Prayer & Intercession
Prayer & Intercession All Nations International Church has a burden to see God move in power once again in the City of Plymouth, through prayer intercession. In light of this, All Nations has organised prayer meetings to intercede for the City of Plymouth and Nations invites all believers to join with them. Pastor Osee Ntavuka, has seen the power of intercessory prayer in his native Africa. He feels called to Plymouth, to encourage intercession amongst believers. From 13 August to 19 September 2012 Pastor Osee he was organised 40 Days 24/7 Fasting Prayer to interceding for the City of Plymouth
The theme was: 2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Monday and Thursday – 5:30pm to 7:30pm (Intercession prayer for revival in the City)
Intercession is one of the most important kinds of prayers because many people do not pray for themselves or do not know how. Why? – Because they have no relationship with God. There are also times when circumstances are so difficult, stress is so high, the hurt is too great, things are so confusing, that people do not know how to pray for their own situations. And there are times when people have prayed and prayed and prayed for themselves and they simply have no strength left to pray. There are all kinds of reasons people cannot or do not pray, but what is most important is when we encounter these people or become aware of a believer who cannot pray, we step in for them before God and pray on their behalf as the Holy Spirit leads. Through His Word, God has called the Body of Christ to the ministry of intercession. Why are we called to intercession? – Because God does not do anything in the earth without the cooperation of a man. He intends that we work together with Him to accomplish His will. Man still is in authority in the earth.
God put him in that position by His will. The miraculous things that occurred in the early Church as recorded in the book of Acts will be common among us in these last days. Intercessory prayer is the tool that the Spirit of God will use to bring them into manifestation. Both Andrew Murray and Watchman Nee write about intercession as a “priestly” function – as a believer’s opportunity to participate in Jesus’ ministry of praying for people. Watchman Nee says, “We stand before the Lord to pray for other people. Actually this is fellowship with the Lord in His high-priestly function. How He Himself intercedes unceasingly for His people and their needs.” Andrew Murray writes that a priest “does not at all live for himself. He lives with God and for God…He lives with (others) and for (others). His work is to find out their sin and need, and to bring it before God, to offer sacrifice and incense in their name, to obtain forgiveness and blessing for them, and then to come out and bless them in His Name.” You should be encouraged to draw nearer to God by joining Jesus in His ministry of intercession. Your family, friends, neighbours, and coworkers need your prayers and we must pray for one another. Your intercession is the most powerful, most valuable gift you can ever give to those around you and it will make an eternal difference in their lives and in yours. There may be times when you are the only person on earth praying for someone else and your intercession can change that person’s entire life.
Intercessory prayer causes the rain of God’s Spirit to bring the harvest of the human race into the family of God. Right now, all over this world, God is bringing the Body of Christ into unity. As rivers of living water, the believers that are joined together will cause a flood of God’s power in the earth. Because of your love for God, you choose to serve Him: you yield your will to His will and become a co-laborer with him. Those who totally give themselves to His service will be God’s mouthpiece in the earth. They will be the vehicles of His Spirit.
Jesus said, “…Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14. The Spirit of God is a well of living water inside of you, springing up. A well is for personal use. God’s ultimate purpose is that other thirsty souls can partake of that water. He desires to pour out of His Spirit from the inside of you through intercession. “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” A river is for everyone’s use. The outpouring of the Spirit is a flow of the Holy Spirit coming from inside the believer. That flow is the source of all the signs and wonders and miracles! Everyone, the scripture says all flesh, will benefit. Intercessory prayer is going to play the major role in this outpouring. It is what causes God’s power to flow in the earth unhindered.
