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I am a newer intercessor and still learning. I feel like I am growing into my gifting, and I have not fully arrived yet. Is there such a thing as a particular kind of intercessor (i.e. financial, or pastoral) and if so, how do you know what kind you are.- Learning To Pray
Dear Learning To Pray
Pretty much everyone agrees that there are different flavors of intercessory "gifts." But there are different opinions on how this plays out. Let me share four of them with you.
ONE: Some people feel they are different types of intercession, where some people are more gifted (or given a special grace) to pray for a certain type of things. People who hold to this theory feel that some are called and gifted to pray for thinks like financial breakthrough or for Christian leaders, or for physical healing, etc. Of course, they do pray for other things too, but their anointing is strongest when they pray in there area of specialty. Some of them are called to pray for social conditions, such as the homeless or those addicted to drugs. Others are called to pray for specific nations or perhaps specific cities, regions or territories.
TWO: Some hold that you earn authority to pray in a given area based on experiences the Lord takes them through. For instance, a lady who suffered for years from a chronic disorder and was eventually healed. She seems to be particularly gifted to pray for others who have that same disorder and see them get healed. Here is another example of earning authority: a lady was treated very badly by leadership in her church. She was falsely accused and ripped out of leadership. Instead of leaving or defending herself or basking in unforgiveness, she simply waited on God to vindicate her. About 18 months later, God did vindicate her and she was restored to leadership in the church and gained the trust of the senior pastor. She continued to pray for the church and for leadership in that church. The Lord seems to have given her a special authority to pray for that church and see her prayers quickly answered because of the experience she went through.
THREE: Yet others hold that God gives you a spiritual "temperament" that is suited to pray in certain ways. C. Peter Wagner has a book out where he breaks intercessors into four categories. There are the "General Intercessors" or "Systematic List Pray-ers." They take ownership of a given request and pray it through thoroughly an systematically until the request is answered or until God tells them to stop. These are the ones who keep lists of what they are praying and often the log how and when the prayer was answered. There the "Personal Intercessors" who specialize in praying for a given person or ministry. They often get specific revelation from God about how to pray for their assigned person, and often they desire to be in some sort of personal relationship with them. Sometimes God will speak to them as they pray for the person, and in some cases they have enough of a relationship to pass that information on to the one they are praying for. There are also what Peter calls "Prophetic Intercessors" or "Strategic Intercessors." These guys can't pray lists to save their lives, they have to get their prayer assignments directly from God. Their prayer style is to go quiet before God and hear from Him and then pray in agreement with what God has told them. They often get supernatural words of knowledge and pieces of information that there is no way they could know in the natural. The forth category is those who specialize in spiritual warfare prayer. Peter calls them "Warfare Intercessors." They have a special grace to come up against demons and sometimes against principalities in the authority of Jesus (at His leading). They don't suffer the same degree of counter-attack that most of the rest of us would get if we engaged in this same type of prayer.
FOUR: Others feel that God takes us through different "stages" of intercession at different points in our lives. At one point, God will lead us to pray one way, and we might see more anointing when we pray for certain things. Then later on, God will have us pray in a different way and give us more anointing for a different set of things. There will be times when He puts special burdens on our hearts and there may be other times when we have no burdens at all and are in a "place of rest" to just seek intimacy with Him and not worry about interceding for others. This particular viewpoint requires that we be sensitive to the Spirit's leading rather than falling into patterns of prayer based on what God has anointed in the past.
All four of these theories have merit. If you read the book Intercessor by Reese Howell, you will see a very strong argument for theory number two operating in his life and ministry. Over and over the book shows how God would have him gain authority in a certain area by going through something difficult related to that area. Then God would unleash great power and authority in prayer to Reese in that area. (By the way, if you haven't already read that book, it is a "must read" for all intercessors. It is a biography of a very anointed intercessor and it details a lot about how God led him in prayer and what the results were.)
Quite frankly, I identify most with theories three and four. I was a prophetic intercessor for years and it just about killed me to try and pray a list of requests. But my spirit would come alive when I would just go before the Lord and hear from Him and pray what He showed me. For a long time I held to Peter Wagner's theory about intercessor temperaments. But they God began to change My assignments. He took me out of a season of intercession and into a season of ministering (praying for the person with the person present and me laying hands on them). Later He took me into a season of spiritual warfare. I would still occasionally do ministry prayer, but most of the time I was taking authority over demons. Then all of the sudden I would find myself back in a season of prophetic intercessory prayer--conducted from my prayer closet instead of face to face. Then I would end up doing a great deal of face-to-face ministry prayer again.
The second part of your question was, "How do you know which kind [of intercessor] you are?" I am going to give you a two part answer to that. Part one is to ask God and expect Him to show you. Part two is to pay attention to your prayer life. There will be times when you feel really alive as you pray and sense an anointing or an "intensity" on you as you pray. Begin to make a mental note of what you were praying about when you feel most alive in your intercession. There will be also be times when your intercession feels lifeless and draining. Pay attention to how/what you are praying at those times. See if any type of pattern begins to emerge.
There is a free tool on the internet that you might find helpful. It comes in lesson 10 of a course I wrote back in 1999. At that time, I still pretty much held to theory THREE (C. Peter Wagner's four types of intercessors). The tool is a bit tailored to Peter's theory, but the exercise that goes with it will still be helpful in determining how God wants you to pray. If you would like to take a look at it, it is athttp://www.godspeak.net/pr_lessons/pr5_week10.html