Purpose of this Session
With an understanding of what intercession is we will now enter into a discussion regarding the exercise of intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer in essence is not a kind of prayer apart from others, but rather an application of prayer principles and the different kinds of prayer on behalf of others.
The prayer of faith, for example, may be prayed on behalf of someone else’s situation. Or a prayer of agreement may be entered into for someone else’s need. This is a form of intercessory prayer.
If, together with the Holy Spirit, we will choose to give ourselves in this manner, powerful results will be released. Nations and cities stand, waiting for someone to take the place of intercession on their behalf; someone to plead Christ’s cause for their salvation (much like Abraham in Genesis 18 interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah).
We will now look at some other forms of prayer most often utilised in an intercessory context.
Standing in the gap
In this kind of prayer we, as intercessory pray-ers, seek to connect someone in need with the God who can answer that need. They may be unsaved for example; Christ’s blood has been shed for them (2 Cor 5:18-19), but they need someone to stand on their behalf and call forth God’s purposes for their life. We stand between the person, identifying ourselves with them and pleading according to the Word and promise of God on their behalf. Spiritually, with one hand we take hold of the person, with the other we touch God, bringing the two together. We become, in a sense, the conduit through which Christ’s purpose for that person can flow.
The Hebrew word for intercession, “paga”, has many meanings. One of these is “to meet”.
Dutch Sheets in his book ‘Intercessory Prayer’ say of this:
“Intercession creates a meeting. Intercessors meet with God; they also meet with the powers of darkness…Similar to Christ’s often our meeting with God is to affect another meeting – a reconciliation. We meet with Him asking Him to meet with someone else. We become the go-between: “Heavenly Father, I come to you today (a meeting) asking You to touch Tom (another meeting)…Whether for a person or a nation, regardless of the reason, when we’re used to create a meeting between God and humans, releasing the fruit of Christ’s work, paga has happened.”
(Intercessory Prayer, Dutch Sheets, Regal, ISBN 0-8307-1900-8 page 50,52)
Standing in the gap also involves creating a gap. Standing in the spiritual realm and shielding people from the assault of darkness. Again, we quote from Dutch Sheets:
“On the opposite end of the spectrum, as Christ did through spiritual warfare, our meeting with the enemy is to undo a meeting – a breaking, a severing, a disuniting. All of our praying intercession will involve one or both of these facets: reconciliation or breaking; uniting or disuniting.” (ibid)
The Hebrew word paga throughout Scripture often carries violent connotations, and is frequently used as a battlefield term (eg: Judges 8:21; 15:12; 1 Sam 22:17-18; 2 Samuel 1:15; 1 Kings 2:25-26).
In the context of intercessory prayer our meetings can often be violent confrontations with the powers of darkness. We, as Christ’s representatives on earth, are called to enforce the victory He won over the powers of darkness.
Binding and Loosing
Matthew 16:19 tell us:
“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”” (Matt 16:19 NKJV)
The word “bind” means “to forbid, to stop, and to declare unlawful and improper.” The word “loose” means “to release, to fire, to give free movement, unfettered, lack of restraint, and to declare lawful”. Legally ‘luo’ means to “pronounce or determine that someone or something is no longer bound; to dissolve or void a contract or anything that legally binds”. Physically it means to “dissolve or melt, break or beat something to pieces or untie something that is bound.”
“Through confrontational intercessory prayer we “meet with the powers of darkness, enforcing the victory Christ accomplished when He met them in His work of intercession.” (Sheets, p57)
We ‘bind’ the work of the enemy, declaring it unlawful, and ‘loose’ the person we are praying for from the hold of darkness. We also release and declare over their lives the perfect will of God.
Setting boundaries through prayer
Another use of the word ‘paga’ in the Old Testament is also revealing. In Joshua 19 ‘paga’ is used to describe the extent to which a boundary reaches. It speaks of the ‘boundary’ line.
Through intercession we establish protective boundaries around ourselves and others. We make a gap between ourselves and the enemy, forbidding that he cross certain lines.
“You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the LORD…So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
(Ezek 13:5; 22:20 NKJV)
Proverbs 4:23 tells us that the ‘issues’ of life flow directly from the heart. The word “issues” includes the concept of borders or boundaries (Strong’s #8444). Through consistent intercessory prayer we establish these borders according to the will and Word of our Father, again enforcing and possessing what He has promised for our lives and the lives of our cities and nations.
A lawyer at God’s throne
Although not ‘legalistic’ in the negative sense of the word, there are legal aspects to mature prayer that can be highly effective when utilised according to God’s pattern.
The Bible speaks of times where we can come and plead before God on our own or on behalf of another. Job lamented that no one was found to plead the case of mankind:
““For He is not a man, as I am,
That I may answer Him,
And that we should go to court together.
Nor is there any mediator between us,
Who may lay his hand on us both.” (Job 9:32-33 NKJV)
This is clearly a prophetic cry for the intercessory work of Christ, but again, the intercessory work is applied through intercessory prayer here and now on earth.
In intercessory prayer we stand and plead the case before God for the salvation of others on the basis of Christ’s finished work. Through Him all men were reconciled. We have a very strong basis for our intercessory petitions, and indeed God Himself invites us to come and reason with Him according to these truths:
““Come now, and let us reason together
(argue, convince, plead, daysman),”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”
(Is 1:18 NKJV)
God is looking for people who know His will, and how to stand on His word, on behalf of the people He so dearly loves and died for.
Mary Alice Isleib says of this,
“That’s what we do in the work of intercessory prayer. We stand on the Word of God, speak the Word of God, take His Word into difficult and challenging situations, and it gives God something He can work with in the earth. God’s highest and best is to work with men and women in the earth. When they are basing their prayers on the law of His Word, He has obligated Himself to honour His Word.”
Effective Fervent Prayer, Mary Alice Isleib, ISBN 0-9629986-0-5, page 169-170