Some time ago, in preparation for a class I was to teach, as I searched the dictionary for the word “intimate,” my eyes fell upon the words “intercept” and “interchange.” In that moment it seemed that the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Alice, this is how the Kingdom of God destroys the kingdom of darkness.”
The word “intercept” is an action verb. To intercept something one must stop or interrupt its course. “Intercession,” as you know, is to stand in the gap between what is actually happening and what God wants to happen.
The word “Interchange” means to put one thing in the place of another. So, the intercessor intercepts the plan of the enemy and initiates a spiritual interchange.
Professor David F. Wells states, “What, then, is the nature of petitionary prayer? It is in essence, rebellion—rebellion against the world and its fallenness; the absolute and undying refusal to accept as normal what is pervasively abnormal. It is in this negative aspect, the refusal of every agenda, every scheme, and every interpretation that is at odds with the norm as originally established by God.”
In other words, petitionary prayer (intercession) is a holy dissatisfaction with the way things are, and taking steps to bring change through prayer. Here are three steps we intercessors should follow.
Step 1: Accept the burden from the Lord. The Lord is a gentleman who will never force us to bear a burden unwillingly. He has chosen to partner with each of us that together we may see the Great Commission fulfilled; but when we won’t help, He’ll find another. Isaiah 59:16 says, “He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intercede: so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.” God “triggers” us to intercede in various ways. Sometimes for no apparent reason we may sense a heaviness come over us. In our minds we know we are not in sin; our families are fine; and things are great. Yet, an unexplainable heaviness hangs over us. This is often God’s way of saying, “go pray.”
At other times an overwhelming desire to weep comes upon us, and for no apparent reason. Again, the Lord may be asking us to slip away and intercede for something or someone. Most often He will not reveal to us the next step until we obey the first.
I’m amazed at the number of Christians who take anti-depressant medication, feeling they are emotionally and mentally depressed. In many cases they are receiving a call to intercede. Should this happen to you, say like Samuel did when he realized the Lord was speaking to him: ”Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10).
Step Two: Identify with God’s desire to intervene in the situation. Once we accept the assignment to pray, we must recognize that God desires to intervene. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
We are being asked to “stand in the gap” between what the enemy is doing and what the Father wants to do. Entering into prayer, we should thank the Lord for the opportunity to see the Kingdom of God displace the kingdom of darkness.
Next, exercising our priestly authority, we should ask the Lord to intercept and thwart the devil’s plan to “steal, kill and destroy” (Jas. 2:13).
Step Three: Intercede by faith for breakthrough in the matter. Pray for God’s plan to be established in the situation. Pray until you feel that the breakthrough and the interchange have occurred. The Lord is looking for those of us who will persevere in the prayer closet. The prayer closet is the arena which produces the overcomer! Around our group of intercessors we have a slogan, “P.U.S.H.! Pray until something happens.”
George Muller, a great intercessor of days gone by said, “When once I am persuaded that a thing is right, I go on praying for it ‘til the end comes. I never give up ‘til the answer comes. The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer. They do not preserver. If they desire anything for God’s glory, they should pray until they get it.”
I envision a day when millions of praying Christians with militant and abandoned love for Jesus will stand up on behalf of lost humanity and refuse to quit until the Lord answers. John the Baptist was radical! Paul was radical! When it comes to prayer, are we radical?
The story is told that in the darkest hour of the war with Germany, when the destiny of civilization was trembling in the balance, the Congress of Allied Women, meeting in Paris adopted the ringing slogan, “Believe victory! Preach victory! Live victory!”
We would do well to adopt this slogan in these turbulent days of fierce spiritual battle.
When we launched the U.S. Prayer Center by faith in 1993, as requested by Dr. C. Peter Wagner, I (Eddie) asked him how much it paid. He said, “Whatever you can trust God for.” <Smile> I was warned by some that “Christians will support missions, missionaries and evangelism; but they’ll never support prayer ministries.” It’s true that prayer seems to “fly under the radar” of some in terms of their giving; and that many aren’t aware that our ministries extend far beyond the topic of prayer. We continually invest ourselves in equipping and assisting Christians around the world with various discipleship issues.
Now, 20 years later, we are so grateful for you and people like you who continue to underwrite the ministry of the U.S. Prayer Center, which isn’t to say things are easy today. In fact, in the past year we’ve seen our support drop approximately 30% from the year before. As a result we’ve tightened our fiscal belts and reduced expenses to compensate, yet things are still tight; as they likely are for you and yours. Secondly, we’ve focused on the needs of a dozen or so other effective, life-giving ministries around the world that we support, some of which we’ve supported for years. We’ve been “on the ground” with them, know and love them. We’ve seen the result of their efforts. We must do what we can to see that their needs not go unmet.
Plus, we’ve learned in our almost 43 years of marriage and ministry that we’re more blessed to give than to receive, and that the Father who monitors our giving will bless us accordingly. Obviously you agree or you would not be receiving this letter. So, thanks again for your support. Enclosed you will find a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope in which you can send your best offering this month.
God bless you for your generosity!
Alice and Eddie
P.S. Will you join us in ministry. Your investment today will bear kingdom interest tomorrow!
Or mail checks payable to:
U.S. Prayer Center
7710-T Cherry Park Dr
Houston, Texas 77095
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