Day 12 – Intercession and the Bible
Effective Prayer Podcast, by Colin Dye
In 1 Timothy 4:5 it shows us that there is a link between the Word of God and intercession. Remember I said the prophets received the word and then they intercede. First Timothy 4:5 speaks about food, for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. So there is the link between the Word of God and prayer. So when people were saying grace over food, they were pronouncing the Word of God over that food, and the food is blessed, “God has told me that my bread and my water are blessed; He will take sickness away from me.” They would say grace, they would claim the Word of God, and they would do it in prayer. And so when we come before the Lord to pray, we need a word. When we come to intercede, we need a special word from the Lord about how we are to intercede.
Now as in the Old Testament the result of intercession is total transformation, and that’s what happened when this food was prayed over. It became set-apart. It was now acceptable. It was consecrated for us, for our use in the Lord’s work. As we often pray, “Lord, bless this food to us and us to your service in Jesus’ name.” What we’re saying is that the food has now got a holy job to do. It’s to feed Colin Dye the preacher; it’s to feed you in your ministry so that you will be strong and it will do its job and you will serve Jesus.
Now time and time again we read how that when people interceded they were bringing a kind of complaint before the Lord about something and they wanted action, they wanted God to do something, but instead God would give a revelation about what we should do. Remember Moses had something to do. He had to confront the people and deal with the sin. And so when we intercede, you are placing yourself in service.
I tell you what, you start crying out to God like this and He will soon tell you there is something that you must do. Rise up and do something about that situation. That is why intercession is high-level praying, and it’s why nobody who enters leadership in any way should be anything less than a fully-fledged intercessor. Every believer should be an intercessor. We’re not just saying some people should intercede, separate a certain group of people to become intercessors. No.
We are all called to intercede, but when we intercede, we enter high-level praying and anything is possible. When Elijah interceded about Israel, God told him what he had to do. He had to go and pronounce a prophesy, “There will be no more rain, as far as I’m concerned, until I say so in the name of the God whom I serve.” And then when that was finished and the drought was over, Elijah had to go and pray that the drought would end, and so his prophetic pronouncements were pronouncements which came out of prayer and were backed up by prayer. And so the Holy Spirit leads us in exactly the same way.
Now when we talk about flowing in intercession today, I want to make some preliminary remarks. First of all, intercession is the overflow of a life of love. There is no doubt about it. If you don’t flow in love, you are not going to intercede. You won’t be prepared to pay the price.
And Jesus loves us. His intercession is an expression of love. Love and intercession are inseparable, and so you can measure how much you love by how much you intercede. That’s why we all need to discover a new zeal and new depth in prayer and intercession. Why? Because we love people. We want to be strong in our love.
Now this also shows you that love can be a byproduct of intercession. If you don’t love somebody, the first thing you need to do is to go and intercede for them. You’ll soon start loving them, because as you pray and intercede, you will be changed yourself as well as other people will be changed through your intercession.
And so when we minister in intercession, we need to begin—I’m going to give you four or five principles now of how to flow in intercession. First of all, we need to identify with the person in need. We need to identify with the person in need, okay? Now why is this so important? Because true intercession has got to flow out of a spirit that is engaged. There needs to be a prayer engagement. And this is why a lot of prayer meetings are boring and why people find praying boring, because so few understand that you can’t pray until your spirit is engaged.
Now that is you responsibility. It is your responsibility to do that. You can’t just sit back and say, “Well, God will engage me when He wants to, when He wants to.” No, you must rise up and offer yourself for some Holy Spirit engagement. As the Holy Spirit comes, He will lay a burden on you and there will be an identification with that burden, and out of that identification will come a zeal, a fervency.
Let me put it to you this way: Suppose you were to receive a telephone call and somebody near you, your best friend, your brother, your sister, your mother, your son, your daughter, you hear that that person has been knocked down by a car and is in critical condition in hospital. You won’t say, “Oh well, I take that intellectual information on board, I make a note of it in my diary. I must remember some time soon to go and visit and yes, okay.” You don’t react like that.