Prayer is the doorway into the mightiest release of power that is known to man. It brings the very presence of God to and upon man in any part of the world. That power operates as believers allow those rivers of living water to gush toward the dry and thirsty. The torrential outpouring of the Spirit will cause life to spring forth in those who receive the seed of God’s Word. The result is the harvest of new creatures in Christ Jesus. You can begin a study of the art of intercession by studying Isaiah 59:16-17 which says, “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.” What is His arm? JESUS. The sole purpose Jesus came to the earth was to be that intercessor. He wore the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness. That is the same armour in Ephesians 6 for the Body of Christ. Jesus came as an intercessor. We are to put on that same armour and enter into the same field of prayer. His arm is bringing salvation again. As intercessors, we are His arm in the earth causing reconciliation between men and God. Jesus said, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). The armour is the same and the calling is the same. We have the same calling on our lives that Jesus had. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” John 14:12 You and I are responsible for the works. He provided us with the new birth. God said in Ezekiel 36:26 that a new spirit He would put within us. And that He would put His Spirit in us. That gives us the right and the miraculous power to enter into the intercessory prayer ministry.
Intercession is the highest expression of love. It is loving in the spirit, applying spiritual power for another person. It will overpower the evil influences that have bound that person. Your prayers may be for salvation, healing, or any other area of deliverance from Satan. Second Corinthians 4:3-4 says, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan has blinded the minds of those who have not received the gospel. Your intercessory prayer wrestles against evil spirits that have deceived them. It is literally giving yourself, your time, your life for others. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is the God kind of love. It is unselfish. The world did not know this kind of love until Jesus came to the earth.
He laid down His life to come to earth and live as a man. He emptied Himself of His divine privileges and fulfilled His earthly ministry as a man, filled with the Holy Spirit. God’s heart was hungry for a family and Jesus has provided reconciliation between God and man through His substitutionary sacrifice at Calvary. We are co-laborers with Him. To give your life means to give everything. Jesus came as an intercessor. He is still giving Himself today. We have been given that same love that motivated Jesus to come as the intercessor! Romans 5:5 says that the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The love that desires to lay down its own desires and to intercede for someone else is abiding on the inside of us! The love that impelled Jesus to go to the cross compels us to intercede.
We pray for others so that they can come to the knowledge of the truth. Through the knowledge of God’s Word, we realise that we also have His love that urges us to reach out toward others. It urges us to be soul-winners. A soul-winner is an intercessor in action. Jesus paid the price and is paying the price to win souls. Intercessory prayer softens their hearts to receive the message of the gospel.
When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you receive the ability to speak in another language, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4 The Holy Spirit gives the utterance and you do the speaking. Just as your own language is the voice of your mind, praying in tongues is the voice of your spirit. It is your spirit speaking mysteries unto God (1 Corinthians 14:2). The Holy Spirit knows what is needed in the lives of others when you do not know (Romans 8:26). Praying in other tongues is the most valuable tool that you have in intercessory prayer. When you pray in other tongues, you operate in the realm of the spirit. The weapons of your warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. When you move in this area of intercession, your physical man will be your spirit man’s assistant. You begin to speak in a language that comes out of the inner man. The Spirit of the Living God can speak to your own human spirit. Out of it will come rivers of living water. You are not just praying mentally limited prayers. When you pray in tongues, you pray beyond the natural into the spirit. You have to yield to it as an act of your will. Realise that your first prayer assignment is not for yourself. It is to pray for all men; for kings and men in high authority (1 Timothy 2:1-4). When you respond to the call of intercession, the Holy Spirit prays the perfect will of God through you.
The Spirit of God will not be able to help you intercede unless you are willing to stir yourself and take the position of intercession. Begin to pray by making yourself available to the Holy Spirit. Yield! Allow Him to use you to pray for the man who does not have anybody to pray for him. Stand in the gap for him. Start where you are and allow it to spread to the world. You are literally fighting spiritual warfare in their behalf. When you commit yourself to pray for those who need Jesus you are confronting all the forces of evil. Bind them to Jesus, to the work of Cross, the mind of Christ, the Will of God, etc., and, loose strongholds, wrong attitudes, wrong beliefs, etc. Do not stop just because it looks like they will never receive. Your intercession is placing pressure on Satan and his forces. Do not relent but persevere in prayer. It is up to that person to make his own choice. Through your intercession, they will be able to make it. They will no longer be blinded by Satan.
