To intercede means to implore God on behalf of another. In other words, to do for others what they might not be able to do for themselves prayer-wise. Intercession is a vital aspect of a prayer life. To not intercede is to deprive others of their blessings that God has ordained to come through us via the activity of intercession. Take up the challenge today to consistently pray for others in the name of Jesus Christ. We would therefore explore various hints that could help you in your commitment to intercession.
Hint #1:- Intercede With The Power Of The Holy Spirit
It is foolhardy to think that one can do anything worthwhile, praying inclusive, without the power that the Holy Spirit gives. The scriptures records in the book of Job 32:8b that it is God's breath (a picture of the Spirit) that gives men understanding. There are various issues involved in intercession which includes how to pray most effectively at a given time. You need the Spirit's power operating strongly within you to know this and for you to do accordingly.
God has promised to spring into action in response to our praying but we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to lead us on in the task of Intercession. You need the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; you also need to know that you are merely a vessel for the expression of God's concern for others. The Holy Spirit stimulates you to intercede by giving you a burden to intercede from God and he can also show you how long it would take to take care of the burden. Recognize that the Holy Spirit is the enabler within us and that it is his power that makes what we pray about come to pass.
Hint #2:- Intercede By Seeing From God's Point Of View
Since intercession involves sharing God's concern, it therefore involves seeing from God's viewpoint. This implies that the priority of the intercessor is to be close to God. The Lord promised in his word that if we draw near to him, he will draw near to us. To correctly pray for others, we have to correctly see the situation as God sees it. Everything bad needs prayer to make it good, and everything good needs prayer so that it won't turn bad. Nothing and nobody (on the earth) is beyond benefiting from the prayer of intercession. But to intercede aright: presenting the case before God appropriately, involves sharing not only God's concern but also his understanding of the situation.
We need to intercede, but not just anyhow. We need to do it as members of Christ's representative priesthood on the earth, interceding as Christ himself would. Ask him to help you see what he sees and he would.
Hint #3:- Intercede, Using God's Word
God's word is the template of his will. As Jesus said, we ought to pray that God's will be done. Intercession should not be done anyhow. Every intercessor must take his time to discover appropriate bible portions that reflect the intended result that one is looking for and pray with them. Examples of such include Daniel, who read in the book of Jeremiah of God's promise to restore Israel back to their land. He used this as the basis of his plea before the throne of God. He sought that God would do his will fulfil his word and God did so.
The disciples in the book of Acts chapter four quoted Psalm two in the course of praying. They sought to nullify the intention of the religious leaders to slow down the move of God in their days. God responded by doing many more miracles.
The word is variously described in Scriptures as a sword; an offensive instrument used in warfare. The word is the sword of the spirit; it is a double edged sword. It is able to cut through every opposition of Satan against the priority of God's glory in the life of a person, a people or a nation.
The word of God determines what all the host of heaven must respond to. The word carries priority in all realms of existence (e.g. Lazarus in the grave). Consistently using the word is a key to effective intercession. The word used in intercession stirs up faith in the heart. And this is important for guaranteed results.
Hint #4:- Intercede By God's Direction
Be open to God, so that at any time, he can drop a prayer point in your heart concerning any of his children and even for unbelievers. If you are a willing vessel, God would want to put his hand on you and use you in the work of intercession. Epaphras was described by Paul in his letter to the Colossians (4:12) as a man devoted to praying for the Colossians. Samuel the prophet made a profound statement when he said that it would be sinful for him to stop praying for the Israelites. This implies that he was under God's direction when he took to praying for them.
When you yield to God's directive in intercession, he multiplies grace and insight to you in that regard. There is nothing like yielding to God's direction. God wants you to intercede, so that he can do what he wants to do on the earth. Since God gave the earth to man at creation for him to dominate and rule over, therefore whatever God wants to do on the earth, he needs the partnership of man to get it done. That's why you need to intercede under his direction to do it effectively. Intercession gives us the priviledge of partnering with God to have his will done on the earth.
Hint #5:- Intercede With Clean Hands.
The book of Psalms, in chapter 24, shows the kind of man that can "ascend into the hills of the Lord and stand in his holy place". Such a man must have clean hands. In most places, to put the two hands together and raise them is a posture depicting a plea. To not have clean hands indicates that you do not qualify to intercede. Jesus proclaims that one should take care of the log in one's eyes before he can see clearly to take out the speck on his brother's eyes. You cannot be wrapped up in sin and be free to move in the spirit of intercession. Don't be fooled, God still does not hear sinners.