How do you react? You are immediately engaged. You think, “Oh no! Something has happened!” You are involved, and if you then are a praying person, you won’t go and say, “Oh well, I will go and do five courses in the Bible institute to find out how I should pray in this situation.” You’ve no time for that, have you, because you are engaged and you will just pray. You don’t need to wait, “I’ll wait ‘til the prayer burden comes.” No! You will pray, and you may say, “I don’t know how to pray right now, but I’ll just do what I know. Oh God…”
That might be as far as you get, but you’ve engaged more with those two words than if you just read out a volume of pre-prepared, pre-packaged prayers about what to do in certain times of distress. If it comes from your spirit, that might be all you can say, “Oh my God, no! Oh God! Help, Lord, help!” That’s stronger intercession, it’s violent intervention. You are stepping into the spiritual realm, “Oh God, no! I’m standing before You. I’m standing in the gap.” You are identifying.
Now in the same way, the Holy Spirit can lead you to identify with any need He chooses to, or any need that is upon your heart, and you can pray as if it was your son, as if it was your daughter. You can pray as if it was your family. You can pray as if it was your sickness. You can pray as if it was your nation being threatened. That’s identification. All intercessors know about the Spirit of identification. It comes upon you and something rises on the inside of you and you say, “Oh my God, I pray right now for the people of Sierra Leone with all that rebel activity. I pray right now for the people in Kosovo with all of the slaughter.”
Right in the midst of that, you are experiencing the Holy Spirit’s intercession. You are experiencing the Holy Spirit’s identification when you need a touch from Him. And as the Holy Spirit leads you on in this ministry of intercession, you will find yourself increasingly sensitive to His burden, and that is how you can pray with engagement.
So you identify with the needs, then also you can identify with the person in need. And it focuses on other people. That’s what intercession is all about. You become sensitive to the intercessory burden, and when you feel this deep identification with the need and the person who holds the need, you then can pray and this burden begins to be lifted as you pray through it.
And of course this is not something that is, you know, just within your own emotions, but the Holy Spirit will take your emotions and use them. Then when you have this burden of intercession on you, you will persevere, and as you grow spiritually you will find that you can persevere in intercession for long, long periods of time, and you will be persistent as you come and pray again and again.
When we think of the years we’ve prayed for Northern Ireland, persisted in praying, because of the difficulties in that nation, how we prayed for years for Albania to open up to the gospel, how we prayed for years for the communist nations, and God, over the years, began to help and began to move as we agonized in the Spirit. Intercessory concern, my friend, will not just last for a few moments. No, it can go on for weeks and months and years. Not in every case, but it can go on as long as that. But it certainly implies persistence, and as you move in intercession, you will find the Holy Spirit building up your stamina, and then there comes a time when there is a breakthrough, and you have a sense of joy and a sense of release, and the heaviness goes and you know that something has happened and it moves into praise and thanksgiving and joy and blessing.
Then in all of this you realize that you have been privileged to stand—or even to sit if you want to use the more technical description—with Christ in heavenly places, taking up that true place. Remember I said all intercession takes place in the heavens, and when we intercede by entering into that heavenly realm and moving at high levels, you know that you have been with Jesus.
When I prayed for that man, having heard that he was struck down by a car, I entered the spiritual realm over that situation and stood in the gap in the heavenlies over that situation and shared with Jesus in heavenly intercession, taking…making sure that His will was done.
Now in the Book of Job, Job understands that he really does need a representative. He really does need someone who will intercede for him and mediate and intercede. He didn’t have the intercessors that he needed. There are people today who are looking for intercessors, “Oh, that there was someone who would represent my face. Oh, that there was somebody to intercede for me.” There are situations in the nations and across the world and God is calling intercessors to stand in the gap and to deal with the things that God is calling.
Now I want to show you the stages of intercession, and as I do this, I really must approach this with caution, because I’m not suggesting there’s stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, and so forth, making this some kind of formula, but for teaching purposes I’ve broken it down more or less to stages so that we can see how this works.
