The Heart and Life of Strategic Intercession
I believe intercession is probably the highest form of prayer next to praying in our Holy Spirit language; it is the highest privilege and enjoyment coupled with our communion with God. It is the power of being used by God as a vessel through which His great work of making people His dwelling place and showing forth His glory flows.
Andrew Murray said,
“The glory of intercession is when a person is bold and asks from God what he desires for others.”
As Believers, we have Jesus as our heavenly Intercessor (Heb. 7:25); and we have Holy Spirit as our earthly Intercessor. (Rom. 8:26) If intercession claims such a prominent place in the continual ministry of Christ, along with the power of Holy Spirit, it should be of high value and priority for us.
Intercession is also one of the highest forms of prayers because it always involves prayers for others rather than for self. Therefore, intercession cannot simply be a passing interest. It must become, to the mature intercessor, an ever-growing object of intense desire for which, above everything, we love and live. True intercessors are mature prayer warriors who stand in the gap and take the side of others, backing them up during challenging situations.
In intercession, partnership with God in Kingdom business becomes very precise and real, because intercession brings us nearer to God and leads us deeper into His love. Intercession requires preparation of heart – to what extent we are ready to yield to Holy Spirit; for intercession is a dimension of spiritual interaction with God.
The word “intercessor” (Isaiah 59:16) is the Hebrew word paga (paw-GAH). It means to “impinge” by accident or violence. Figuratively, it means “importunity” – overly persistent in request or demand; to cause to entreat on behalf of another. As intercessors, we literally come between God and other forces through Christ. We are there to entreat His favor to the depths of importunity. Many times, this is a violent confrontation simply because intercession has a violent nature to it. It is insistent; not just a passing interest. There must be the travail of spirit. This type of encounter can be compared to Matthew 11:12, “…until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [ a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].” This is what strategic intercession looks like.
What cost did Jesus pay to become our heavenly Intercessor? As members of His Body, we are partakers with Him on earth. As fellow laborers with the Lord Jesus, we are to share His power of intercession. The pouring out of His soul is the divine meaning of intercession. And, we too, need to exercise the same travail of soul that there was with Him. The giving of Himself as a sacrificial lamb that He might save the lost is a revelation of the spirit that has power to prevail with God. Through Jesus’ finished work, we know that intercession deals with the supernatural element of the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. (1 Corinth. 2:4)
How important is intercession? The apostle Paul testifies by Holy Spirit that intercession should be made for all men; especially for kings (leaders of nations), and for all that hold positions of authority. This leads to a quiet and peaceable life; one lived in godliness and honesty. (See 1 Tim. 2:1-3)
- Hallesby has written, “In the fine and difficult art of prayer, intercession is undoubtedly the most difficult of accomplishments. As far as my understanding of these things goes, intercessory prayer is the finest and most exacting kind of work that it is possible for men to perform.” This may explain the scarcity of true intercessors in the Body of Christ today.
The place of intercession is not always easy, but his presence and His name make all the difference. As intercessors, we faithfully stand in the gap, and make up the hedge before the Lord. We are extenders of God’s mercies. And this is at the heart of all intercession – a call to constant watchfulness on behalf of others becomes the avenue by which the way of mercy is opened and the fierce wrath of God is stayed.
Intercessors, spiritual watchmen, must live in close fellowship with God in order to discern and intercept any demonic technology or gap in the spiritual hedge. The work of the watchman intercessor is vital if the mercies of God are to be realized by individuals and nations.
In summation, strategic intercession involves the heart and life of the intercessor, who must relate totally to God and be willing to become a channel for His greatness, commit to unity and the free exercise of spiritual gifts, and commit to Kingdom expansion. For true effectiveness, intercessors must embrace their task and: 1) be willing to reverence Father and receive His words, listening to and obeying His Word; 2) be willing to receive truth, staying teachable and open; 3) be willing to sit at His feet, spending quality time with Him; 4) be willing to “press in” with others who seek Him (violently at times), comprehending the value of spiritual agreement; 5) be willing to persist, expecting needs to be met; 6) be willing to stand, prevailing at whatever cost against the enemy for the salvation of others; and, 7) be willing to do anything needful for the expansion of His kingdom, always ready as a channel of His greatness.
The rewards that others receive because of the willingness of true intercessors to exercise the principles of this level of selfless prayer on their behalf with persistence, will surely overtake the life of those intercessors who faithfully serve and travail in spirit for the benefit of others.