Many common beliefs and practices regarding prayer and intercession are based on Old Testament typologies that do not reflect an understanding of the realities of the New Covenant era. They need a thorough New Covenant update.
New Covenant Update 1
There are many different legitimate graces, gifts, callings, and arenas of “ministry” in the kingdom that are not explicitly defined in Scripture. However, there’s a difference between flowing in graces that may not be explicitly defined, and making one of them equivalent to those that are explicitly listed. Prophetic intercessors are not included in the Ephesians 4 list (And God gave some apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints for the work of ministry . . . – Eph. 4:13. KJV). Where intercession is concerned, too much has been made of too little.
Dear ones, there’s simply not a shred of New Testament justification for a special class of individuals known as intercessors. There are believers who practice interceding and who are better at it, do it more regularly, and get better results! But turning that into a special class or “office,” is simply baseless. Intercession is a grace available to everyone called by the name of Christ. The only difference is, some give themselves to it more than others. Give yourself to it, and you will also be an “intercessor.”
I find it intriguingly odd that people whose faith is rooted in the universal priesthood of believers and opposition to the clergy/laity and secular/sacred divide, can so readily support a belief system that relegates the ministry of prayer to a class of specialists.
We have entire conferences dedicated to the proposition that there are “intercessors” and then there are . . . “others.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the mutual encouragement and edification of those who have given themselves to prayer and intercession, or any ministry for that matter. However, developing an exclusive and elitist subculture for mystical specialists is outside New Testament boundaries.
New Covenant Update 2
Because the New Covenant foundation for a specialized class of intercessory ministry is nil, almost all teaching on this topic comes from the Old Covenant and Old Covenant typological teaching regarding watch men and standing in the gap. The danger in teaching shadow is that without diligence, you will miss the substance.
Indeed, the Old Covenant calls for someone to “stand in the gap” to make up the hedge. Indeed, God was always looking for a faithful “man” to fill that position. News flash: The position has been filled. The job posting has been removed from God’s Monster.com account. As offensive as it is, He has found someone better than you, and better than me. His name is Jesus!
The gap between God and humanity has been closed for two thousand years. Christ Jesus in resurrection is the Man God was looking for to close the gap. God the Father is not looking for anyone else. He has found His rest in that Man, and in that Man in us. There is only one mediator. You and I in our intercessory prayer are not mediating or closing anything. To think otherwise is dangerously close to blasphemy. Thinking that through our shouting, declaring, and decreeing this or that, that we are somehow closing a gap, something left undone in Christ’s finished work, is, well . . . very troubling.
This article is an excerpt from our book, New Creation Prayer available in all formats, print and electronic at www.stevecrosby.com
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Boy do I agree with you 100%..thanks for this post it was an encouragement??I’m currently reading a book called–Rees Howells Intercessor by Norman grubb..it was recommended by a freind and man it had me wondering but your post gave me comfort.
Yes, that book is a classic and testimony of the power of prayer to those who will give themselves to it. The problem is, making an elite class of specialists out of something that is open to everyone.
Good word, it has been very confusing to me why the Church believes, “well you must be called to pray, that must be YOUR ministry (saying that it wasn’t theirs).”
Reblogged this on Transcendent Notion and commented:
Prayer is not a Ministry… As well articulated by Steve.