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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 carry.

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 for granted.

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 polluted.

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 assignments.

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 intercessors!



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