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"He saw that there was no one, and he was appalled that there was no one to intercede . . .Isaiah 59:16.


The ministry of intercession is unknown to many Christians, but it is a very important part of the prayer ministry. According to the concordance, the word intercession means:

"A meeting between (1 Timothy 2:1).

"To come or fall upon; to meet" (Jeremiah 7:16; 27:18).

"To meet with; to come between (Romans 8:27,34; 11:2; Hebrews 7:25).

To meet with on behalf of another (Romans 8:26).


Abraham (Genesis 18:20-33).

Moses (Exodus 32:9-14).

Daniel (Daniel 9:2-19 - especially Daniel's prayer).

Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:2-11).

But the great example we have of the ministry of intercession is that of the Lord Jesus Himself (Romans 8:34).

The death of Jesus upon the Cross was an act of intercession. He was not dying for his own sin and guilt, but for ours. He was bearing God's judgment in our place. As He hung upon the Cross, He hung between heaven and earth, between God and man. That was the final act of intercession for the sin of the human race - never to be repeated (Romans 6:10).

However, from this wonderful act of redemption we are given the picture of what the ministry of intercession really is - taking the place of another in prayer before God.


Jesus' ministry in heaven right now, as our eternal High Priest, is to intercede before the Father for us, His brothers (Hebrews 2:10-11; Heb 7:25).

He is able to make intercession for us because He knows how we feel, for He has lived on the earth as a man (Hebrews 2:14; Heb 4:14-15).

His priestly ministry is also expressed through the Church, His Body upon the earth (1 Peter 2:5,1 Peter 2:9; Rev 1:6).

This kind of intercession is prayer that is anointed by the Holy Spirit so that the one praying can feel how the person he is praying for feels, and often can only be expressed through deep, inutterable groans (Romans 8:26).


Around the world, as Christians pray for needs that the Holy Spirit lays upon their hearts, they sometimes find one of four distinct anointings of intercession come upon them, enabling them to enter fully into the burden the Lord is giving them.

Bearing the Burden of the Lord

Sometimes when Christians are praying, they begin to feel a sense of deep grieving and sorrow, and begin to weep. The Holy Spirit has laid a burden on their heart so that they can feel how God feels as He intercedes for His divided, broken Church, or for an individual, a city, a nation or a people.

As His Body, we can enter into the same heart felt sorrow that Jesus expressed as He wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41) and as He agonised in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37-38).

And He brings the same challenge to His Body today that He brought to His disciples in the Garden. Could you men not watch with me for one hour?" Matthew 26:40.

Identification with Others

Sometimes the Holy Spirit anoints prayer in such a way that the person praying actually feels what the other person is going through - depression, loneliness, rejection, condemnation, grief, bitterness, fear, pain, or the like - so that, just as the Lord Jesus understands what we go through, and thus is able to go on our behalf before the Father (Hebrews 4:14-16), the person praying will know how to pray for the one in need. Here the Christian must realise that he is not experiencing it for himself, but for someone else. He is standing in another person's place before God (see Galatians 6:2).


Another anointing of intercession is that of travailing - a deep groaning of the Spirit within us to bring something to birth in the spiritual realms (Galatians 4:19).


The fourth anointing of the Holy Spirit in intercession is that of spiritual warfare - coming against the spiritual powers of darkness, battering the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18-19; Mark 3:27).

This anointing is not manifest in weeping or groaning, but in a wrestling with the enemy (Ephesians 6:12), in declaring the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), in praise and in proclaiming Jesus as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and victor over the forces of Satan (Phil 2:9-11; Rev 17:14).

With each of these aspects of intercession, the Christian should know when the victory has been won in the spiritual realms - even if it has not yet been manifested outwardly. The Holy Spirit will lift the burden from him with a tremendous sense of joy and victory.


Since the ministry of intercession enters the frontline of the battle against the enemy - taking the battle to him, as it were - it is essential that those involved in this ministry are protected against counter-attacks.


It is extremely important for intercessors to move into their ministry under the guidance of their pastor (Hebrews 13:17). This ensures spiritual protection for the believer within the context of the Body of Christ. His ministry then becomes an extension of the rest of the Body.


It is also necessary that wives are in right attitude to their husbands (1 Corinthians 11:3). Or if there is anything wrong in a believer's relationship with another Christian, it must be sorted out.


The Apostle Paul exhorts us to put on the whole armour of God in our battle against the enemy and against his hold on people's lives (Ephesians 6:11-19).

For example, faith is a vital ingredient in the ministry of intercession, for without it the enemy has a foothold to attack; and how can we intercede for someone else if we don't have on the breastplate of righteousness – an awareness of our right standing with God? In Bible times, men changed the course of history through intercession.

Now, in these crucial days when God is winding up His glorious plan, the challenge comes to us: "And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land . . . but I found no one" Ezekiel 22:30 (NASB).

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