Intercession is a powerful and valuable expression of prayer ministry that has its own unique and wonderful place in ministering to the needy.
In part 1 of this series I opened the subject for you, and in this lesson I will move into the explanation of what Intercession is.
We have already seen that some people find a sense of burdening coming upon them at times when they pray. This can be emotional feelings, deep inner perceptions and physical responses within their body. The person is not sensing these things on their own behalf, but on behalf of someone else who is in need.
When this burden comes upon them, placed there by the Holy Spirit, the intercessor will pray with fervour and intensity, pushing through the barrier and resolving the sense of burden that has come upon them. Once they have done so a feeling of relief and going back to normal settles upon them.
So, What is Intercession?
I see Intercession as having three components. It is firstly the ‘making of a petition’, or pleading on someone else’s behalf. So, a person could write a letter to an employer, on behalf of someone else, pleading with the employer to consider the special needs of the person being interceded for.
When ever someone pleads on behalf of someone else, that could be identified as intercession.
At the same time intercession carries the idea of ‘identification’. The person writing on behalf of a friend is identifying with and feeling concern for the situation of their friend.
Thirdly, intercession involves one party ‘acting on behalf of another’. Not only do they identify with the burden, but they use their own position, authority, voice, strength or wit to lend aid to the one who is burdened.
Often people who are helpless appeal to those who have better standing than them to act on their behalf. When someone does that they are acting as an intercessor, making intercession.
The Intercession Process
I picture the intercession process as starting with a person who is stooped over and weighed down with a burden. That burden could be fear, grief, shame, sickness, debt, obligation, insecurity, or whatever.
An intercessor comes along and identifies with that burden, by stooping down to stand alongside the burdened person under their load. Now, the intercessor is not personally burdened by the same fear, grief, or whatever. But they tune in to that burden, as it were.
Then the intercessor allows the weight of that burden to be taken on their own shoulders, so the person who had the burden is relieved. As the intercessor shoulders the burden the other person is able to stand tall, stretch and feel the joy of relief.
Temporary intercession would result in some relief to the burdened person, before they carried their load again. While that is not as good as total freedom, it is better than no relief at all.
Alternatively, the intercessor could carry off the burden so that the person is permanently set free from its load. However, if the intercessor was then permanently burdened there would not be the victory which the Holy Spirit wants to bring, through Christ’s finished work.
Ideally the intercessor, being stronger in spirit and with the Holy Spirit’s anointing, will not only shoulder the load, freeing the burdened person, but have the spiritual might to totally destroy and throw off the burden completely.
Christ the Intercessor
Our best example of Intercession is Jesus Christ and His work for us on the Cross.
Mankind is burdened by sin and the death penalty which comes from our sinfulness. Jesus became human, identifying with us and our situation. He then, on the cross, took all of our burdens upon Himself, so we could become totally free from sin and death.
Jesus then defeated sin and death, throwing them off and coming back to life. He defeated the devil, sin, death and all the evil which attacks us. He went through the whole process I described earlier in the Intercession Process. And now we can live completely free from sin, death and hell.
An Ideal Example
Back in 1980, in New Zealand, a young man I was encouraging in his ministry came to me to share his first experience of Intercession. Mal was a ‘no-holds-barred’ enthusiastic Christian who jumped in and did what he felt impressed to do, without needing to understand what was going on. It was great to see his faith in action, although at times he seemed to be living dangerously.
He excitedly shared with me that he was entering into the ministry of healing people’s inner lives which he had seen me do. What he actually stepped into was powerful intercession.
The Baptist Pastor at Te Puke asked Mal to assist him in praying for a woman who had breakdowns at the same time each year. As the three began praying in the woman’s home Mal prayed in tongues (praying in the Holy Spirit) for a while, then felt an incredible burden come on him. He continued praying as he wept and struggled with intense feelings. Then the intensity turned to a feeling of delight and freedom.
The lady explained that as they started praying she saw in her imagination a baby in a darkened room, desperately crying for the attention of the adults whose voices could be heard through a closed door. The woman felt the agony of the baby and realised it was a vision of her as an infant. She also realised that the sound of a baby crying always accompanied her times of breakdown.
She then told Mal, “When you became emotional something wonderful happened”. She saw the door open and Jesus walk to the crying baby. He picked the baby up and cradled it in His arms. As He did so the woman felt pain and tension drain out of her body until she felt a wonderful release and peace.
The woman was under a burden of personal pain that went back to her infancy. It may have been rejection, but we don’t have a label for it. When a burden of intercession came upon Mal, the Holy Spirit released a healing process into the woman’s life, as Mal carried the pain for a season.
The ministry of the Spirit brought to the woman a revelation of the source of her problem and also revealed Jesus as the healer of that situation. Once the prayer process was over there was no more burden being carried. Mal only shouldered it temporarily and the woman was able to be free from pains she had carried all her life.
Note that Mal did not know the effect of his praying. He simply allowed himself to be moved by the Holy Spirit. Only when the lady explained what she was seeing could Mal have known the effect of his prayers.
The Baptist pastor said, “I’ve never seen anything like this ever before”. He probably thought Mal was a spiritual wonder-worker, but Mal was way out of his depth, just going with what the Holy Spirit led him to do.
The book, Rees Howells Intercessor, about this great man of prayer from mid last century is a wonderful example of a man identifying with others and then having great impact in prayer.
His experience and example are a mixture of a burden to identify with the needy, and the development of a small group of prayer warriors who received prophetic guidance in their prayers. You will find it a great encouragement to spirit-led praying.
Release of Intercession
In the lovely and powerful name of Jesus Christ I release a spirit of intercession upon the body of Christ and upon those reading this, so that the supernatural ability to bear one another’s burdens becomes abundant in the Body of Christ, so God’s Kingdom will come and His will be done in the earth as it is in heaven.
To see the first part of this study on Intercession go to the following link …..