Hint #6:- Intercede By Weeping/Groaning
To feel what God feels in a situation, sometimes we weep. Jesus himself wept not out of powerlessness but out of compassion. If you share Christ's compassion, you will sometimes weep in the place of intercession. I am not referring to the cry of self pity or the crocodile tears of hypocrisy. The former does not move God while the latter attracts his disdain. Tears and groans are sometimes more eloquent means of intercession than words. If you do not share God's feelings (a sign of being one with him) you would not be an effective intercessor.
Weeping is only a means of intercession when under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Samuel the prophet found this out when he continued weeping for days after he learned that God has rejected Saul's kingship over Israel. God told him not to waste his time weeping; there was nothing those tears could do.
In the context of intercession, groaning reflects intense desire, whereby weeping shows compassion. If you find yourself weeping or groaning in the place of intercession, don't think of it as something strange, God is accomplishing something through those outflows. Jesus exhibited both at the grave of Lazarus - the rest is history
HINT #7:- Intercede With Others
There are instances in the scriptures where we see people coming together to pray, resulting in powerful manifestations of God on the earth. Jesus wanted the trio of Peter, James and John to stand with him in Prayer. When we intercede with others in prayer, the force of Unity in heaven is released to cause things to happen on the earth. This is not to remove from the vitality of private prayer, but you must not be unaware of the great riches there is in interceding for others.
As earlier stated, the force of unity is released when we pray and intercede together. The scripture reveals a principle of unity which states that: one would chase a thousand and two would chase ten thousand! God's multiplier effect is released upon us as we intercede with others.
The church in Jerusalem joined together to commit to praying for the deliverance of Peter from the imprisonment of Herod. It was recorded that prayer was made for him fervently by the church to God. God responded by sending an angel to effect his getaway. Time and again, we see Paul requesting that the churches he relates with pray for him. He knows the importance of the church coming together to pray for him. The effect is tremendous. No wonder Paul did mighty things in his life time.
Jesus promised that if two of us shall agree together as touching anything, it shall be done. That should stir up faith in us as we pray the prayer of intercession with others. Don't shy away from joining others to intercede. Move away from being selfish, move into the compassion of Jesus and let him use you in a group for the purpose of intercessory prayer. Beware of the spirit of isolationism which deceives that it is best to do things alone always.
Every church must cultivate the habit of praying intercessory prayer. The effect is awesome in the realm of the Spirit. When we pray together, the same force that binds the Trinity is released among us.
To intercede together, everyone in the group must be of one mind towards one another. In other words, we are not just praying together for show but our hearts are knitted together as one and the intercession is done in harmony exactly as God wants it to be. He wants us to agree on earth and he will act accordingly.
HINT #8:- Intercede Until Answers Come
God wants us to intercede until there is the assurance that all the forces aligned against the fulfilment of our prayer of intercession have been dealt with. Again we see an example in the case of the church putting up a prayer effort on behalf of Peter. They did not put a time limit on their praying but they prayed until the answer came.
Elijah is a prime example of the principle of praying until something happens (PUSH). We were told that he prayed concerning seeing changes in the nation of Israel, seeking to see them turn from being Idol worshippers to serve the only true God. As recorded in the book of James, the intercessory prayer work of Elijah was potent. He prayed until he saw clouds beginning to form in the sky, signalling the end of the three-year drought in the land of Israel.
Prayer of intercession cannot be done in half measure. You need to put some vigour into it. Don't be discouraged because of seemingly lack of immediate result. Your words are being heard by God. The seeming lack of immediate answer is a test to know what depth of conviction you are bringing to bear on the task of praying. Don't give up; God is on your side. Pray the prayer of intercession until you see the change you are looking for in your family, in your church and in your nation. God is faithful; he would honour and reward your labour of love in the place of prayer.
HINT #9:- Intercede For Regions
This level of intercession focuses on people located in specific geographical locations. It could be a street, a town, a county, a city, a country, a continent, subcontinent or continent as God would direct you. People involved in mass evangelism of a necessity must intercede for the region of their concern so that people may be turned from the kingdom of darkness to Christ's kingdom of light. The enemy blinds people until serious prayer effort is directed towards releasing God's light and loosen Satan's hold on the people.
