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The Intercessor Journey is uncharted. There are only guides but when it comes to your personal intercessor journey--the Lord must lead you one step at a time--and you may not be able to see the next step.

The journey of intercessors could be described as an uncharted one. We hear the desire of the Lord concerning prayer--especially wanting our churches to be a house of prayer, but there is very little 'out there' to encourage us how to get there.
As intercessors not in the administrative loop of the church, our direct influence sometime seems very limited. That may not be all that bad. It is not for us to change things by ourselves. That is the Lord’s job. Our job is to faithfully pray. We may find that as we study God’s word and pray, that God sometimes gives us an impression of what HE wants. When He does, it would be good to write down what we are sensing. Writing it down is doing what Amos 2 vs 3 says—write the vision down.
It may take much time for that vision to be fulfilled. The time in waiting for it to be fulfilled should be a time of much prayer about it. We must be persistent in prayer, even if there is no encouragement.

Take time to consider how many people have come to know the Lord after being prayed for by a faithful mother or father, who prayed for them for many years. Hebrews 12 vs 13 (Living Bible) says: ”So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs, and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet so that those who follow you, though weak and lame, will not fall and hurt themselves, but become strong.”

I would encourage those in our group to share a story of how God has worked after much prayer and their struggles on that journey of prayer.

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This is good encouragement, Lewis. I have had a unique experience as an intercessor. In a previous church, I was both "inside" and "outside" of the administrative flow of the leadership, and learned to pray differently.

For many months prior to joining the "official" intercessors' group at the church, I had wanted to join but was prevented by the Spirit. Instead, I prayed as the Spirit let me for the staff, the services, and the people. It was an "alone" work. 

Months later, the Lord told me to join the group and I received an invitation to do so. Now privy to the "administrative" side of things, I was able to pray more specifically for prayer requests and upcoming strategies of the church, along with staff needs I had not known about before. This, too,was productive, yet different. 

I found that while both are good, there can be benefits to not being "in the know." Bogged down by prayer requests, we often forget to be "led by the Spirit" in our praying. We become more determined to cover every need on the list. We are less reliant on the Holy Spirit and more dependent on administration. 

Ideally, there is a balance between the two. Pray for what you know, but keep praying for what only HE knows! In this way the life of an intercessor becomes more powerful. 

Deborah, I've also had similar experiences.  Additionally, I find that when I'm praying through lists (and I do tend to be a list pray-er), my tendency is to bring God the answers and ask him to bring about what I understand to be best.  When I pray from less information, I'm more open to seeking God's answers.  Certainly there are benefits to both types of prayer and I wouldn't discount either one.  But sometimes I think our need to be "in the know" can actually hinder prayer.

Deborah,

I appreciate your comments. You certainly presented a good challenge--and that challenge is to avoid being bogged down by the many prayer requests. We need to let the Holy Spirit guide our prayers. I once wrote a song--part of the words of the song go "Just Keep Your Eyes on Jesus, as Peter learned to do--when he walked that stormy sea of Galilee."   The rest of song focuses on the fact that Jesus will guide us.   

Thank you so much for sharing.  I know it will encourage others.

Additional Thoughts on Intercessory Prayer and being on Church Intercessory Prayer Teams--additional thoughts.

In this discussion—we have shared some items that I have not seen shared before—but are -so- important.

  • Not being on the church prayer team can give the opportunity to be led by the Holy Spirit when we pray.
  • Being on the team—we can become bogged down by many needs.

On seeing the above in this discussion—and after sleeping on what I had read and studied, here are some thoughts and questions:

If you are a prayer leader-in charge of a prayer team in a church—most of your team will follow your lead in prayer for the church.

  • With that recognition that your team will probably follow your lead in the area of praying, how would it help you as a prayer leader to have people praying for you that you in your leadership would be led by the Holy Spirit?  Most intercessors focus on the pastor and leadership—but what about also praying that each on the prayer team, that each will listen to the Holy Spirit, including the team leader, or church prayer leader? 

Perhaps that prayer focus, which involves asking God to help us keep our eyes on Jesus, and asking His help in not being overwhelmed by the many issues that come up as we pray is needed, will help us keep the issues in their rightful perspective as the Lord gives the insight, and speaks to our heart.

The natural tendency—human tendency—is to focus on what seems to the most important issues of the moment.  That will also affect our praying.  Intercessors are not immune.  Understanding that, what I am going to suggest something that is what some might consider to be an act of humility on the part of an intercessor.  We, as intercessors, should not be afraid to ask others to pray that he/she will keep their eyes and heart on Jesus as we pray and intercede.  Some people who are involved in prayer will not understand that request—but I believe the Lord will help some earnest people of prayer to truly understand what we are asking.  That may be an area where we may have to be involved in training others about how to pray for us as intercessors. 

The early Church Apostles focused on the Prayer and Ministry.  Acts 6:4 (KJV) “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”

The early church leaders notice the importance of prayer and ministry, and took steps to keep that focus.

The above are just some thoughts on the above discussion, which has been a frank and good discussion.  In that discussion, we may have identified something of great importance for intercessors.  That 'something' is the need to keep our eyes and heart on Jesus as we pray about the many needs and to let the Holy Spirit guide us in our prayers.  Additionally, we may need others praying for us to keep that focus in our role when it especially involves leading prayer in the church.

Perhaps there are some other insights that should be shared—if so—please share them.

