Have you ever wished you had someone to pray with you? If you have, you’re not alone. So have multitudes through the years. Miracles happen when we pray, whether alone, or whether we have someone else pray for us.
An intercessor is someone who pleads on behalf of another person, or people. If an intercessor is a person who pleads on behalf of others, who is a prayer intercessor? A prayer intercessor is a person who prays to God for the needs of other people. A prayer intercessor can also pray for God to turn the tide from a bad outcome to a good outcome.
“Heaven is full of answers to prayers for which no one ever bothered to ask.” A quote some say Dr. Billy Graham made in the Encounter Weekly1. Intercessors fill in the gap to ensure as many prayer petitions as possible are brought before the Father, through Jesus Christ.
Prayer really helps. Crowds pressed against Jesus to pray for them and some experienced the results immediately. The Disciples and early believers prayed for many. I used to feel an extra special joy on Tuesday afternoons. When a church member confessed to praying for me regularly on Tuesday afternoons, the mystery was solved. I’ll never know how many blessings came my way because of those prayers, until that Great Day, when the Lord shall reveal them to me.
The role of a prayer intercessor among the body of believers should not be undervalued.
Being a prayer intercessor includes overcoming powers and principalities in a posture of humility before God, through the power of Jesus Christ and rejoicing when people are blessed, as a result of praying for them.
Because Prayer Intercessors are believers, they strive to please God, not themselves. A. W. Tozer said, “Selfishness is never so exquisitely selfish as when it is on its knees. …. Self turns what would otherwise be a pure and powerful prayer into a weak and ineffective one”2. It is difficult, if not impossible, to be effective intercessor, if your motives are selfish. Therefore, critical pre-requisites to becoming an intercessor are: having a clean heart (Psalm 66: 16 – 20) and being in the right relationship with God (John 15: 5; Matt 5: 21ff – offering sacrifice refers to praying under the Law of Moses, before Christ was resurrected).
No matter how much intercessors battle in prayer, they do not impose their will on God, they acknowledge God’s sovereign will and prerogative to answer as He pleases, while leaning on His mercy, grace and love, as all followers of Christ should do.
While believers submit to the will of God, they are not fatalistic. Except for the sin against the Holy Spirit, we believe that God can improve any situation, as He has done through history – He can answer prayers to stop the mouths of lions, or quench fire as He did in the Book of Daniel, or stop the wind and calm the storms as Christ did in the Gospels – so we pray for others, for the world and for ourselves.
Every follower of Christ can become an intercessor, as long as they align with God’s kingdom. We believe that God will win the final battle, as He promised (Rev 20:10ff). This gives us hope to continue watching and praying.
Jesus prayed for His disciples and others who would believe in Him. Since then, believers who follow in the Disciples’ footsteps continue to do the same. However, praying for others did not start with the New Testament believers; prophets of old interceded for their generations. Samuel said to the children of Israel, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me to sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you. . . . .” (I Samuel 12: 23 NKJV.) Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel and many more, interceded for the children of Israel during their time.
What is the difference between a prayer intercessor and a mediator? An intercessor pleads on behalf of another, a mediator negotiates and settles disputes between opposing parties, in lieu of litigation.
Can anybody mediate between God and human beings?
While any follower of Christ can become a prayer intercessor, only one who is pure and righteous can mediate between God and us. Christ alone qualified to die and come back to life in His transformed body, to save the world. Through His death and resurrection, He became the bridge between God and human beings and He settled the original schism between God and Adam that affected all human beings.
Born-again believers, aka born-from-above believers (Billy Graham phrase) do not pray through mediums, or prophets, or other Christians (aka saints), we pray directly to God through Christ and Christ alone. Why?
- God forbade His children to consult mediums. (Leviticus 19:31; Acts 8: 9 -24.)
- All have sinned. Nobody, not even a believer in Christ is holy enough to save the world, or approach God’s throne, without the protective covering of Jesus’ blood. (Romans 3:23 – 26; Rev 5: 1ff.)
- Christ stands as the only Intercessor, Mediator and High Priest between God and human beings. He alone can approach the throne of God. (Hebrews 7:15 – 28.)
In Christ’s role as both Intercessor, Mediator and High Priest, He is ever before the Father. Every prayer that we utter, whether intercessory, or in person, goes directly through Him to the Father.
Another attribute of an intercessor is that an intercessor knows the Word of God and honors it. To pray perfectly in God’s will, intercessors align their prayers with God’s promises in His Word. For who can instruct the Lord (1 Corinth 2: 10 -16; *vs16)?
Generally, believers and intercessors pray in their common languages – mother tongue, or languages they understand, some also pray in the Spirit (Acts 2: 1ff; I Corin 12: 1ff). Whether a believer prays with understanding, or in the Spirit, one thing remains certain, the Holy Spirit does not contradict God’s Word. His mission is to help believers remain in true relationship with God and within God’s protection. Intercessors pray in submission to the power and the working of the Holy Spirit and desire that the answers to their prayers glorify God.
Intercessors believe in the efficacy of prayer and show it by praying for others. Like J. Hudson Taylor, a British missionary to China, intercessors believe that it is possible, “to move man, through God, by prayer alone”3. True intercessors feel blessed and encouraged when God answers their prayers and blesses those for whom they were interceding.
Paul encouraged believers to pray without ceasing. As Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work”4. It is a noble calling to pray for other people. So, every believer should desire to be a prayer intercessor. Andrew Murray wrote, “We surely have no conception of the magnitude of the work to be done by God’s intercessors, or we would cry to God above everything to give us the spirit of intercession”5.
If you have never considered intercession as an important part of your ministry to others and would like to become an intercessor, please pray this prayer, or pray from your heart:
“Father, please help me remember to pray for at least one person, other than my family and me, or a need of the world, every day, I pray, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
1. Could not be verified due to the many comments Dr. Graham has made during his life’s ministries. (K.C. James, Administrative Services, Billy Graham Library, BGEA. Email response to query, April 15, 2015.)
2. Tozer, A.W. Keys to the Deeper Life. Zondervan Publishing House. Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530. c1957, 1984 by Creation House.
3. Harrison, E. Myers. Heroes of Faith on Pioneer Trails. Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois. c1945. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. www.kessinger.net. (September 10, 2010).
4. Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. 1992. Original Edition: Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc., 1935. (May be obtained from: Discovery House Publishers, P. O. Box 3566, Grand Rapids, MI 49501).
5. Murray, Andrew. The Ministry of Intercession. Whitaker House. USA. www.whitakerhouse.com. 1982, p. 139.
Psalm 66: 16 – 20
Mathew 8: 1ff; Mark 3: 1ff; John 15: 5; Acts 3: 1 – 10
Ephesians 6: 10 – 18
Mark 3: 28
John 14: 13 – 14; 17: 1ff
Revelation 20: 10ff
I Samuel 12: 23 – 24
Exodus 14: 13 – 20
I Kings 17: 1ff; 18: 41ff
2 Kings 6: 8ff
Daniel 3: 19ff; 6: 13ff; 10: 12ff (please read in context)
Ephesians 1: 15ff
Colossians 1: 9ff
I Thessalonians 5: 17, 25
James 5: 13ff
Psalm 119: 9 – 16
Hebrews 7: 15 – 28
Revelation 5: 1ff; 8 – 10
Acts 2: 1 ff; I Corinthians 12: 1 – 11
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: Dr. Billy Graham crusade messages (references to being “born-from above”)