Are you an intercessor? In its most basic form intercession simply means the act of praying for something or someone else.
We sometimes equate it with spiritual warfare, pulling down strongholds, entering enemy territory and taking back what the enemy has stolen from us. But without disparaging that, and after many years of engaging in intercessory prayer, I found successful intercession is not at all complicated.
A very young child is an intercessor when he prays at the side of his bed. God hears his prayer, sees the sincerity of his heart and his simple faith. He answers according to His will. An elderly man may no longer be physically able to kneel, but he can sit in his rocking chair, look up to heaven and intercede. God hears and God answers.
The Bible says that Jesus is our intercessor (Rom. 8:34). It also says that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26-27). When we maintain a transparent and submitted relationship with the Lord, we will tune in to His prompting, follow His directions and work in concert with Him toward a designated outcome. It is not a frustrating exercise, but a very joyful one because it's foolproof.
Let me illustrate this by sharing two distinct incidents from my life when listening to the Lord and following His lead brought about a godly change of circumstances.
One evening as a young Bible College student, I returned to the dorm from my part-time job, set my purse in my room and was heading down to dinner when a thought entered my mind. It was not my own thought as I silently heard, "Pray for your mother."
It was a strong urge so I immediately got on my knees and said, "Lord, I don't know why I'm praying for my mother, but I feel an urgency and so I'm praying for her protection, her safety, her well-being. Be with her. Keep her safe, Lord. Whatever is going on, please be there and help her." When I had no more words to pray I got up and went downstairs for supper.
I did not know what the problem was, or even if there was a problem. I just knew I had to pray for her. Years later, my mother was sharing with some friends about an incident that occurred while she lived in Brooklyn, New York, before she retired in Puerto Rico.
She said she was coming home from work one evening, when some men accosted her. They taunted, pushed and make snide remarks about how pretty she was. They circled her, laughed and grasped at her. This torment went on for a while when suddenly one of the men "snapped out of it."
He said, "What are we doing? Are we crazy? Let the old woman go and let's get out of here." With that, they released her. She went up the stairs to her apartment, fell on her knees before God and thanked Him for His deliverance and protection.
The time? It was the exact time that the Holy Spirit had nudged me to pray for her.
What if I had not heeded the urgency I felt? I cringe to think what would have happened to my mother on that night if I had delayed in obeying. Being sensitive to His still small voice and doing what He said to do when He said to do it brought the intended results.
The second incident I am sharing occurred many years later. This time I worked in concert with the Lord using a language unknown to me, but given by Him. I was awake praying around 3:00 a.m., when I told Him that I would not resist His Holy Spirit's gifts anymore but I wanted to be sure they were His gifts, and not some counterfeit. I then saw in my mind's eye a ticker tape with a language written on it. As I whispered the unknown words I saw a picture of a young lady. I recognized her as one of the teachers in our Christian school.
She was married to a godly man and they had moved out of state. A year later, although she had no grounds, she left her husband and moved back to the area, lived with her parents and returned to her position in the Christian school. She was miserable but remained staunch in her decision.
As I continued, I saw her bound up like a mummy with what looked like translucent ribbons. As I spoke the words, I saw the wrappings come off bit by bit until she was completely free. Then I felt a strong sense of relief, refreshing and even joy. This was a new experience for me so I asked the Lord to confirm what had just happened.
Later that morning, I was preparing the room for my women's Bible class at church when one of the women in the class came running in. She said, "Ruth, did you hear about—?" "No, what?" "She said that she woke up this morning and said, 'What am I doing here? I should be back with my husband.'" She immediately called him, their marriage was restored, and they went on to serve the Lord together with great anointing.
Both turnarounds were a result of Spirit-led intercession. In both instances, the Lord specifically led me to pray. One instance was in my youth—with simple words but in obedience; the other was as a mature woman—by the Holy Ghost—not knowing what I was saying but led by the same Holy Spirit to accomplish His plan and will.
Whether you pray in simple terms and don't know why you are praying or pray in a heavenly language and don't understand what you are saying, when it is Spirit led, it will accomplish its purpose. Moving in concert with and obedience to the Lord are the keys that will guarantee foolproof intercession.
Prayer Power for the Week of September 25, 2016
This week as you hear the clarion call to prayer in these turbulent times, ask the Lord to direct you to pray His perfect will in every circumstance. Stay tuned to His Spirit and keep your spirit open to pray at His prompting as the need arises. Thank Him that He continues to intercede for you and that the Holy Spirit prays the will of God through you and for you. Continue to lift up the nation as it faces the upcoming elections, and pray for wisdom and God's leading as you cast your vote. Remember those who have lost loved ones through acts of terror, natural disasters, war and crime. Repeatedly pray for revival, a harvest of souls and more laborers for the harvest. Ask the Lord to include Israel in His protection, revival and fulfillment of His purposes in these days (Rom. 8:26-27; Rom.8:34; James 5:16).
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