Now first of all we need to wait for an understanding of God’s will—an understanding of God’s will. You see, many people go rushing into the presence of God and start praying whatever they think they should. No. Before you pray, wait. Before you intercede, wait. You can’t intercede unless you move in your prophetic realm, your prophetic anointing. And prophetic anointing means you’re going to hear from God, so you need to wait for an understanding of the will of God.
You might not need to have a complete revelation of everything, but you need to enter the presence of God and find out what He is wanting you to pray. That is what I did. We heard the news, the man was knocked down, we heard that he was on the way to hospital, critical; that’s the information we had. So we said, “Lord, how do you want us to pray?” and we waited for an understanding of His will, and He showed us death. Then He showed us we could push death back, then He showed us we could push death back completely, and He showed us that we could pray for a complete restoration. And as we heard what God was telling us to do, so we did it and we prayed according to Him and according to His will.
I want you to turn to Daniel chapter 9 and here is a very significant chapter that shows us how this works. And here we have Daniel 9, verses 1 to 20, the story of Daniel praying, and it says in verse 2, “In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”
In other words, Daniel said, “I discovered as I was reading my Bible, I discovered from the prophecies of Jeremiah that God said there would be seventy years of desolations upon Jerusalem, and I noticed the date on my calendar. Those seventy years are almost up.” Now what would you do? If God was to say to you, “The promise that I made seventy years ago is about to be fulfilled,” you would say, “Hallelujah,” and you would call a praise party and say, “It’s going to happen.”
Well yes, certainly praise, but Daniel did something first. You see, he was a prophet and he knew that intercession is about praying God’s will into fulfillment, and he had an understanding of God’s will. He said, “Jeremiah told us seventy years. The seventy years are nearly up. We had better get praying, brothers. We had better get on with this business quickly, because the time is almost up.”
And it says, verse 3, “Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession.” So when you have an understanding of the will of God, the first thing you do is to pray it, and then you examine the things that might be obstructing that will from being fulfilled. That is a very important prayer principle; make a note of it.
We are praying, for example, God has promised revival, I know God has promised revival, and the revival is here. It is happening. The revival meetings night by night prove it, people repenting, crying out to God, non-Christians’ lives being touched, believers coming back to Jesus, backsliders being renewed, the church is being revived. It’s happening. It’s not in its fullness yet, but God spoke to us nearly ten years ago to tell us it was coming. What did we do for the ten years? Wait until the date on the calendar? No. We prayed, and in our praying we looked at the things that will be preventing revival from coming, and dealt with this according to our human responsibility and began to repent and began to fast and began to plan and strategize and get ready for what God was going to do. If God promises something, get ready for it.
Some of you have had promises, I know, prophetic words from the Lord from other people, and they have never been fulfilled. Why? Because you just took it as a promise and said, “Okay, well God said it, so He will do it.” No! You’ve got to take the word, the prophetic word, and pray it into existence. You’ve got to pray it into fulfillment.
And so, when you intercede, the first thing you do is to wait for the revelation and the understanding of God’s will. Secondly, you need to pray the Word of God—pray the Word of God. The Bible is our prayer book; it reveals God’s will so that when we come to the Word of God we find here His will and pray accordingly, and so prayerful people, intercessors, must be Bible people. You must have a daily Bible-reading program that takes you through the Bible at least once a year—more than that if possible, more than that.
My Bible reading program takes me through the Bible four times in a year. I am constantly reading the Word of God. It is breaking over my mind and putting me in touch with the will of God on a daily basis. You don’t start with that; build up to that; but start, at least reading the Bible through once a year. And then when you get the scripture, when you get the understanding from the Word of God, you pray accordingly.
Number #3, you also use the revelation gifts of the Holy Spirit. You need the revelation gifts of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the most invaluable aid, as we’ve seen, in intercession. He gives us invaluable tools to help us come in line and stay in line with God’s will and direction and intercession. Tongues is a useful way of praying in the will of God; prophecy will give you revelation and direction in prayer; discerning of spirits will help you grasp how the Holy Spirit is leading you. The word of knowledge will give you specific prayer information. The word of wisdom will show you how to proceed in intercession, and how we can move forward in the revelation He’s given us. We need wisdom when we have knowledge to communicate both to the Lord and to others according to that knowledge.
