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In this lesson we will summarize key points we discussed in this teaching series on prophetic intercession.
Intercession and Intimacy With God
We defined "prophetic intercession" in the first lesson. Prophetic intercession is asking God to lead us in what to pray for and how to pray for it, hearing from God, and then praying according to what He shows us. Another way of putting it is to invite God to lead and direct our prayers.
We also learned that it is very important to build and develop our personal relationship with God to hear Him clearly, and we need to spend time with Him to develop that relationship. In fact, the extend of our ability to hear God's voice clearly is directly linked to the amount of time we spend developing intimacy with God.
We also saw that God has His own time table for answering prayers, and the answers may not come at the time we think they should.
Lesson two talked about intercessory assignments. We make ourselves available to God, and He calls on us to intercede anytime He wants to. He may call on us at convenient times, or He may call us to intercede in the middle of the night. When God calls on us at inconvenient times, it is important for us to obey God and not reject His prompting. If we refuse to pray at the not-so-convenient times, He might not call on us the next time He needs somebody to intercede. When we make Jesus the Lord of our lives, we also make Him Lord over our time. The more we yield to Him, the more God can use us and entrust kingdom matters to us. As we continue in obedience to God, we will develop a prayer lifestyle. This means that praying will become as natural to us as breathing.
There will be times when we do not have specific assignments. That does not mean that God does not wish to call on us. It simply means that He doesn't have an assignment at that time. We may be tempted to fret or feel guilty during those times when God doesn't give us specific assignments. We may even think that we have done something to cause God not to give us assignments. But, we need to trust God instead of fretting. We must trust that God will let us know when He needs us to pray regarding specific matters. Also, the enemy may tempt us to accept prayer requests that God has not given us. That is why we need to consult with God about whether or not an assignment is of Him or not.
God will often tell us specifics regarding a situation, but there are also many times when He doesn't. When God entrusts specifics to us we need to be careful not to share these with others. God gives us those specifics so we know how to pray. They are not meant for sharing with others. There are also times when God will not give us specifics about a situation. When this happens we should not fret about it. God will not share specifics with us all the time. The key is to trust that God knows everything about the situation and He will tell us what He feels is necessary for us to know.
Lesson three looked at the prophetic intercessor's lifestyle. That lifestyle is born out of understanding that God wants to have a deep and intimate relationship with each of us; He wants to be in continuous communication with us and He wants us to draw close to Him. It is out of that place of deep intimacy with God that effective intercession is birthed.
We must make God the center of our lives as we begin to move into a prayer lifestyle. We are not restricted to our bed room or prayer closet to pray, we can talk to God from anywhere. Since God also knows our thoughts, we can even pray to Him in our heart. Our location is not relevant to the effectiveness of our communication with God.
We may not see the answer to our prayers manifest immediately, but that does not mean our prayers were ineffective. Our generation is geared toward instant results, and waiting has become very uncomfortable for us. However, God is not in a rush and often some time elapses before we see the answer come. This is when we have to exercise patience and trust God. Frequently, His time table is not our time table. He has the overall picture and He knows what is required for a complete answer to our petitions. At times God will need to move things into place in order for the answers to manifest. Other times, God will try to involve as many people as possible in the answer so that more than just one or two people can be blessed.
In lesson four we talked about the authority we have in Christ. This authority is not something we can produce on our own; it can not be achieved by our efforts. This kind of authority can only come from Jesus and through the Spirit He has placed in us.
Even though we have been given authority, we are not to engage in every battle that presents itself. We need to hear from God regarding which battles to engage in and which ones to sit out. When we are in submission to God, He puts His protective covering over us. But if we fight in battles that God has not called us to, we risk getting hurt because we have moved out from under God's protective cover. Sometimes God protects us in even those situations, but He just might allow some consequences in order to show us the importance of completely submitting to Him.
Expressions of Intercession
Lesson five explored some of the various expressions of intercession, or ways that we pray, such as singing, dancing, tongues, symbolic gestures (such as shooting arrows or beating down walls) etc. At times, God's prayer strategy for a given situation may not make sense to us, because spiritual things may not always make sense to the natural man. But as a prophetic intercessor, we sometimes allow God to express Himself through our prayers in a way that seems uncomfortable to us. At times we have to die to self and "look foolish" to do with God what He is doing in prayer. An example is when David danced before the Lord with all of his might. It looked foolish to his wife, causing her to scorn him. But David was not concerned with outward appearances, he was concerned with following the Spirit's leading.