How does intercession work? Before spiritual births take place, travail goes forth. In the natural realm, a woman does not give birth without labor. In the spirit, travail is the labor that brings forth the new birth. Intercession is God’s heartbeat because it is the labor that births the souls of this world into His family. Travail causes others to be born again. Why would it say “birth?” Why would it say “travail?” Why would it compare to birth? Jesus said out of the belly, the deepest interior of a man, would flow these rivers of living water (John 7:38). Stir yourself up and start praying in other tongues. Your spirit is praying. Keep at it. Soon you will notice that the Holy Spirit will take hold together with you. You will begin to travail as if in labor. You may groan out loud. You are releasing spiritual power. The Word says that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). The Amplified Bible translation says that the effectual, fervent heartfelt prayer of a righteous man makes much power available. This is the art of intercession. It is stirring yourself up to take hold with the Holy Spirit to cause eternal changes in the lives of others. Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” He is telling the Body of Christ about the forces that are available through intercession. The Holy Spirit sees to it that God’s will is carried out even in areas where we do not know how to pray. He searches the heart and He knows the mind of the spirit of a man. In other words, you can go beyond your own mental ability and knowledge. God’s purpose is for us to begin to pray for one another. Intercession gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to bring the fullness of God’s will to pass in the earth.
Standing in the Gap
A gap is a space between two things; it keeps two objects, two spaces, two entities, or two people from being connected to each other, but we can “bridge” that gap with intercessory prayer. Ezekiel 22:29-31 talks about standing in the gap, “The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.”
God was basically saying, “I needed somebody to pray, and I couldn’t find anybody who would, so I had to destroy the land.” All He needed was one person to pray, and the whole land could have been spared. Do you see how important intercession is? Just one person could have made a major difference in an entire country and saved the entire place through prayer! We need to be willing to pray; we need to be sensitive to those times when the Holy Spirit is leading us to intercede and we need to obey. We never know when our prayer might be the very one needed to fill a gap and result in connecting God’s power with a desperate situation.
God Changes His Mind
You can see from the story in Ezekiel 22:29-31, that intercession is mighty and that one person’s prayers could have saved many others. But do you know that intercession can also change God’s mind? As a result of prayer, God can actually reconsider something He had planned to do.
Remember this story? “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Exodus 32:7-8
What happened was Moses went up Mount Sinai to get the Ten Commandments and was gone longer than the people wanted him to be. In the absence of their leader, they forgot the Lord, gave in to their fleshly desires, and decided to melt all their jewellery to make a golden calf and worship it. God spoke to Moses on the mountain and said, essentially, “You better go back down there, because the people have really gotten themselves in a mess. And I’m angry about.” (Thank God, Psalm 30:5 says that His anger only lasts a moment, but His mercy is forever!) The story continues: “And the Lord said to Moses, I’ve seen this people, behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and that I may destroy them; but I will make of you a great nation” (Exodus 32:9,10). It’s a good thing Moses was a godly man, or he might have said, “Terrific idea, God! Forget about them, and do something great with me.” Instead, Moses began to intercede for the people because he cared so much about them. The Bible says, “Moses besought the Lord of his God” (Exodus 32:11). That means he would not leave God alone. But God had already said, “Leave me alone. Don’t come praying, because if you do, I’m going to have to hear you.” But Moses persisted: “Lord, why does Your wrath blaze hot against Your people, whom You have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?” (Exodus 32:11). Moses refused to give up because the issue was not settled in his heart. He loved the people; he knew the nature of God; and he knew the character of God. On top of that, he knew that God really loved the people and did not really want to leave them stranded. So how did Moses approach this situation as He prayed and talked to God about it? He actually asked Him to change His mind (see Exodus 32:12) and basically said, “Now come on, God. You don’t want Your reputation to be ruined among the Egyptians. You don’t want them to say that You aren’t able to deliver Your people. You don’t want them to think You just let Your people suffer and die out in the wilderness. Come on, God, this is not about us, this is about You. I’m just asking You, God, to deliver them, not for themselves, because they are really rascals, but for the sake of Your name. I really don’t want Your reputation to be affected by all this, so God, why don’t You just go ahead and deliver them so that everybody knows You’re great? (Exodus 32:12, 13).