Now I want to share with you some of the common features of intercession. Loud prayers. I like that bit. Loud prayers. We saw that the enteuxis of Acts 24…Acts 25:24, when the Roman authorities were petitioned to deal with Paul, that day there was a great deal of noise there, so we mustn’t think that Jesus is so timid. Noisy prayers, loud prayers—if they arise out of a spirit that is engaging with God’s Spirit. Noise of noise’s sake is nothing, and we’ve got to learn, my friends, that noise does not equal power. Just because you’re shouting doesn’t make you anointed. But when you are anointed in intercession, sometimes it will mean strong, loud. We don’t have to be frightened about that because it’s a situation of emergency, “Lord, help! Oh God!” And when the burden is strong, emotions are raised so often.
But also intercession can come through silent prayers. Remember Nehemiah? He prayed a silent prayer. He said, “I spoke to the Lord and I prayed to the God of heaven.” There it is, Nehemiah 2:4-5, “Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ so I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king.” That was a very powerful prayer. It was a silent prayer. As he was talking to the king he was saying, “Lord, quick, quick, quick. Now’s my chance.”
We mix number #3 intercession with praise, worship, and thanksgiving, and so often as we pray and intercede we break through. We need to mix it with thanksgiving and to thank God for the element of the prayer that we know is being answered.
And then number #4, we are travailing in prayer—travailing in prayer. The Spirit of travail, as I dealt with under the section of the Holy Spirit, is all about the new creation groaning and travailing so that that new creation will come in, the birth pains of the Holy Spirit, just like Exodus, when the children of Israel groaned to God because of their plight and for their need to be rescued and delivered, so we can pray with that kind of intercession, and often in intercession we need to mix it with fasting—we’ll do a whole session on fasting—to show the seriousness of our desire to see God work.
And the result is the manifestation so that when we pray and intercede, we will see the answers. Sometimes we will see it with our very eyes; other times we will have to wait for news. Maybe it takes a long time before we get the news back; maybe we won’t even see until heaven, when the angels show the action replays, the slow-motion replays of what was happening, “Did you realize when you were praying in that situation we sent dozens of angels? Look here, you can see them on the video. You couldn’t see them when you were on the earth, but they were there. There am I, there am I,” and the angel will say, “There I was standing with you right at that time.”
You won’t see it until you get to heaven, but then when you get to heaven you will say, “Oh please, let me go back to the earth and do it again.” No, it’s too late. Too late. So let’s do it now. We will see the results in heaven. If you knew the difference your intercessions made on this earth, you would pray much, much more than you ever pray now and intercede much, much more.
And so, as we bring this session to a close I want to share with you that as you intercede you need to learn to pray with others according to the law of agreement, Matthew 18, “Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses let everything be established.” Deuteronomy 19:15. And we see how that as we pray together we are going to come back to this material and develop it some more, but just touch on it now as we close.
We pray together with others. One of you should put to flight 1,000; two of you 10,000. And as we pray, it’s according to the ministry of helps. It’s not a governing, ruling ministry; it’s a ministry of helps. We serve and help one another. We uphold the hands of the man of God, the one who holds the rod like Moses held up that rod. We are praying and supporting. It is a marvelous ministry of helps and support.
And then we pray, and as we pray, we pray as the whole body. We are not talking about just a few intercessors. Acts 12:5-7 shows us this,
Peter was kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church, and when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers, and the guards before the door keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and shone a light in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands.
How did that happen? Did they call together a few powerful intercessors? No. They called the church together. As the church, you are called to intercede. This is not some ministry just for a handful of people, though some are taken very high into this ministry, but it is a ministry for everybody. It’s a ministry for you, and as we bring this session on intercession to a close, I challenge you, all of you under the sound of my voice now: become an intercessor. It’s God’s call for you. It’s your prophetic anointing. It’s your Holy Spirit anointing. It’s your anointing that God gives you through the access you have into His presence. It’s your call as a believer. Become and intercessor. Learn how to stand in the gap in the Spirit and you will see God move powerfully in your life and blessing will come—not just to you, but to thousands of people as you learn to intercede.