Tag Archives: intercession

Just for Intercessors: Pastor and Intercessor (Part 7)

Why are some pastors leery of having anything to do with intercessors?  Why do some intercessors flit from church to church, never quite settling down in one place?  The pastor/intercessor relationship was meant by God to be a harmonious duet of two very different ministries.  Sadly, often it has not worked out that way.  Misunderstanding and hurt fill the great divide between multitudes of prayer warriors and the pastors they were called to help.  But if we learn how the relationship is supposed to work, we can cut the problems to a minimum.

In order to stay balanced, intercessors must be plugged into a local church.  We are not above other Christians in needing to receive solid Bible teaching.  We should not be depriving ourselves of the corporate worship experience, either.  Most of all, we need accountability.  This means that we are connected to our pastors by more than just sitting through their Sunday sermons.  Pastors should know who the intercessors in their churches are.  A trust relationship must be built between the two.  If your church is small enough, you will probably be able to connect with your pastor personally.  In larger churches that may not be possible, but there is someone you can connect with — perhaps an intercessor leader.

So, where do problems come into play, and how can they be avoided?  The number one conflict between pastors and intercessors is over revelation.  Intercessors, because they spend so much time in prayer, tend to hear a lot of things from the Lord.  Often, the things they hear pertain to the local church fellowship.  Many of us have gotten the mistaken notion that if we hear something for the church, and communicate it to our pastor, he is obligated to agree with and implement what we have told him.  If he ignores our “word” or out-and-out disagrees with it, we think he is spiritually obtuse or disobedient to the Lord.  We tell other intercessors that the pastor doesn’t “get it,” or that he is resisting the Spirit.  We create suspicion of the pastor and his motives, and fuel division in the church.  We build our own little faction of disgruntled people.  Unity flies out the window, but of course it is the pastor’s fault!  All of this is completely out of order.  Small wonder that many pastors do not trust intercessors.

Here are the rules of the road when dealing with your pastor:

1.)  If he welcomes revelatory feedback from his intercessors, by all means give it — but then leave it there.  Your job is done, once you have communicated your information.

2.)  The pastor has the right to discern your revelation and from there implement it or dismiss it, as he deems best.  God will not punish him if he does not do what you say.  Part of his discerning process will be listening to see if God places a witness of agreement in his own heart.  He may also discuss your word with other church leadership and pay attention to whether other intercessors not directly connected with you are telling him similar things.  He may put your word on a back burner, sensing that it is possibly valid, but the timing is not quite right for it yet.

3.)  The pastor is the one who hears the vision for the church.  This is his domain, not the intercessors’ or prophets’.  God may give you something that wonderfully confirms a portion of what your pastor is hearing about vision, but He does not give the church vision to someone other than the pastor.

I once knew a woman who repeatedly came to her pastor with the declaration that God had given her the vision for the church, and that the pastor’s vision was not correct.  She pestered him to alter course according to what she felt she had heard.  When her word was not received, she began to plant division in the hearts of other members of the congregation behind the scenes.  This behavior is ungodly — and unfortunately, it is not uncommon.  (Now that I think about it, I know several intercessors who have done this.)

Pastors, you can keep your relationship with your intercessors in good working order by letting them know they are an appreciated, important part of the Body, that you are eager to hear from them, and that you will seriously consider what they say.  Regularly communicating your needs to them, so that they know you value them and their prayers, goes a long way toward building a great relationship with your intercessor team.

Next time we will talk in detail about what the road rules I’ve listed here mean for intercessors.

Previous: What Well Are You Dipping From? (Part 6)
Next: Pastor and Intercessor (Part 8) 

NewIntMan100

Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

Out of the Fire Ministries

Just for Intercessors: What Well Are You Dipping From? (Part 6)

Intercessors tend to connect well with the spirit realm.  Did you know that it is possible to hear and see things that are not from the Holy Spirit?  If it is not from Him, then it is not to be entertained, period!  Jeremiah 23:28 admonishes us, “… he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully.  What is the chaff compared to the wheat?”  Jeremiah is saying that if the “word” we have is not coming from God, it is not revelation to be desired.  It is as worthless as chaff.

I have known intercessors who have been so eager for revelation that they were willing (albeit subconsciously) to hear it from doubtful, even demonic, sources.  What was behind this error was an inner need for recognition for their prophetic abilities.  They were good people who loved the Lord, but they had a spiritual problem.

We all “hear” and “see” things from time to time that are not from God.  We’re pressing toward 100% accuracy in hearing God only, but we’re still growing. The enemy sometimes tries to mimic the Lord’s voice, usually pandering to what our flesh wants to hear.  Our own imaginations can fool us as well.  As we mature in the Lord, we become better at discerning which is which.  It is easier to discern between God’s voice and demon voices than it is to discern between God and our own imaginations. After awhile, we learn to immediately dismiss the demonic injections into our thoughts – IF we are not harboring wrong attitudes.  As we go deeper in our intimate relationship with Jesus, we become better at discerning the difference between God and our own ideas as well.  Jesus promises us that we will know His voice and that we will not follow the voice of another (John 10:3-5, 8).  We can count on this promise, but the main ways we grow in knowing the difference are through spending lots of time reading the Bible and practicing listening in prayer.

Unfortunately, many of us have past associations with the occult.  Some of us have put away the wrong toys and activities, but have not gone through the appropriate repentance/deliverance process.  (By deliverance, I mean that you have asked the Lord to free you of any demonic inroads into your life that have occurred through your evil actions.  Occult participation always puts demonic hooks in our lives, but, praise God,  “Whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered” (Joel 2:32).

If you have ever dabbled in astrology, fortune telling (palmistry, tea leaves, crystal balls, tarot cards, etc.), ESP, mind reading, or Ouija boards, and you have not made the effort to fully repent and seek deliverance from the Lord, you have an open door in your life to be hearing from demonic sources – even if you don’t intend to.  Other occult avenues that need to be repented of are TV and movie watching of “paranormal” activities (spooky stuff, UFO’s, magic, horror, etc.), Eastern religion, New Age practices, and yoga.  (And by the way, yoga breathing and stretching exercises are intricately connected with the spirit realm, whether you intend to get into that aspect of it or not.  Yoga at any level should not be practiced by believers.)

If there is a question mark in your mind, or if you find yourself resisting what I’m saying, let’s just take care of it right now to be sure.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if you have any open doors to the demonic in your life through past occult activity.  Repent of anything at all that comes to mind.  Renounce such activity, tell those demons to be gone forever from your life in Jesus’ Name, and trust Jesus from this point on to keep you free of such things.  Don’t obsess about it; just take care of it.  It’s that simple.

Previous: More on Avoiding Weirdness (Part 5)
Next: Pastors and Intercessors (Part 7) 

NewIntMan100

Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual

Out of the Fire Ministries

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)

NewIntMan100

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) 

NewIntMan100

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