The Most Powerful Prayer
One of the most powerful prayers you can pray is a prayer for your enemies. If you want to see someone who is mighty in prayer, look for the person who will intercede for an enemy. God blesses us tremendously when we intercede for those who have offended or betrayed us. Remember Job? He had to pray for his friends after they had really hurt and disappointed him. But immediately after he prayed, God began to restore his life. In fact, God gave him back twice as much as he had lost (Job 42:10)! Praying for someone who has hurt us is so powerful because, when we do, we are walking in love toward that person and we are obeying the Word of God.
What does Jesus tell us to do in Matthew 5:44? He instructs us to pray for our enemies, saying, “Love your enemies, bless them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” When you think about the people who have used you, abused you, harassed you, and spoken evil of you, bless them; do not curse them. Pray for them. God knows that blessing your enemies is not easy and that you may not feel like doing it. But you don’t do it because you feel like it – you do it as unto the Lord. Choosing to pray and bless instead of curse is so powerful in the spiritual realm, and God will do great things in your life as a result of it.
When Not to Pray
Do you know that sometimes we can pray for someone and be opposing God’s will? Believe it or not, there are times when we are not supposed to intercede for a person. God told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 7:16, “Therefore do not pray for this people (of Judah) or lift up a cry or entreaty for them or make intercession to me, for I will not listen to or hear you.” Sometimes, through our prayers, we can protect people and keep the enemy away from them. But there are times when the enemy needs to get close enough to them that they have to go through something unpleasant because that difficulty is the very thing that will turn them to God. This is important, because the enemy wants us to think we are in sin if we are not praying for someone. He will use the fact that we are not interceding to heap condemnation on us and to keep us from praying the way God wants in that situation. That is why the Holy Spirit must lead us. He may not tell us to pray for someone very often, but when He does, we need to know His voice, resist the enemy, and obey.
A Burden to Pray
Sometimes, as you are praying for others, you will get what is called a burden, or a prayer burden, or an intercessory burden. A burden is something that comes to your heart and feels weighty and important; it is something you cannot shake. Sometimes you do not even know what the burden is or you do not fully understand it; you only know that you have to pray. A prayer burden is something you cannot make up and you cannot fake. But if you try to ignore a prayer burden, you will not be able to find relief. If you have never experienced a burden to pray for someone, do not start wondering if something is wrong with you. God may not give us a prayer burden often, but on the other hand, some people seem to get a prayer burden every time they close their eyes. When God gives you a burden, respond appropriately even saying simple, normal, ordinary prayers. But if He does not burden you do not feel condemned or start wondering if there is something wrong with your spiritual life – intercession may not be your calling.
As intercessors, we must learn how to get our assignments from God, and know how to distinguish whether something is a real burden from God or not. Also, intercessors do not try to do what God has called someone else to do; they simply obey God by faithfully praying for the things for which God is calling them to pray and they stick with it until the burden lifts. We all have the ministry of intercession, the responsibility to pray for others as God leads. Some people are called and especially gifted in the ministry of intercession and we might say that they stand in the spiritual office of an intercessor. They may pray for others many hours every day or several times a week. They often speak of God waking them up at night to pray. These people may experience things in prayer that others do not, but remember that God is teaching us to pray as individuals. We don’t have to be intimidated by someone else’s experience in prayer.