lingo. They have compassionate hearts and often very intense
burdens. Many crave their alone time with the Lord so they can pray and finding
that is often one of their biggest battles, especially if their life is full of
other things, too, like family and church and work.
The majority of intercessors are
generally "the quiet type" and most do not advertise what they do but often can
appear as weak because they are so sensitive that they fear they will interfere
with or quench something. They really work to hear and see "between the lines"
of what is being said or done so they can know how to pray.
One of the things that strongly marks
an intercessor is their attention to details. What can seem exhaustive to
someone else is "the nuts and bolts" to the intercessor. When they pray, they go
over every detail imaginable. It can almost seem foolish but their experience
will bear out the wisdom of doing it that way.
The burdens are beyond their personal
social life. When walking into a crowded room of people, the Spirit's Heart will
draw their attention to the ones who need prayer. When someone asks for prayer,
they take it very seriously and are often the "prayer bones" of the local
church. Because they are so quiet and generally unassuming, they often get taken
But as Christians mature, in ministry
and in intercession, the awareness of their ministry will increase. Mature
ministers will recognize their role. Some believe they can be manipulated but
the true ones know and sense the Heart of God and hear His Voice from the crowd.
They know how vital it is to pray with discernment the Scriptures of God.
Today intercessors were on my heart and
I had the joy of meeting with some for lunch and I asked them about what
intercessors need. True to form, their responses were to focus on how to help
others. I was touched.
One of the first things that these
mature ones responded in saying was the importance of hearing from God in the
gift. They emphasized that praise and worship was most often the key that set
the stage for hearing His burdens.
It was emphasized to me that what was
to be prayed for had to be led by God and that He often gave very specific
revelation on what He wanted prayers for. Since Jesus "ever lives to make
intercession for us" it should not surprise us that intercessors would want to
take His lead.
One of the pitfalls they said was to
take on too many burdens. Because of their compassionate hearts, they said it
was often a snare to get into self and take on others' burdens without the
leading of the Spirit.
In other words, it's like getting lost
because we don't have all the directions or we have missed part of them. We
don't get where we want to go or we don't get there "on time." It was said that
when "too much" came in, the best thing to do was to get away and change the
atmosphere or focus until the other distractions died out and they could seek
God for what was "missing."
Obviously there is a discipline to this
as well. If the enemy of our souls can keep us distracted, we will never do the
will of God!
Sometimes the pride of success or pride
in the gift would also be a snare, one said. Until we understand the value and
need of humility and our place in the big picture, the enemy will also try to
pit us there.
Humility of course is not humiliation,
but the understanding that the need is great and that we are nothing without His
enabling to do a part of this great work of global redemption. Each person plays
a part that is so intricately balanced in this work that we must realize how
great our need for one another is in Him.
Another mentioned how praying in the
Spirit, or with the gift of tongues, is vital and our "sword." Since we know not
how to pray ourselves (Romans 8), we pray in the Spirit as submission and for
the impartation that it gives. Once the revelation comes with understanding, the
intercessor holds that need before the Lord until the burden is released.
This is very much a cycle of the
intercessor - receiving the burden, lifting the need before the Lord in a prayer
of agreement with His will until a release is felt, and then trusting for His
answer, even if the answer is not seen immediately.
Learning to trust in this cycle was one
of the marks of maturity. Young intercessors want to see the answers right away
and often do as beginners but as the needs grow and the burdens and insights
from the Lord are shared, learning to trust in real faith is a role of it
because not everything is seen or understood immediately.
Another snare that was brought up was
that as the insights come, there is the desire to talk too much or too soon
about it. Some things are better left unsaid because of the enemy's countering
spirits or even the other person not fully understanding what is being prayed.
This confusion can hurt as well as having the need "open" and vulnerable to
other spirits or opinions.
Another thing that was mentioned is
that "the fire" comes to their lives too, to do a purifying work. The more one
seeks God and finds Him, the purer the praying becomes. Without the
understanding of the maturing process, many intercessions can be aborted or
Another common thing, these mature ones
shared with me, was that they often get assignments. They will get "assignments
of prayer" to pray, either in a time frame or in a burden for an answer until
the burden or assignment lifts. Some prayer burdens are shared by many
intercessors and in the Spirit they take turns "on the wall" of defense. They
don't always know what others are doing but they are very sensitive to their
Some have prayer watches - which can be
different times of day or varying types of burdens. One said that each year at a
certain time of year, the Lord will lay out a focus for the coming year of
things to pray and focus upon.
For some, these things I have just
mentioned seem foreign. But to others, it's a "right on" understanding and
something they feel they can add more to! It's a joy for an intercessor to hear
the answers to their prayers but they said the sign of increased maturity was
learning to trust His leading and care.
One of the things they said could help
intercessors was to know that when God put them in "hiding" that it was not
meant to be forever. They said that there are seasons of hiding and seasons of
coming out. And they mentioned that finding people to share with and become
accountable to - even if they did not always agree on everything - was very
important in the maturing of this gift.
I know what a difference intercessors
have made in my life and to the Body. So I say: God bless the