Likewise, we must be lead by the Spirit in how we pray (or express intercession), trusting Him to lead us and to empower what He asks us to do. The only way we understand the things of God is through His Holy Spirit. Without His help spiritual things don't make sense to us. Since God is Spirit and His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom it is vital that we depend on the Holy Spirit for direction and counsel, especially when we conduct warfare.
Lesson six examined the concept of "praying God's heart." One place where we can learn God's heart is from God's word. There are many scriptures that reveal how God feels about His church. The bible gives us ideas of what God wants to accomplish, and gives us direction on how to pray for those things. When we pray in agreement with God's heart/will, we can expect the answers to manifest. God has a heart for the nations. He is always looking for people who would intercede for nations so that God's wrath will not come on them. God also has a heart for His people and for the church. We can look at Paul's prayers in Scripture. These model God's heart and desires for the church. God desires for us to come into His fullness. He desires us to be free from anything that hinders us from moving in our callings. God doesn't make things complicated; we make things complicated.
In addition to Scripture, God will also have His Spirit teach us about Him. Again, the closer of a relationship we have with God the better we are able to receive prayer directions from Him.
The Presence of God
Lesson seven examined God's presence, His kingdom and how this interacts with believers. God is present with us whether or not we are aware of it. There are many scriptures to indicate that, including Ps 41:12, Ps 31:20 and 1 Cor 4:9, where Paul paints a picture of us believers living our lives in an arena with heaven watching as spectators.
God is actively involved in our lives. He has already prepared the works we are supposed to be doing. He already knows the outcome. He has every intention to help us bring those works to completion. He will not stop in the middle. He will bring us through. He wants us to win the prize. He knows that we need His help. It wouldn't make sense for Him to leave us to fend for ourselves. In fact, He even listens in on our conversations and gets involved in the minor details of our lives.
And God is present with us in warfare. We saw that He backed up His servants when He sent them into spiritual battle on His behalf. Elisha prayed, in 2 Kings 6:16-17 for his servant's eyes to be opened so that he could see the forces of God's kingdom that surrounded them, and how they outnumbered the enemy forces mounting against him. That story illustrates the importance of looking at things with spiritual eyes. It is important that we concentrate on what God is doing and not on what the enemy is doing. When we concentrate on what the enemy is doing we loose focus and may get discouraged. We need to keep in mind that the enemy is a defeated foe no matter how many realistic temper tantrums he throws.
Sometimes we think God will withdraws His presence if we mess up. But God is not like that. People may walk away from us because we mess up, but God is faithful even when we are not. He doesn't withdraw because we make mistakes. He knows we will make mistakes. God is committed to us.
Lesson 8 talks about some hindrances to prophetic intercession. Of course, the greatest hindrance (or danger) intercessors face is if they let their personal intimacy with God become compromised. If we are not willing to spend time with God, this limits the extend of God's ability to work in and through our lives. And since our ability to recognize God's voice is born out of our intimacy and personal relationship with Him, lack of intimacy will interfere with our ability to discern God's voice when He speaks to us.
Intentional sin is a hindrance because it separates us from God, it blocks God's flow in our lives. If we fall into sin, we need to repent and be restored to right relationship with God. Likewise, wrong motives hinder our prayers. When we make requests out of selfish ambition, we are really saying that we want our will to be accomplished instead of God's. But if we let go of our own motives and focus on God's, we can see major strongholds broken.
Another hindrance is unforgiveness. If we don't forgive others, then God won't forgive us. Fear is another hindrance. Fear can paralyze us into not moving forward into God's purposes. Ungodly attitudes can keep us from walking in God's fullness and purpose. An example of an ungodly attitude is when we grumble and complain, because when we complain we don't trust God. Our complaints are suggesting we believe that God doesn't know what He is doing.
It is the time for each of us to lay aside our own agenda and to learn to come before God and allow Him to lead and direct our prayers. When we do this, we have entered into prophetic intercession. And when we do this, our prayers become highly effective. This is because we have stopped praying our own will and we have started praying in agreement with what God desires to do. And as we agree with Him, His power is released through our prayers.
Moving in prophetic intercession is really very simple. It is just coming to God and asking Him to speak to you about how He would like you to pray. Then you listen to what He has to say and follow His directions, inviting the Holy Spirit to be with you in every aspect of your prayer life. Jesus said, "Without Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5). So we invite Him into our prayer life, allowing Him to lead and guide it. When you do that, you have entered the exciting and powerful realm of prophetic intercession.