When it comes of an alleged special class of people who are uniquely gifted as specialists in prayer and intercession in the New Covenant era, too much has been made of too little.
The term “intercessor” is found only once in all of Scripture in Isaiah 59:16. It prophetically refers to the coming Redeemer of Zion. There are only four New Testament passages regarding intercession. The word is not used in any of the gospels or in Acts. We will briefly consider its use in the epistles:
- Romans 8:26-27 refers to the intercession of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:25 refer to the intercession of Jesus Christ.
- 1 Timothy 2:1-2 is the only place in the New Covenant Scripture where intercession is applied for the people of God. Paul exhorts believers:
That supplications, prayers, intercession and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Supplications are those humble and fervent requests or petitions that are generated by our caring hearts. While prayers are similar and inclusive of supplications, they may cover a broader range of topics, including praise, thanksgiving, confession, personal devotion, communion, asking for direction, requesting boldness, etc.
In simplest terms, intercession happens when God’s Spirit burdens an individual to pray about something that is on His heart, or when God confirms His agreement with the burden of a person’s heart. Intercession is activated by agreement between God and the believer(s). It is not uncommon for intercession to precede and lead to intervention (incarnated action).
For new creation believers, intercession is a normal supernatural phenomenon. It is examined in detail in Part 2 of this booklet.
I remember when Norman Grubb’s biographical book, Rees Howells – Intercessor, was first published back in 1973. That was the first time that I had heard the term, intercessor, applied to anyone other than the Second and Third Persons of the Godhead. Every chapter in this biography is full of drama and light as Rees Howells faced the implications of an entire surrender, learned to love the unlovely, found the key to prevailing prayer, became the channel of a mighty revival in Africa, was taught the principles of divine healing, and progressed even further in faith until world events were being affected by his prayers.
Rees Howells’ himself said there are only two intercessors:
In intercession you must always allow the Holy Spirit to direct you in it. Everything of yourself, of your own life, must go if you are to be an intercessor, but you cannot give your life for others if it belongs to you. There are only two intercessors, the Savior and the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit must have a body to pray and intercede through.
I have never done one thing in intercession without his telling me. Before God can disclose his will to you, you must be willing for his will to be done through you and pay the price. The strength of an intercession is the price paid for it. The Savior placed the highest value on lost souls so that he was prepared even to die for them. That is why one soul is worth more than all the things of the world put together. I have never lost the consciousness that I was bought with the blood of the Savior, and if he, who was perfect, was made sin for me, then I should regret it throughout eternity if I had been unwilling for the Holy Spirit to pay any price through me for others.
Praying (John) Hyde, a contemporary of Rees Howells, was known as “the apostle of prayer.” He grew up in a minister’s home. His father prayed constantly for laborers to be sent into the mission field. As he was leaving for India in 1892, a family friend promised by letter to pray that he would be filled with the Spirit. He was angry over this perceived insult, but during the voyage he confessed his need, conquered his pride and received the Spirit’s power.
In 1910, he personally prayed for four souls a day, and God answered him with hundreds saved that year. The extraordinary work took a physical toll, and doctors told him to rest or face death. He persisted in his labor, and in 1911 he was forced to return to America for his final days. Passing through Wales, he met G. Campbell Morgan, and Morgan said that he learned what real prayer was from Hyde. His dying words were: “Shout the victory of Jesus Christ.”
People like Hyde and Howells, along with many other men and women of faith, have sown the seed of Christ with prayer, and watered it with their tears. They did not give themselves titles or elite descriptions. One must be totally selfless and consecrated to consistently and successfully labor in prevailing prayer. Thankfully, history is replete with testimonies about praying followers of Jesus who prayed in the simplicity of authentic faith.
I do not take lightly those upon whom God places burdens for intercession. Every believer ought to be available to God for such a service. Scripture simply does not support that this is a unique position that is to be held by a select few. We all have equal opportunity to prevail in prayer.
Every member of the body of Christ is privileged to carry the apostolic genius within him or her, and is therefore responsible to practice His presence and to walk in His Spirit. We do not need to “pray Him down.” He’s here! We do not need to “labor” or “tarry” to get into His presence. He is alive in us, and always available to us.
Prayer and intercession is no longer relegated to a special person,
a special time, or a special place!
Yes, our Father is in heaven. However, the veil was rent at Pentecost! New creation believers have bold access into the Holy of Holies, and can freely embrace Abba Father at will. He wills for us to abide in Him, even as He abides in us!
The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. – I John 2:27
By Don Atkin
To be continued . . .
This article is an excerpt from our book New Creation Prayer. It is available in all formats, print and electronic at www.stevecrosby.com.
Copyright 2014, Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com.
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Yes I am currently reading that book on Rees Howells intercession
Steve… as you ARE aware, the world is full of useless hyperbole…even the current generation with one hand on a laptop the other on a phone, one eye on facebook and the other on twitter – know this deep down. So many times we say greatest, love, awesome etc about stuff that is merely good…you may be aware that to combat that a word has been assigned to emphasize that something is actually in the real world, seen as useful , holds true, and can be trusted in… that word is LEGIT. You sir, are LEGIT 🙂
I agree with Aaron.
Steve well written. I await this book. Just to mention and provoke, this also applies to the special class of “worship leading ministry gifting” as well 🙂
Hi Owen, yes it applies there as well. The book is available at http://www.stevecrosby.com
Steve/Don, good stuff, I’ve been reading the actual book and I came across the section where (believe it was Don writing) that he had some friends that awoke up one night and had to bind the spirit of death and spirit of thievery? From reading some of your other books and your blog, it doesn’t seem like you believe in the binding principal in spiritual warfare? I don’t doubt that these 2 people woke up with the burden to pray for your safety and my take it is God knowing their heart and intentions and not the actual wording of binding the spirits? Am I correct in that?
Hi Noel, thanks. I believe in spiritual warfare, just not defined nor practiced the way most charismatics define it and express it.