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This next series will touch on several areas that are very relevant to intercessors in their walk with God. Have you ever wondered what the difference is from an effective intercessor and someone who simply likes to pray a lot? There are two types of differences. One is measurable and observable, but the other is more an attitude of the heart.
First, an effective intercessor is one who's prayers are answered -- quickly and frequently and often powerfully. Another characteristic of an effective intercessor is that their prayers tend to be full of God's life and to carry God's heart. If they are praying for someone out loud while present with that person, e.g., ministry prayer, the person goes away feeling very ministered to and touched by God. There is a dimension of their prayer that seems to breath (or deposit) God's life into the person, or into the situation, that they are praying for.
However, there is a more important difference, one that may not be measurable to the casual observer, but that is it key to the whole thing.
An effective intercessor is one who walks in deep intimacy with God, who knows how to hear God's voice, who does not come to God with their own agenda and ask God to perform it. They find out from God what His agenda is, and even get their prayer strategy (petition, authority, blessing, calling things into being, etc) directly from God for the situation. They are Spirit-led in all they do. Yes, many of these have had natural training/knowledge that they apply. But they do not "pray" out of their knowledge. Instead they draw into God's presence, get their instructions from God, and then follow them.
These are the ones who God considers "highly effective", the men and women who He can trust because they are committed to doing things God's way instead of asking God to do things their way. They are committed to seek and pray God's will for each situation rather than asking God to meet and bless "their will" for this situation. These are the type of people described in Psalm 37:3-6:
3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
That passage describes people who are committed to walking in holiness before God and obeying Him. God's priorities become their priorities and what is important to God becomes important to them. They learn to identify and distain the things that God distains, because they are so hungry for God. They walk in close intimacy with God where He is their personal friend. They are confident in their relationship with God; they know they can approach Him in confidence because they are His and they love Him so dearly. The attacks of the enemy (shame, disqualification, guilt, fear, etc) loose power over them as they are filled with God's truth and light. They know they are cleansed by the blood of the lamb and personally commissioned by God. They know how to discern and recognize God's voice. These men and women of God are fully committed to obeying Him, no matter what He asks them to do.
And that is what God is looking for in His intercessors.
Are you willing? Is that what you want? Does this type of radical relationship with God appeal to you? Are you willing to give it all up (Matt 13:46) to pursue God's Lordship in your life? Jesus said in Matt 14:15, that if we really love Him, we must be committed to obeying Him. God is looking for men and women like that. He is looking to raise them up as His faithful and effective intercessors. Take a look at what He says in 2 Chronicles 16:9:
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
Are you one of the ones God is looking for? If you are, stop right now and tell Him so. Invite Him to teach you how to become an effective intercessor.
A "Roadmap" To This Teaching Series
The remaining lesson in this series will touch on topics to help you learn how to be more effective as an intercessor. But your real teacher must be the Holy Spirit.
If you want God to teach you this, He will. Just tell Him (and really mean it) that you are willing and ask Him to teach you. God will enter into a covenant with you to do this. Your part is simple: you commit to obey Him when He shows you something clearly, to cooperate with Him as best as you can. His part is to teach you and to show you and to transform you. He will do His part if you will do your part.
Here is a roadmap to what we will be covering. Our next lesson will look at just what prayer and intercession actually is. This will be basic review for most of us, but it is critical enough that it must be covered. After that, we will look at a model for effective personal intercession and a model for corporate intercession (or praying together). Then we will begin to explore some topics pertinent to being effective intercessors, covering a different topic each week. Topics include:
- hearing God's voice
- committing to God's Lordship in your everyday life
- God's Lordship in personal finances
- overcoming condemnation
(The first "edition" of this teaching used to cover the topic of fasting. However, we now have an excellent and in-depth teaching series on fasting at www.godspeak.net/pr_lessons/pr26_index.html. We have removed the fasting lesson from this series, and we recommend you read that teaching series on fasting.)
I hope this series will be a blessing and inspiration to you. The series is a tool, but the real teacher is the Holy Spirit. So why not take a few minutes right now to invite Him to come and be your teacher for the next 14 lessons as we invite the Holy Spirit to give us a spiritual checkup and to make us effective in prayer and intercession.