Intercession Explained 2

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.

Analyse This

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.

Rees Howells

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 …..

Intercession Explained 1

Many Christians now talk as if there is a ministry of Intercession operating today. Others, however, do not know that is meant by this. So I’m taking a moment to give you a simple explanation of what is known today as Intercession Ministry.

A young man recently called on me to help him understand the new prayer experiences he is going through. As he explained what is happening I identified his engagement in the ministry of Intercession. As I explained that ministry to him he not only identified with what I explained, but gained a clearer sense for how to flow with and develop the ministry God was leading him into.

I am sharing that same explanation here, for the benefit of others who are being called into the wonderful ministry of intercession. My explanation reflects what I understand about this ministry, as one who has observed it and had moments in which it has touched my life. I speak here as a ‘teacher’ and so I expect you to read my explanation and to check what I say, by the Word of God.

Prayer Ministry

The Ministry of Intercession is part of the ministry of prayer. Christians are expected to pray and the Bible reveals that there are various ways to pray and types of prayer. At the same time, Intercession is not just another word for prayer.

Properly understood, Intercession is a specific experience of prayer that comes to some people and which enables them to pray with divine effect. As I will explain, intercession involves the person who is praying shouldering some of the load that is weighing upon another person and resolving that burden for them in prayer.

Intercession is one means by which we may fulfil the Biblical instruction to “bear one another’s burdens”.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Types of Prayer

There are diverse types of prayer. The Apostle Paul even goes so far as to refer to “all prayer”, to summarise the various expressions of prayer that people can enter into.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” Ephesians 6:18

Jesus spoke of us praying in secret, in our prayer closet, Matthew 6:6.

Paul spoke of men praying with their holy hands raised in the air, 2Timothy 2:8.

Paul also spoke of praying with his mind, 1Corinthians 14:15, and also praying in the heavenly prayer language which God gives through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (what Paul calls “praying with the Spirit”, 1Corinthians 14:15 and Jude calls “praying in the Holy Spirit” Jude 20)

Paul instructs us to pray for those in authority, 1Timothy 2:1,2.

James talks of the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man”, James 5:15.

Paul talks of praying with “groans which cannot be uttered”, Romans 8:26.

Jesus talked about standing in prayer, Mark 11:25, while others knelt to pray, Psalm 95:6.

Jesus told of a sinner who bowed in repentance, Luke 18:13, and Hebrews talks of coming boldly to God’s throne of grace, Hebrews 4:16.

These and other references reveal that prayer is a multi-faceted expression of our communication with God and that we can engage in various forms of prayer from time to time, as the situation requires or our heart desires.

Groaning in Prayer

The ministry of intercession reflects Paul’s mention of a person praying under the power of the Holy Spirit with such deep burden that they groan rather than speak an intelligent prayer.

“Likewise the Spirit also helps our limitations: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groans which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

My young friend has found over recent months that as he has been praying for his family members and for the children in the Children’s Ministry he assists in, he has felt deep emotional and physical sensations accompanying his prayers. He has felt a sense of burden or intensity rest on him as he prayed for specific people or situations. He would at times weep or just groan with the sense of burden coming upon him.

Yet, he explains, he could stop it at any time. He feels quite peaceful within and not distressed in himself, but as if he is taking on another distress, like a cloak, over top of his underlying peace and confidence in God. At times he would feel tightness in his muscles or similar physical affect as he prayed as well.

After praying for a while, that burden or sensation would lift off him. He and those praying with him would sense that there has been a breakthrough in the situation.

This description fits the connection between bearing one another’s burdens, and praying under the leading of the Holy Spirit with deep groans.

What is Going On?

Simply stated, what is happening in the prayer ministry of Intercession is that the person who is praying takes upon themself some of the load that is burdening another person. This is principally done by the Holy Spirit, not by the wilful choice of the praying person.

When the burden rests on the intercessor they will pray with intensity and with the Holy Spirit praying through them, to the point of groans, tears and non-verbal process. That time of prayer brings benefit to the person being prayed for, without them having prayed for their own situation.

This is a spiritual ministry, not a matter of mind or emotion. The person being prayed for usually has no idea that someone is bringing their burden before the Lord on their behalf. They may never credit the improvement in their situation to the one who gave intercessory prayer on their behalf.

So, What is Intercession?

What I have described here is the practical expression of intercession. I’d like you to also have an understanding of what is happening in the unseen realm that makes intercession work.

The next lesson on Intercession will provide that explanation of What is Intercession, and show you some examples, including that of Christ, to clarify the process of Intercession for you and your ministry.