Prophet Samuel spoke of himself as being committed to praying for Israel. In the same vain, since God wants to shine the light of his truth on whole regions, make yourself available for this noble task of intercession.
Apostle Paul exclaimed that his sincere desire and prayer for Israel is that they might be saved what is your own passion? We saw Abraham taking on the task of standing before God to intercede for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah how can you follow his example? Allow God to help you focus on interceding for your street, your town or your country today. God will reward and bless you as you do so.
HINT #10:- Intercede By Standing Against Satan.
Prayer is important - even Satan knows this. Our prayers of intercession serve to thwart Satan's agenda on the earth. If you sense any machination of the enemy against someone, it is your responsibility to take on the whole amour of God and wrestle off the enemy. Paul informed us that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood i.e. ordinary humans, but we wrestle against a demonic hierarchy of wickedness. In the same breath, he informed us that we should pray at all times in the Spirit. This implies that it is in the place of prayer that we wrestle demonic beings which are located in the spirit world.
Be alive in the spirit in the place of intercessory prayer and frustrate the devices of the enemy.
HINT #11:- Intercede For Long.
How long should intercessory prayer take? One hour, two hours? Great intercessors have been trained to intercede for long duration of time. God wants to do great things on this earth. The longer we pray, the greater opportunity God has to move in the life of others according to our request. God has put man on the earth, and through prayer he has designed that he would act on it: since he uses our prayers as the raw material for doing stuffs on the earth. Respond to the burden of God's Spirit, as he makes demands on you to tarry long in the place of intercessory prayer.
HINT #12:- Intercede For Leaders.
We have leaders in different spheres of life. They are in positions of authority and influence. The scriptures in the writing of Paul commanded that we should pray for kings and all who are in authority. If they do the will of God, it would lead to us living a life of tranquillity a quiet life in all godliness and dignity. Therefore, if we pray for leaders, we are indirectly praying for ourselves. Leaders carry a greater burden than the rest of the general populace. Moses knew this too well, that was why he needed the help of Aaron and Hur to help lift his weary hands up during one of the battles of Israel. (Lifting up the hands was directly linked to victory on the battle field.) This is what leaders need us to do for them to lift up their hands spiritually in the place of the prayer of intercession. Intercede for political leaders, church leaders, family leaders, etc.; they need your prayer of intercession.
Hint #13: Intercede For God's People.
On hint #12, we talked about interceding for leaders, not discriminating the kind of leadership, whether political, family or church and so on and so forth. But here we want to focus on interceding for God's people i.e. the church.
Again and again Paul the apostle wrote of his intercessory work concerning the churches in his time. He prayed for the Ephesians that they be strengthened with might by God's spirit in the inner man. He also prayed for them that they should have from God a spirit of wisdom and revelation, and that the eyes on their heart be flooded with the light of God's knowledge. He took it upon himself to focus on the well-being of the churches in his days. The impact of his intercessory prayers for churches is an eternal example of the importance of interceding for God's people the church.
Paul, in his words to the Colossians introduces a man to us a man by the name Epaphras. This man was a labourer, but not in the block-carrying sense. He is a spiritual labourer who carries the burden of interceding for the Colossian church. His intercessory focus was to see them not wanting in any of God's WILL for them.
Intercede also for individuals that make up the church, i.e. your brother or sister in the Lord. This is a good example of being your brother's keeper just as God wants you to be. By so doing, the full love of God is being extended through you to the other person. Don't leave others in their problems but be involved in their lives in the place of prayer and God will bless you abundantly.
In 3John 1:2, the writer, John, writing to a believer named Gaius, reveals that he is praying for him that he would prosper and be in health as his soul prospers. Since Gaius' soul is saved, John focused on praying towards ensuring that he experiences prosperity financially, socially in his family life and in his health. Don't shy away from following John's example pray for believers today.
Hint# 14 Intercede For Unbelievers.
An unbeliever is someone whose primary need in the eyes of God is to believe in Christ and be born again; having the life of God in him and becoming a follower of Christ. In Paul's letter to Timothy, he instructed him to ensure that the church he leads prays that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Obey that scripture and you will see your life change for the better.
There are unbelievers all around you, as family members, co-workers, or even as associates and friends. Have you ever thought that maybe the reason why you have such people around you is because God wants you to stand spiritually in the gap for them in the place of intercessory prayer, so that they would be saved? What a loss if someone gains the whole world and loses his soul to hell's fire. What a sad end to a person's life. Therefore the most important help you can render for another person is to help them become saved by praying for them. It is the most important help because it is a matter of life and death in the eternal sense.