Lewis,

I really appreciate your suggestion that prayer leaders may themselves benefit from having intercessors praying for them.  This fits well with Exodus 17, where Moses interceded for Joshua battling the Amalekites.  When Moses got tired, Aaron and Hur held up his arms so that he could continue interceding over the battle. 

I think that as prayer leaders we could also benefit from intercessors "holding up our arms" as we lead in prayer.

--Andrew

Good suggestion, Lewis!

Deborah,
I appreciate both your response and that of Andrew's. I had never thought of how intercessors can be overwhelmed by prayer needs that we may not allow ourselves be led by God's Holy Spirit as we pray.

Hearing from both of you on this issue brings much insight into our responsibility as prayer leaders and intercessory prayer.

This kind of sharing helps all of us. Thank you both for sharing.

After several weeks of thinking on and reflecting on this discussion,  I have put together some thoughts that draws our discussion together and provides guidance for others.  It is as the Lord is using this discussion to guide me where I am at, and I thank Him for that.  Yes there are many books and articles on intercession and prayer, but hearing directly from those involved in intercession and prayer work of the church has yielded a direction that helps each of us seek the Lord.  That is something I appreciate about Pray.Network. 

Here are my thoughts: 

A Church prayer team should have two parts:

One part should pray for the many needs of the church.  They may be so many that it is hard to seek God’s best will for the Church. —they may not be able to see the forest as a whole but they do see the trees.

The second part should be free to seek the will of God for the Church. —They may not see the individual trees, but they see the forest as a whole.

Both of the above areas of involvement of intercessors are very important.

  • ·        Both parts should always ask the question—Lord what is your will on the item I am praying for.
  • ·        Leadership should also seek the input of the intercessors, and be willing to “back up and punt” should they receive caution from their intercessors.

If it is not possible to have your prayer team in two parts, then it would be helpful to have one or more intercessors praying that you as a prayer intercessor and leader would keep your eyes on Jesus.

Lewis, 

Reading your response brought me back to the scripture you shared weeks ago about the early church's division between those who served tables and those who devoted themselves to prayer. Interesting that you see yet another division into two parts : those who pray for the specific needs listed and those who seek God more fluidly for His will for the church.

This might not be a bad idea, in the sense that often, some intercessors need a list or a focus in order to stay on track, while other intercessors might have an easier time being "unfettered" and free to get in touch with what the Spirit is saying to the church. 


I agree that both types still need to ask, "Lord what is your will." It's just an interesting thought that just as there are differences between deacons and elders (in function), so perhaps there are differences in intercessors as well (praying by the list or the Word) and praying more prophetically (in the Spirit).

We DO need both, and one is not higher than the other. But recognizing the unique "bent" or gifting of the individuals on our teams could be immensely helpful. (For example, based on our conversations, Andrew admits to liking lists; I detest them!) 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :-)

Lewis, thank you for starting this discussion. After reading the comments about a prayer team having two parts I was reminded of a recent time of prayer with two other people and realized that the time of prayer incorporated both parts. We started with the prayer requests that we had been given and those we had. After a time of praying for those very specific needs we moved into a time of Spirit-led intercession...although the whole time of prayer was Sprit-led there was a difference between praying for specific needs and praying as led by the Spirit.

Vicki,

Thanks for you comments--Many when they pray together do not understand the dynamics of prayer.  You certainly have informed us of one, that parallels what we have been talking about.

I put a post in another area of this group and will place it again here.  Recognition of the way people pray will do a lot to encourage prayer. Here is the post:

Indeed there is room for Intercessors who are list prayers as well as those who avoid lists.  the nice thing about list prayers is that they will see that everything is covered by prayer.  They are needed.

This list that I compiled years ago might be helpful.  There are many ways people will intercede, and this list shares some of those ways.  The list includes 'list praying' and also a number of other areas. All these areas are important.

  • Some intercessors interceded through using prayer lists-these may be list prayers.
  • Praying for the lost
  • Prayer walking
  • Praying for outreach events
  • Praying for church plants
  • Spiritual warfare
  • Praying for leaders
  • Prayer cells
  • Praying for finances
  • Praying for reconciliation
  • Praying for people groups.
  • Crisis Prayers
  • Personal intercessors-their focus is for and individual or a ministry
  • Strategic intercession

We will probably see some of these types of prayers in a prayer team from time to time.  All are important in the total picture of what is happening in a church.

After having been a part of this discussion and been involved in prayer ministry for a number of years, there is something that recently I 'personally' have been challenged to seek.  That is the compassion of God guiding my heart as I pray, and that God's compassion would help me encourage others by speaking directly to the heart showing God is interested in the person I am talking with.  We pray about many things--but that request for me takes really opening my heart to the Lord in a way that I just cannot describe-it is letting heart language speak to the heart and responding with heart language.  Some may say don't intercessors already do that?  Many definitely are already doing so.--As I pray with and for others or an organization, I want the Compassion of our God to guide my heart and my prayers.  It doesn't matter if that is praying lists or another way of praying, as long as my praying is guided by the Spirit of God.  This approach is new to me, personally.  I share this to encourage all who read it to take the time to learn how to spend time with the Lord listening to heart language, and speaking to the Lord with heart language and letting the Lord's compassion for others build in our hearts. 

Blessings.

Thank you Vicki for your comments.

Thank you for sharing your experience of taking time to listen to the Lord's heart language and then speaking to the Lord about what we have heard. For me it is easy to pray for what I think the person needs; listening to the Lord allows us to pray in accordance with what He knows is needed in each situation.

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