From "Prayer that Hits the Target"
Interceding means “going between” or mediating between two parties. The greatest example is Jesus Christ, our High Priest. He faced every struggle common to man in order to represent us with true compassion. He is our go-between and makes intercession for us every day. (See Hebews 2:17-3:1; 7:25). The Holy Spirit also intercedes when we do not know how. He carries our needs to God with groanings we cannot speak. (See Romans 8:26). On both counts, we have an amazing picture of God’s love. He bears our burdens continually.
Another meaning of intercede is “to fall in with.” I like to think of this phrase with dual application. We fall in with, or identify with, the wounded and the lost; and we fall in with the purposes of God. Like the National Coast Guard, we descend into a disaster zone to rescue people. This is the opposite of the arm’s length attitude of many. Intercessors walk with the wounded and weary. They are like Moses who, instead of giving himself to the pleasures of Egypt, identified with and lived to rescue his afflicted brothers. (See Hebrews 11:24-25). And they are like Esther who risked her life to rescue the Jews from genocide when she could have ignored the matter and lived in sheltered luxury. (See Esther 4:16).
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Intercessors feel the pain and weakness of others and bring them before God in search of mercy and grace. They are curse-breakers and bondage-lifters; advocates who stand before the Lord to set captives free, to see the sick healed, and to plead for the favor of God to come on those who may not be able to pray for themselves. They turn national policy and reverse the direction of sickness and judgment. Intercessors also “fall in” with God. They carry the plans and burdens of the Lord and pray them into the lives of people and into the systems of the world. They are ambassadors of heaven, agreeing with God for
the extension of His kingdom and the displacement of darkness. They are secret agents, fighting a battle behind enemy lines with the power of the Almighty backing them up. Intercessors are mediators, reconcilers, and negotiators, who like angels frequently ascend and descend the ladder that extends from earth to God’s throne room. (See Genesis 28:12 and John 1:51).
Teams from our church in Niagara were “prayer-driving” around town, stopping at important venues to bless our city. We had spent time by the hospital and were about to drive to our next stop when Carrie, one of the ladies, asked for special prayer. Through tears she explained how her cousin had been in a car accident and was brain dead, kept alive only by life support systems. The doctors were waiting for his mother to agree with their removal. Carrie requested that we ask God to give her aunt the courage to do what she must. Immediately, Gary, who was in the van, began praying with a powerful anointing. “God,” he said, “We pray your blessing over this mother, but we ask You to raise this boy from his death bed. Heal him, and turn the situation around. Bring him back to life! We ask it in Jesus’ name.”
When morning arrived, Carrie phoned with the good news: her cousin’s brain waves had returned on the scope. Apart from having to relearn parts of his language, he was perfectly normal. Gary had interceded, and God had reversed the course of nature.
God grants intercessors a measure of authority. He invites them to pray and challenge Him with holy arguments. He desires that intercessors plead with such truth and conviction that His legal judgment is overturned and mercy prevails. This process begins as God unfolds His plan to His servants. “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7). When He shares His secrets with us, it is for intercession. He said, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so that I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30). The
Lord seeks worshipers and searches for intercessors. Our response to God’s presence is worship; our response to His burden is intercession.
The intercessors’ task is twofold: to build the wall and to stand in the gap. As reconcilers, we rebuild the wall of relationships. We are living stones ourselves in this wall, but sin has broken our relationships. The intercessor leads people to repentance and reconciliation so that relationships with God, family, church, and community are restored. God pours blessings on restored relationships, and thus His kingdom abounds.
Intercessors also stand in the gap before the Lord to pray. They call on God for His mercy to triumph over judgment. In Ezekiel 22:17-29, we are told of Israel’s sins. The people were full of violence and were oppressors of the poor and the stranger, while leaders took dishonest gain, practiced witchcraft, and committed murder. These are the same sins that produce some of the curses listed in Deuteronomy 27 and 28. The nation was in deep sin, but God searched for someone to stand in the gap before Him that He might heal the land. From this we understand that intercessors break curses and heal nations.
Abraham’s intercession is the first detailed example of intercession in Scripture. “Then the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” (Genesis 18:17). The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah had become so dreadful that God was about to destroy their cities. He called Abraham to “the negotiating table”—the place of intercession. Listen to Abraham's bold response: “Far be it from You to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from You! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).
God and Abraham were serious over the lives at stake, yet they negotiated like hagglers at a bazaar. Finally they agreed. If ten righteous people could be found in Sodom, God would spare the city. Sadly, ten could not be found, and destruction came on the city. Even so, Abraham’s intercession was significant, as God gave opportunity for a city to repent.
James says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.” (James 2:23). Moses, too, was called a friend of God. “The Lord would speak to Moses face- to-face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11). This is the highest of compliments! Intercessors may not be famous people, but they walk with God.
Intercessors must live holy lives. “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” (Psalm 24:3-4).
Intercessors hear from God and receive His burden. Daniel recognized the divine plan and agonized in prayer until it began to happen. “I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.” (Daniel 9:2-3).
Daniel was so upright that his enemies could find no negligence or corruption in him. (See Daniel 6:4-5). He was faithful and diligent, yet he identified himself with a sinful nation. He confessed the sins of his people as if they were his own, asking God to forgive. He said, “We have sinned and done wrong.... We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws. We have not listened to Your servants the prophets...this day we are covered in shame.... O Lord listen! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay.” (Daniel 9:5-7, 19).
Intercessors need to have right motives before God. Intercessors pray so that God receives glory and His reputation is upheld. Daniel prayed, “For Your sake, O Lord, look with favor on Your desolate sanctuary. For Your sake, O my God do not delay.” (Daniel 9:17, 19).
The sixth requirement for the intercessor is the practice of the manifest presence of God. At times, both Moses and God wanted to kill the rebellious people of Israel. It seems they negotiated each other to the place of mercy. We need the fear of the Lord, courage, and His favor, to face Him at such times. While interceding, Moses said, “Teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.... If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:13, 15).
We can speak arrogantly, and God will resist us or too passively, out of fear of being disrespectful, and have no passion in prayer. Both postures are inadequate. Rather, we should enter straight into the holy place—go right into God’s presence where we have a ready audience with Him. Here we repeat or advance with our negotiations as we remain sensitive to God’s response. By being led by His presence, we find our way; we come to know Him; and we see His glory.
Lastly the intercessor is persistent. We keep praying through like Jacob who said to the Lord, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.” (Genesis 32:26). Also we pray like Elijah who prayed for rain, sending his servant seven times to look for a cloud until finally it began to pour. (See 1 Kings 18:41-44). Jesus also persisted, praying through entire nights. (See Luke 6:12). Intercession is not a quick prayer on a wing but a labor that endures until results come.
God still searches for intercessors and, I am convinced, He is calling more people to this ministry than at any other time in history. Increased spiritual activity is part of His end-time agenda and many will pray and walk close to the Lord in the calling of the intercessor.
Connecting heaven's power with earth's challenges is the reason for "Prayer that Hits the Target." The church is called to prayer. We must learn to stand in the gap, where the purpose of God is released. This book will show you God's conditions for answered prayer, and teach you how to fulfill them. Get ready to be stirred and commissioned, as you take your place on the wall. It is time to shoot the arrow, hit the target, and release the power and blessings of God.