[Course 27 Index] [Prayer-School Index] [Prayer Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]
We have spent the last 13 weeks running through a spiritual checkup. We have looked at things like our heart motives, e.g., do we want to be an effective intercessor? We looked at building relationship with God, and about allowing God to speak to us about personal areas of our lives. We learned to allow God to supercede our intercession agenda with His agenda. We talked about learning to hear His voice and be spirit-led, committing to His Lordship in every area or our lives (even in the area of our finances), worshipping Him even when we don't feel like it, and overcoming condemnation and enemy ploys to get us to disqualify ourselves.
Now, I would like to share a spiritual discipline to help tie this all together and make it practical in our day-to-day lives. I would like to offer this on two levels: 1) our personal walk with God and 2) our prayer and intercession life.
Spiritual Discipline For Our Personal Walk With God
Early each the morning, pray and invite God to orchestrate (e.g., plan) your day for you and to make you aware of His leading and direction in it. Throughout the day, try to pay special attention to details, asking God and yourself if "this" or "that" is God's hand. Feel free to pray frequently, asking God what He is doing and how you can do it with Him.
At night, before you go to bed, put aside some quiet time and ask God to review your day with you. Ask Him to point out those cases where you heard His voice. Also review whether or not you obeyed Him and what your attitude was when you heard Him. E.g., did you obey gladly or obey grudgingly or did you decide you were not going to do what He asked?
Ask God to reveal to you the times throughout the day (if any) where you missed His voice all together. If there were any, ask Him how you can be more sensitive to hearing Him next time, what types of queues to listen for, and ask Him to alert you next time you "miss Him".
During this review time with God, begin ask yourself (and the Lord) questions like:
1. What were you doing when God spoke to you? Were you in quiet time with Him, or were you busy doing day-to-day activity? If possible, identify your activity each time you noticed God speaking to you or each time you noticed Him orchestrating your plans. See if there are any patterns.
2. What was your mental state when God spoke to you? Were you in communion with God or worship? Or were you upset and crying out to God? were you happy or mad or frustrated or were you just concentrating on mundane things when God suddenly broke in? If possible, identify the mental state you were in each time God communicated with you or orchestrated something, and look for any patterns.
3. Were there ways God spoke to you that were easy to identify/notice that God was speaking to you?
4. Were there times when you were in the middle of something God was orchestrating before you noticed He was doing this?
5. Were there ways God spoke to you or lead you that were harder for you to notice, e.g., ways you almost missed?
6. Did you notice any patterns of ways God may commonly speak to you or lead you? (For instance, when I first started learning God's voice, He would frequently speak to me through object lessons, pointing something out to me in the natural and then showing me the spiritual application. Another example is that God used to speak to me by repetition: first I'd read something in a Bible verse, then later that day, I'd hear it in a song, then a bit later someone would mention it to me and maybe an hour later I'd see it an a magazine article until I finally got the idea that God was trying to tell me something.)
The point of asking all these questions is to look for patterns that might help you more easily identify when God is speaking to you or leading you.
This exercise (or spiritual discipline) is powerful, even when done for only one day, but it is effective when done repeatedly for a long period of time, like every day for a month.
Understanding Our Intercessory Style
Ask God to help you better understand what type of intercessor assignments He has called you to. C. Peter Wagner has identified four types of intercessors, and many have found his categories very helpful. When you know what types of prayer assignments the Lord typically gives to you, it makes you more effective. This is because you can concentrate on your area of expertise and not waste time on things you have not been called/gifted to pray for. Briefly, here are the four categories:
1. GENERAL INTERCESSORS
These are people God empowers to pray for specific prayer requests. Their can be a lot of variety in the prayer assignments they take on, but these tend to be very specific requests. They would not pray for something as vague as "world revival" but they might target a specific unreached people group or country and pray for revival for that group or country. These intercessors expect to see God answer prayer and many of them like to keep track of how God answers their prayers. Typically they are ones who will take on a specific prayer requests and thoroughly pray it through until the request is answered or until God says "stop praying." This type of intercessor often keeps a prayer list and often keeps a prayer journal with dates, requests and the date and way the request was answered.
2. PERSONAL INTERCESSORS
These people seem to be assigned to cover specific individuals. They are often in some type of relationship with this person, but sometimes they don't know them personally. They will often pray for many different aspects regarding this person, and may be open to taking requests from the person. But will have difficulty praying for requests/individuals who they don't feel God has assigned them to. Personal intercessors may feel called to cover all aspects of a ministry (such as GodSpeak International) instead of just specific individuals.
3. STRATEGIC INTERCESSORS
These people tend to get specific short term prayer assignments from God. These can vary from covering an individual to covering an event to covering specific requests. Assignments can last from a few days to a few months. Often these assignments come directly from God, complete with some from of supernatural revelation, and not from formal prayer request lists. Strategic intercessors usually cannot pray prayer lists, and cannot commit to praying through specific prayer requests that their friends and acquaintances may bring them. In fact, many strategic intercessors tend to dread prayer lists.
4. WARFARE INTERCESSORS
These people seem to be called in to direct spiritual warfare, direct engagements with the enemy under direction from God. This can vary from personal deliverance to taking on stronger demonic principalities. They often have the gift of discernment and supernatural revelation from God regarding enemy activity/plans.
These intercessors seem to move under a divine protection, suffering relatively little spiritual counter-attack for the warfare they engage in. However, if someone not assigned to this type of warfare were to do the same activities, they will often get wiped out big time.
Prayerfully pay attention to the types of prayer assignments the Lord gives you and how they arrive. That way, you can begin to understand of what type of intercessor God has called you to be. Some people find they fall into two or even three categories, but most will find that the vast majority of their assignments fall into a single one of these four categories. Any intercessor will sometimes have a small amount of prayer assignments that are outside of their prayer style (e.g., category), so don't be worried if you have one or two assignments that don't seem to match a given category that most of your other assignments fall into.
Knowing these categories, and where you fit into them, can be quite helpful. For instances, if you are a general intercessor (my favorite type to have on prayer lists), then you will be very good at latching onto a request God has quickened to you and praying it through. You will also be good at discerning when God says it is time to stop praying for it. You will like to have prayer requests and prayer needs made known to you, and you will find vague abstract prayer requests rather frustrating. You will love to receive feedback of how God answers your prayers, and you will be used to getting lots of feedback of God answering prayer.
On the other hand, if you are a strategic intercessor, prayer requests and prayer lists will drive you crazy, making you feel frustrated and confined. You would rather be given general info on a situation and go wait before God and for His instructions on how to pray for it. So if you are a strategic intercessor and people are trying to load you down with specific requests ("Molly broke her leg" and "Please pray for my niece's salvation," etc) you will become frustrated praying these requests. So you might want to learn to not commit to praying people's prayer requests. Alternately you might commit to pray them as God recalls them to you or put them on your heart -- but you don't want to make a daily commitment to pray through someone's personal prayer request if you are the type who doesn't like to pray from prayer lists.
No matter which category you fall into, there will always be people who will try to pressure you to pray outside of your prayer category and outside of your God-given prayer assignments. The goal is to better understand how God has called you to pray so that you can put your focus (e.g., concentrate the largest part of your time) on the type of assignment that God has specifically gifted you to pray into.
We will talk more about how to use your understanding and fine tuning of what prayer assignments God has called you to in our final lesson.