Quite a few people coming to this blog are asking about apostolic intercession. So today, I would like to share what I have learned thus far on the subject. I’m going to state honestly and right upfront that there is not a lot of concrete information in the Bible to help us. I will be sharing a little of what I have been taught by others, but mostly what the Lord has been revealing to me personally over time.
Let’s start with a few possible definitions. You may recognize yourself in one or more of them, but keep in mind that definitions are simply tools to help us understand concepts, not standards to measure ourselves against to see whether we have arrived or are disqualified. We will be much happier if we simply do what God has given us to do, let Him continually take us further, and not worry about wearing tags and titles.
1.) An apostolic intercessor functions as a personal intercessor for an apostle.
2.) An apostolic intercessor is aligned with an apostle and taps into the apostolic authority flowing downward from that apostle. Whatever the apostle’s jurisdiction of authority is, is what the apostolic intercessor has authority to reach into in prayer and receive answers for.
3. An apostolic intercessor has been given authority by God to pray and receive answers within a particular sphere of influence — such as a region, state, or nation that he or she is called to intercede for.
It is this last definition that I would like to examine more in-depth. In a sense, the apostolic intercessor might be acting in the role of an apostle in the realm of prayer — being “sent” in intercession (“apostle” means one who is sent) to a region or nation.
Another mark of this type of apostolic intercessor is that he or she will usually be a leader of other intercessors. Teaching others the keys to answered prayer and bringing them up into greater levels of understanding about intercession will be part of his or her function. The group of intercessors that he leads will also flow corporately in the greater authority of the apostolic intercessor leader in receiving answers to prayer for their region.
The Old Testament prophets provide a model of what apostolic intercession entails. They were sent not only to speak to the nation of Israel, but in many cases, to pray for her as well. And they received extraordinary answers as they prayed. Daniel repented on behalf of Israel and with his prayers accomplished their return to their land from exile (Daniel 9:1-19). Elijah prayed for the rain to cease, and he received the answer; he prayed for the rain to return, and it did (James 5:17, 18). After first laying the groundwork in prayer, he decreed an end to rain, and he decreed the onset of rain again 3 1/2 years later (1 Kings 17:1 and 1 Kings 18:44). Elijah taught others by establishing schools of prophets.
An apostolic intercessor would certainly need to be a prophetic intercessor as well — listening to the Holy Spirit for direction and then praying matters out according to what He reveals.
Rees Howells, who lived during the first half of the 20th century, is a fine example of an apostolic intercessor who, along with the band of intercessors he led, received miraculous answers during World War 2 for Great Britain and the rest of Europe. In addition, their prayers brought intervention for Ethiopia during a critical time in its history, and were instrumental in the reestablishment of Israel as a nation. If you are serious about understanding apostolic intercession, I strongly recommend reading The Intercession of Rees Howells, by Doris Ruscoe and Rees Howells: Intercessor, by Norman Grubb. You may wish to read my series of posts about Mr. Howells as well.
I also recommend Derek Prince’s book, Secrets of a Prayer Warrior. In it are essential keys for apostolic intercessors (or anyone who desires to change the world through prayer). Mr. Prince comments, “God has made us a Kingdom of priests. As such, our responsibility is to rule by prayer. The Bible reveals that this world is not really ruled by presidents and governors and dicators. They only seem to rule. The people who really rule the world are those who know how to pray.”
You might find my book, House of Prayer ~ House of Power of value, too. It is geared toward the one who is feeling a tug upon his or her heart to form a prayer group and lead others in intercession to transform their region. It has practical information on how to get started, along with outline teachings you can use to train up your group in the art of intercession.
The role of apostolic intercessor is weighty. It requires serious commitment to prayer. It also requires humility — an emptying of self with all its ambitions for recognition. It is not an overnight process, but something that takes time and a great deal of refining to come into. E. M. Bounds commented, “A severe apprenticeship in the trade of praying must be served in order to become a journeyman in it.”
We all have a long way to go, at every level of intercession, in being effective. Whether you are specifically called to apostolic intercession or not, God will show you your area of influence and how to obtain your answers. Each of us has a key role to play in advancing the Kingdom of God through prayer.