There are many types of intercessors. We all have our own style and method of prayer, as well as our own area of expertise. Some of us are “intercessors at large,” meaning that we pray about a huge variety of things, from current events spread over a wide canvas to prayer requests that have been sent out in multiple ministry newsletters. Some of us are micro-focused on particular topics. We could compare these two types of intercessors to the general medical practitioner (intercessor-at-large) and the doctor who specializes in one particular field of medicine. Both types are needed.
Most intercessors start out as the general practitioner type, and God gradually moves them into a specialty all their own. But there are seasoned prayer warriors who never become specialists, and, for them, this is as it should be. We who are specialists are not more spiritually mature than those who are not.
The two main functions of intercession are to destroy the plans of hell and to establish the plans of God in the earth. It’s that simple, although the details can get quite complicated.
Hell trembles when people pray. Prayer is the vehicle God has chosen to bring about His Kingdom in the earth. Sure, we need the evangelist, the pastors, the teachers. We also need the prophets and the apostles. But their ability to get their jobs done rests on the intercessors’ ability to break open the way before them, remove hindrances in their paths, and cover them with protection through our prayers.
Micah 2:13 gives us a little understanding of the intercessor’s function: One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the LORD at their head (NIV).
Jesus is The Breaker, of course, but He is also The Intercessor. He gives a “breaker anointing” to those of us who pray out the things that the Holy Spirit puts on our hearts. Notice that in this verse, the breaker is not tearing down an enemy’s fortress walls to get in; he is breaking up hindering gates to get someone out. There are barriers that the demonic world attempts to put around the Body of Christ’s leaders to keep them from accomplishing God’s will. People who are not yet believers are also hemmed in by satanic strongholds, and our prayers are required to “break open the way” of their spiritual prisons, so that they can understand the gospel message and see their need for salvation.
Notice also, in Micah 2:13, that it says, “the LORD at their head.” Jesus is the Chief Intercessor. He is the one that leads us in properly praying through these difficulties, through the Holy Spirit’s guidance in how to pray.
In addition to breaking down barriers for our leaders and others for whom we intercede, we cover them with the Lord’s protection through our prayers. I’m not sure exactly how that works; I just know that it does. We can claim promises in the Bible, such as in Psalms 91 and 34 for them. There are many other Scripture passages to use, as God brings them to mind.
What do we protect them from, with our prayer covering? Spiritual attacks take the form of feelings of inadequacy, discouragement, wrong mindsets, and distracted thinking on people’s minds. There could also be physical attacks on their health, finances, circumstances, and relationships.
The enemy often tries to block our leaders’ ability to hear God speak to them clearly, so that they cannot understand God’s strategies and thereby put them in motion.
These are the “gates” of hell that we break through with our prayers. Most of our effectiveness in removing these barriers is probably done through praying in the Spirit (in our prayer languages), along with direct revelation that God gives us of how to pray in English.
The intercessor’s primary function is to pray. But a secondary function is to hear things from the Lord and communicate what we have heard to our church leadership, when necessary. This can become a problem area when not handled properly. We will discuss it further in a coming post about pastor/intercessor relationships.
Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual