Tag Archives: intercession

Just for Intercessors: More on Avoiding Weirdness (Part 5)

“I know I’m weird.  Everybody knows I’m weird.  I can’t help it.  Intercessors are just weird.”  Eyes bugged out wildly, the lady had her face in mine, about six inches from my nose.  I resisted the urge to flee and attempted to keep smiling while she volunteered this tidbit of information out of the blue.

She was odd, but it wasn’t because she was an intercessor.  Intercessors do not have to be cockeyed and bizarre.  There are nine gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12, but the Gift of Weirdness is not one of them.  I checked before writing this, just to make sure.

Maybe it is an attention-seeking thing, because prayer is not always a visible ministry and we develop a craving for recognition now and then.  Maybe it is because we have been told by others that intercessors are weird, and we’ve come to believe we have to fit the mold.  Maybe some of us use the intercessor cloak as an excuse to act outlandishly, so that no one will call us to account for our odd behavior.  Friends, it isn’t necessary.

Intercessors and prophets are closely related.  Many prophets are intercessors, and many intercessors are prophetically inclined.  Prophetic intercessors often see things symbolically, and sometimes we are led to enhance our prayer with symbolic gestures or phraseology.  Some of us occasionally experience intense “travailing” in prayer, which can include odd noises – groaning in the spirit.  Intercessors understand these things among ourselves, but usually it is best left within the prayer circle, not carried out into the church world at large.  And this is not even what I mean by acting weird!

I have observed that when intercessors pray or prophesy publicly with their eyes rolled up into their sockets, screaming or gasping heavily at the end of each sentence, flopping and stomping on the floor because their prophecy or prayer is so exciting, that the pastor, try as he might to look impassive, is not usually having a fun time with the whole situation.  And then we wonder why he doesn’t “receive” our word.  Could it be because the delivery of it is just plain bizarre?  Act like that, honey, and I’m not going to receive your word either — not now, not next week when you are behaving semi-normally!

I’m not sure where these prophecy-enhancing theatrics first came from.  I have my suspicions that somebody saw somebody else doing an unusual maneuver and thought it was the spiritual thing to do.  It’s not.  You can pray or prophesy without the shenanigans.  There are times that people do shake under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and it is legitimate.  But it’s not necessary to go into convulsions just because you are hearing how to pray or have a word from the Lord.  (Most of us can tell the difference between when God is shaking you up and you are simply doing it in the flesh anyway.)  Just say your piece as calmly as you can, so that everyone can understand you.  1 Corinthians 14:32 tells us, “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”  That means that when you are under God’s anointing and are thrilled with what He’s showing you, you can control yourself.  We want the attention to be on what God is saying, rather than on us, don’t we?  At least, I hope so!

Now, I’ve been having a little fun with you.  Those were pretty extreme examples I just gave of how goofy it can get.  The point is, we can control ourselves, behave normally, and be one wowsers of an intercessor.  The most powerful intercessors do not need to draw attention to themselves.  They radiate God’s glory and authority, without even being conscious of it.  They don’t need to announce their prayer exploits to the world.  They carry a “presence” with them of power, peace, and joy that is weighty.  They don’t have to make a stink to get others to listen to them. People automatically want to hear what they have to say, because they sense manna from the throne room will come from their lips.

That’s not weird.  That’s awesome.

Previous: Avoiding Weirdness (Part 4)
Next: What Well Are You Dipping From? (Part 6)

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Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

Out of the Fire Ministries

Just for Intercessors: Avoiding Weirdness (Part 4)

It’s opinion time: I hate the stereotype that we hear over and over, that intercessors are by nature a little “out there,” a little “flaky.”  It is as though, in some people’s minds, we are not true intercessors unless we are weird.  I would like to do my part in smashing this stereotype to smithereens!

Brothers and sisters, being a flake does not mean you are super-spiritual. Flakiness is not a virtue.  It means you have problems, spiritual issues.  If you are an ooky-spooky, woo-hoo intercessor, more than likely what is going on is that you just need to grow up spiritually.

There. Now that I’ve said it and given some of you major attacks of hyperventilation, let me explain.

In many years of being in contact with other intercessors, I have seen a lot of goofiness.  I’ve noticed some patterns – one of which is, flakiness and a lack of solid grounding in the Bible go hand-in-hand.  People who read the Bible regularly – the entire Bible, not just their favorite parts –  tend to be much more stable Christians.  When we read and heed the Word of God, we have a better handle on how God thinks and talks than if we don’t.  We are not as likely to be speaking and praying weird things.

Another pattern with strange intercessors is an out-of-order home life.  I can almost guarantee that a flaky intercessor lady is one who is out from under her husband’s covering.  I sympathize with women whose husbands are not saved or are just not fireballs of the Faith.  Sometimes that is not your fault, ladies.  But what often happens is that the hunger a woman has for proper alignment with her husband gets filled up in other ways, if her man won’t take his rightful place.  We women tend to take the spiritual leadership in our homes if our husbands don’t – and we snatch it quickly if they don’t get there fast!  Sometimes they are not taking the lead because we didn’t give them a chance.

So, often a woman whose husband is not heading the home fills her need for spiritual satisfaction with misplaced affections – for prayer, for ministry in the Church, for the pastor.  Being off-balance in our affections and priorities contributes to a false super-spirituality, strange ideas, and oddball behavior.  When I have the opportunity to mentor, I suggest that women whose home life is not in order step back from ministry, not spend all their time at church gatherings if it leaves their husbands neglected, and love their guys into the Kingdom.  Put your prayer affection on your husband, not your pastor.  Do spend time in prayer with other ladies, but do it when your husband is not at home wishing you were there with him.   If you get the home life right, the intercessory stuff will increase in power, and you will be a balanced person.

Men who are prayer warriors can have similar problems.  Guys, don’t neglect the wife and kids while you go off and pray in the woods for two weeks at a time.  Don’t put them down.  Show your wife respect.  Remember what 1 Peter 3:7 says: “Likewise, husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; so that your prayers are not hindered.”

Intercessors must be solidly plugged into a local church, if they are to stay balanced.  This is true of people who do not have a ministry of prayer as well.  However, because intercessors tend to be prophetic, when they are out from under the covering of a local church and pastor, their weirdness tends to hang out more visibly through the things they say about what God is speaking to them.  Staying accountable to local church leadership and sitting under sound Bible teaching is essential to avoiding hearing, speaking, and doing goofy things.  We will discuss this more in the post on pastor/intercessor relationships.

Next time: More on Avoiding Weirdness

Previous: What Intercessors Do (Part 3)
Next: More on Avoiding Weirdness (Part 5) 

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Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

Out of the Fire Ministries

Just for Intercessors: What We Do (Part 3)

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.

Previous: Not an Easy Job (Part 2)
Next: Avoiding Weirdness (Part 4) 

NewIntMan100

Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

Out of the Fire Ministries

 

Just for Intercessors: Not an Easy Job (Part 2)

So, you want to be, or are already, an intercessor?  Intercession is hard.  For the most part, it is a very behind-the-scenes ministry, with little recognition and sometimes not a great deal of respect, either.  Being on the worship team, preaching, teaching, healing the sick, prophesying, evangelizing – all these are “doing” functions in Christ’s Body, openly seen and acknowledged. True intercession, on the other hand, frequently remains a closet ministry.  If it is your calling you desire to do it, but there are times when its invisible nature makes intercession a lonely road to travel.

By definition, intercession is an others-first ministry.  While non-intercessors can spend the majority of their prayer life focusing on their own needs and relationship with the Lord, intercessors have the drive to pray about things and people outside themselves – and we are not happy if we aren’t doing so.  We must take time for our personal relationship with Jesus just like everyone else, but it is easy to neglect doing so, because we feel so pressed for others.  I love to spend intimate time with the Lord, but I have to remind myself that it is OK to take that time, the desperate urgency to obtain answers to prayer being so uppermost in my mind.

Intercessors are prone to struggling with self-worth, because usually we do not see immediate, tangible results for our efforts. Because it is not a visible ministry most of the time, we don’t often get pats on the back.  Sometimes we are even criticized by other people for not “doing” anything for the Lord.  To top it all off, the devil tempts us with, “Is prayer really accomplishing anything?”  “Maybe if I didn’t pray, this would all work out fine anyway,” and “I don’t feel needed.”  (The demonic jamming of our thoughts, by the way, is because intercession is so important, and Satan will do his utmost to derail it.)

Yet, our Father in heaven sees our ministry as essential to the success of the Church.  Two persons of the Godhead, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, operate in the ministry of intercession.

Romans 8:26, 27Likewise the Spirit also helps our weaknesses: for we don’t know what we should pray for as we ought to, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:34 –  … It is Christ who died, yes, and is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who intercedes for us. 

Hebrews 7:25 – … He [Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to intercede for them.

If two-thirds of the Trinity are involved in intercession, it must be a pretty important ministry!  If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!

Self-denial is a basic requirement for intercessors.  We do it for others … for others … for others.  The deeper we go in the intercessory life, the more God will confront us with areas of our hearts that we are still holding back for ourselves.  This is serious business.  The Apostle Paul, himself an intercessor, said, “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31), and this is the testimony of those who embrace intercession in modern times as well.  As we yield ourselves to the Lord in prayer, He works humility within us.  The refining process is necessary, but never fun.

Previous: Introduction (Part 1)
Next: What Intercessors Do (Part 3) 
NewIntMan100

Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual 

Out of the Fire Ministries

Just for Intercessors: Intro (Part 1)

I would like to take time to talk about a passion of my heart – intercession.  If any single group of people has been stereotyped as a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9), it has been the intercessors.  In the King James, “peculiar” does not mean strange, as some have thought.  It means unique and set apart.  Intercessors are often misunderstood and deemed strange – and that is partly our own fault.  God wants us to be “peculiar” in the sense of being set apart, but not in the sense of acting strangely.

In the following posts we will explore:

Why intercession is a tough ministry
What intercessors do – especially in the spirit realm
Avoiding weirdness
Discerning where our revelation is coming from
The relationship between pastor and intercessor
Intercessors whose specialty is praying for their pastors

Next: Intercession Is Not an Easy Job (Part 2)

NewIntMan100
Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual 

Out of the Fire Ministries

The Prophetic Intercessor (book review)

(Following is a review of James Goll’s book, The Prophetic Intercessor.  I know many of you are looking for information right now on prophetic intercession, and I write a lot on this subject myself.  Please take a look at the Series Topics in the right side bar for a wealth of posts on prophetic intercession.  You may also be interested in my book, The Intercessor Manual.) 

Recently I read James Goll’s The Prophetic Intercessor.  It’s a wonderful book, and I learned so much.

Here are a few of the concepts taught by Mr. Goll:

About “groaning in the spirit” (Romans 8:26, 27): “Those who are self-satisfied will have difficulty groaning; those who are desperate will have great difficulty not groaning.”

Intercessors not only build a wall or hedge of protection about others to keep out satanic attack.  They also build a wall to stave off God’s judgment by crying out for mercy for an individual or a people.

James Goll Prophetic IntercessorWorship and intercession must go hand in hand.

“Tenacity and endurance are required when the result seems to be delayed.  Even when the breakthrough begins, it takes eyes of discernment to see it.”

There is a relationship between responsibility and authority. If we have a God-given responsibility, we are granted authority through prayer.

“Discernment must be stewarded carefully.  We will either turn it into private intercession or gossip and slander.”

Anna, who prayed night and day in the temple (Luke 2:36, 37), was called a “prophetess” by God, yet she did not have a public ministry.  She ministered to the Lord in the secret place of intercession.

One of the most helpful chapters for me was the one on wisdom issues.  It dealt with protecting ourselves when doing spiritual warfare.  Mr. Goll talked a lot about keeping our focus on Jesus, rather than having our eyes on the devil or what the devil is trying to accomplish.  He commented that often the enemy brings problems to the forefront of our lives for the sole purpose of distracting us from Jesus and to derail our pure devotion for the Lord.  We do not need to war about everything; we can pick and choose which fights are important for us to engage in.  We must let Jesus guide our use of authority, rather than wearing ourselves out fighting every battle that comes along.

I was encouraged to find out that although Mr. Goll is considered to be one of the top prophets of our day, he was not sovereignly gifted in the prophetic from birth.  He did not experience fantastic open-eyed visions from the time he was a child.  He came into it gradually, through purposefully and diligently desiring to be prophetic and through actively praying Ephesians 1:15-19.  I am not among those who have been sovereignly gifted in the prophetic, either, and I took heart and hope in reading that I can come into a high level of hearing and seeing in the Spirit by asking God to increase it in me.  (Isn’t it great that God wants to reach down and pull up those of us who are average into higher levels than we ever thought we could get to?)

I highly recommend The Prophetic Intercessor to anyone with a leaning toward prayer, from the person who is still wondering if he or she has a call to intercession, on up to the most seasoned of prayer warriors.

Purchase this book at Amazon: The Prophetic Intercessor
Or, see Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

 

The Power of Your Prayer Language (Part 7)

We’ve talked about why the gift of tongues, as used in our private prayer language, is so vital to living a powerful Christian life.  It produces health in our bodies, thoughts, and emotions.  It is one of the weapons of our spiritual warfare, is the seventh piece of the armor mentioned in Ephesians 6, and enables us to pray perfect prayers according to God’s will.  It produces a communion between God and us that causes us to walk in greater faith, wisdom, understanding, and discernment.  And, combined with the interpretation of tongues, it helps us to hear God’s voice.

The question we might ask at this point is, “Why would I not want to pray in tongues?”

I would like to encourage those of my readers who have not yet received their prayer language to press God for it until you do receive it.  It is not that He is unwilling to give it to us; it is that some of us have a harder time than others in pressing past our own issues to get to the point of yielding.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “… He [God] is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him,”  and Psalm 84:11 promises, “… No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  As the saying goes, anything worth having is worth fighting for.  Great men of God, such as John G. Lake and Smith Wigglesworth, have struggled to receive their prayer language, yet they refused to give up until they received the promise, and they were not disappointed.

(Note: Since first writing this article, I have learned more about how to aid people in receiving their prayer language easily. Please see my article, How to Easily be Baptized in the Spirit with Tongues.)

For those of you who already have your prayer language, may I encourage you to use it abundantly?  You can train yourself into the habit of praying in tongues (in a whisper, if you like) while you work around the house, drive your car, and do other everyday tasks.  After awhile, it becomes so natural to pray in your prayer language, that you do not consciously make a decision to do it, and you may have been praying for some time before you become aware of it.  It enables us to be in constant communion with the Lord throughout our day.  It’s one of the ways to bring ourselves closer to Paul’s command to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Paul commented, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all” (1 Corinthians 14:18).  If the prayer language was important to Paul, it should be treasured and nurtured by us, too.

Previous: The Power of Your Prayer Language (Part 6) 

 

Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

 

 

The Baptism in the Spirit: Why You Need It & How to Get It, by Lee Ann Rubsam (CD or mp3)