Paul states in the book of Romans chapter ten verse one that his heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they would be saved. God wants you to desire that the unsaved be saved and not only that but to also translate that desire into intercessory prayer focus. God will hearken to you for he also wants the same thing the salvation of unbelievers.
How much difference it will make to this world if more and more Christians take it upon themselves to regularly pray for the unsaved? It would result in God pouring out more of his grace to cause many to be drawn into his Kingdom.
Hint #15 Intercede With Thanksgiving.
Philippians 4:6 states, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God." This injunction also covers the prayer of intercession. Thanksgiving signifies confidence in the God that always answer prayers. Thanking God for what he has done shows God that we are appreciative.
Moreover a heart of thanksgiving is a heart of faith. Thanksgiving helps you to get a correct perspective of God - the one who loves to give us what we ask. Thanksgiving and praise can be expressed in songs which is also inclusive in the prayer experience. It is written in scriptures that God dwells in the praises of his people which imply that thanksgiving and praise are instrumental to drawing the presence of God. Additionally, thanksgiving stirs up faith in us for the purpose of effective intercessory prayer.
Thanksgiving and praise can come both before and after prayer of intercession. Before, to appreciate him for what he has done and who he is to us as revealed in his word; and after to express our confidence that he would fulfil our request as revealed in the promises of his word (Matt. 7:7).
Hint#16 Intercede With Fasting
What does fasting mean? It means denying oneself of food for a period of time. It brings an added impetus to your prayer. The force in your prayer is multiplied when fasting is involved. In an encounter of Jesus and his disciples with a boy possessed with an evil spirit in Mark chapter 9, he revealed that the secret of his success in casting out the demon and helping the boy was prayer and fasting.
In Acts chapter thirteen, before Paul and Barnabas went off to their first missionary journey (that was to make a decisive impart on the then known world), a group of prophets and teachers took it upon themselves to pray and fast for them. The rest is history. Fasting is a limit breaker for prayer. A fast's effect is to purge us of internal hindrance to effective praying (e.g. the shortcomings of the mind and soul). When this is achieved it results in greater internal energy to be released in us to impact on our intercessory prayer focus.
In the bible, fasting is referred to as afflicting the soul (Leviticus 16:21, Isaiah 58:5). Our spirit (being the location for communicating with God) is encircled by our soul and our soul by the body. By fasting we de-emphasize the life of the soul. Because the more the life of the fleshly soul is emphasized, the life of the spirit is compromised and vice versa (Galatians 5:17). Therefore, through fasting more abundant life is released from our spirit via our prayer of intercession to neutralise death's grip on the world around us. God bless you as you increase your commitment to intercessory prayer by adding fasting to it from time to time.
Hint #17:- Intercede With Tongues
As an intercessor, to not be aware of the possibilities that lie in speaking in unknown tongues is such a loss. Speaking in unlearned andor unknown tongues is a necessary by product of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is the coming of the Holy Spirit upon believers, after the salvation experience, filling them with the power to be a formidable witness of Christ's reality (of having been resurrected) in the here and now.
It is clearly elucidated in scriptures that when a person speaks to God in the spirit i.e. in tongues, he speaks from the God in him to God and in the realm of the spirit; he speaks mysterious things too deep for ordinary words to effectively capture (1Cor. 14:2-4). Speaking in tongues help to overcome myriads of problems encountered in the process of intercessory prayer. Examples include
(a) Limited knowledge of the details of the situation being prayed about,
(b) Limited understanding of how to pray.
Speaking in tongues cuts through all those difficulties.
As you pray in tongues, you are using the unlimited knowledge, understanding and wisdom of God to pray, because it is your spirit that is praying and that brings a whole new dimension to your prayer. To seriously intercede, intercede in tongues, after mentioning the intercessory prayer focus, mixing it with along with praying with words you understand, just as Paul does. He said he prays in the Spirit and prays in understanding also. You don't have to rack your brain about what to say, take up God's unlimited supply of words to use by speaking in tongues and by so doing, more effectively engage your spirit in the task of intercessory prayer.
Be baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues regularly from today hence forth.
I am a 32-year-old Journalist from Nigeria, with post-graduate diploma in journalism. Called to be a teacher of God's word at the age of 15 and have been preaching ever since.
Kayode Crown, 2012
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