An Intercessor is not an instrument of prayer who operates in open view, but he/she is an instrument who works in the background or behind closed doors (Jer 13:17). Whenever God wants to destroy a nation, He always looks for an intercessor to intercede in order to appease His anger (Ezekiel 22:30, Jer 9:17).
The role of an Intercessor is somewhat difficult because of the breakthrough that he/she is to give birth to in spite of the nature of the situation of persons being prayed for. The first and foremost plan of God through Intercession is found in Isaiah 61:1.
In intercession, God places the intercessor in a position where he/she can go between God and the nation or person being prayed for. The intercessor births God’s will in the earth.
An intercessor does two things in intercession:
He or she goes between God and the people and obstruct or directly stand in opposition to the wrath of God towards that person, people or nation (Deut 5:5, Psa 106:23)
He or she pleads the hand of God’s mercy upon the people or nation so they can be favored and blessed by God, even when they do not deserve it.
This is where the Latin meaning of the word intercede comes in, which is “obstruct” and “to interpose on behalf of” a person.
Whenever a person or nation is saved or delivered, it is because of the intercession of some hidden and unknown intercessor(s) who wailed upon Mount Zion and travailed (Rom 10:1, Psa 28:9, Rom 9:27).
Without strong intercession, the Word of God cannot go forth with great effect for a great harvest. Not that it lacks the ability to be effective, but the intercessor by His Word petitions God in his/her secret closet; God prepares the heart of the people to receive the Word and the harvest in done in open (1 Cor 3:6-9).
The intercessor is also the one who waters the seed with prayer that God through His love would look beyond the faults of the people and come into remembrance of His Word to show mercy (Psa 25:6, Psa 51:1).
Seven Characteristics of an Intercessor There are few things that an intercessor must be mindful of:
1) SELFLESSNESS - Dying to self is expedient in all things, which is the byproduct of your submission to God. God is your commander and whatever He tells you to do, you must do (John 2:5); you are about your Father’s business and not yours. God will ask you to intercede for people whom you do not like and that in itself takes dying to self. In Jonah Ch 3:9 to 4:1-11, we see that Jonah as an intercessor wanted the city of Nineveh destroyed for its wickedness. But God through His mercy summoned Jonah to minister to the people so they could be saved and Jonah did, yet he was very displeased when God saved them. You may not like certain people or nation, but as an intercessor, your selflessness to God’s desire and love for your enemies must be at the forefront;
2) OBEDIENCE - You will be called upon at any time to intercede for a person or people even when you do not feel up to it or understand it. Humility, obedience, love and yieldedness prompt you to ignore any question to the call of the Holy Spirit to pray for someone else;
3) PURITY - You hold the role of a priest and you must live a clean and pure life, (Exo 19:22). One of the main attributes of the priest is holiness; therefore, you cannot be naïve to think that you can set people free while you yourself are in bondage to sin. Upon the forehead of the high priest who served in the temple was a banner of pure gold on which was written “Holiness to the LORD” (Exo 28:36). And;
4) SUBMISSION - Many times you may or may not know the root of the situation you are praying for but because the battle is led by your Commander-in-Chief, Jesus, your strategy in warfare is always accurate in its application. Therefore, it is not for you to know all the details of the story or the reason for praying. Your duty is to submit to God and let the Holy Spirit pray through you as He wills.
5) PATIENCE - You should always keep in mind that the weapons of your warfare are not carnal but they are mighty through God (2 Cor 10:4, 2 Chronicles 32:8). Jeremiah 17:5 states, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” Because we are always expecting immediate change, we sometimes are tempted to use the arm of flesh to get the job done. Only the Holy Spirit is able to orchestrate change in a person’s life, therefore you must wait (Romans 8:25). For this reason, God said in Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
6) STUDIOUS - You should always stay in God’s Word (Psalms 119:18) because it is the power source for interceding for a person or nation (Isaiah 55:11). In intercession, God’s Word releases the Angels of God to go into active warfare on behalf of the person, people, or nation being prayed for (Psalms 103:20). Whenever God moves upon a nation, He moves because of His Word which He has already declared for that nation, therefore, it is important to bring God’s Word before Him as he said in Jer 1:12. Psalms 138:2 and Psalms 119:89 assure us that God’s Word is a deal sealed in heaven and earth, impossible to fail (Mat 24:35); and is therefore the weapon of the Holy Spirit to bring salvation and to make war with the enemies of God (Rev 19:15).
Because the Word of God is key, correct interpretation and understanding must be applied in order for it to be effective against the onslaught of Satan. THE DEVIL HAS LEGAL RIGHT TO RUIN WHERESOEVER THE WORD OF GOD IS WRONGLY INTERPRETED! The Word of God spoken by an intercessor with wrong interpretation cannot stand in the spirit realm.
7) CONFIDENTIALITY - is also a great and top quality of all intercessors. It should be present at all times. When interceding for people, God may reveal things concerning their situation that is private and personal. The purpose for God showing a person’s private life to you is so that the prayer can be more accurate in its application. With this revelation, God requires you to be a trustworthy person. Being a backbiter, busybody and talebearer is not one of the characteristics of an intercessor.