Become more effective in your prayers
Romans 8:34 (NKJV) It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Can you picture this scene: Jesus is on His knees in the throne room praying for you by name? He is asking the Father to give you favor, to protect you, to strengthen you and give you power and supply you with the tools needed for your mission. Jesus is the Great Intercessor always lifting us up to the Father.
Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV) Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Intercession was and is today a way of life for Jesus. If He is to be our mentor, and our model in prayer, we also must live to intercede.
According to the Late C. Peter Wagner,75 intercession is a gift of the Holy Spirit. As a spiritual gift, there are some people who are called specifically to the ministry of intercession. Approximately five percent of Christians have this gift, but all Christians are called to intercede.
John Loren Sandford, is widely recognized as the father of the modern prophetic movement. His book The Elijah Task published in 1977 is still the definitive statement on prophetic ministry in the church. He writes in “Healing the Nations; a Call to Global Intercession”76
“If we do not spend ourselves daily in intercession, the Lord may indeed be in our hearts but we are not allowing Him to live His life in us, because intercession is what He is always doing.”
In Israel we met a retired US military general and his wife whose spiritual gifting is in intercession. They spend half of their time in Israel and the other half in their home in Washington DC. They have had a ministry of intercession for The Reverend Canon Andrew White, while he served as the vicar of St George's Church, in Bagdad, the only Anglican Church in Iraq. Dubbed the “Vicar of Baghdad,” White is President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in The Middle East. In addition to intercessory prayers, God has called this couple to recruit other intercessors to pray for the “Vicar,” as he attempted to bring peace between the religious factions in Iraq and in the Middle East.
Often intercession is objective and detached - God calls us to pray and we respond - we may not know for what or who we are to pray. At other times we are not detached and are called to pray specifically for another person’s burdens.77 The general and his wife carried Andrew White’s burdens and lifted them up to the Lord. This form of intercession is a supreme act of love. It is one of the most effective forms of intercession. This is the way Jesus is interceding for us. It is not objective and detached, it is praying personally with compassion and empathy. When we pray in this way, we put ourselves in the others shoes. It is God that will give us a burden for someone or something. We may feel something strange - tired, weak, depressed, or actually feel physical pain. The burden bearing intercessor shares, with Jesus, the ministry of healing.
Sandford identifies seven rewards for this burden bearing intercession.
(1) You die to self, faster.
(2) You learn to hate sin.
(3) You fall in love with Jesus all over again.
(4) The Bible comes alive.
(5) You experience repentance and death.
(6) You receive a quickened conscience
(7) You become intimate with God.
I do not have the spiritual gift of intercession, but God has called me into times of deep intercession. Sometimes He reveals who and what to pray for but at other times all I know is that I am to pray. It usually happens as He awakens me in the middle of the night.
75 Wagner, C. Peter, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Make Your Church Grow, Chosen Book, Minneapolis, MN, 2012
76 Sandford, John Loren. Healing The Nations, Chosen Books, Div. of Baker Books, Grandrapids, 2000.
77 Galatians 6:2