Tag Archives: Prayer & Intercession

Important Keys to Intercessory Prayer

Intercessory prayer is when we pray for other people, ourselves, or situations. We stand in the gap for a person’s salvation, for a nation, or for God’s redemptive purpose to be known concerning an issue facing the Body of Christ or the world. Most simply, intercession is when we declare what God tells us to declare, and pray for what God leads us to pray as we seek His heart and truth concerning His purposes.

God’s Kingdom is founded upon us asking Him in prayer. God could do all without our help, but He desires partnership with us through intimacy. Think of your spouse or best friend. You want to do things together because you love one another and enjoy doing life together. It is the same with God, and this is part of why we were created for companionship.

One important key in intercessory prayer is that we pray in agreement with God’s Word. It is essential that we pray in alignment with His will, and when we pray in agreement with His Word, we know He hears us.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

We can ask the Lord to bring Scripture verses to mind to pray in your times of intercession. We simply take these verses and turn them into a prayer as we stand in the gap for a person or topic. One way to do this, for example, is with Ephesians 1:17-18. One might pray these verses in this way:

Father God, give _________ the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that they would grow in knowing Jesus intimately. Give them understanding and open the eyes of their heart. Flood them with Your light that they would know the hope of Your calling in their life.

We can also pray effectively by using the prayers recorded in the Word expressed through Jesus and the apostles. Just as these prayers were fruitful during the time of the early Church, they still remain applicable today. Download a PDF of Prayers from the New Testament.

God may also allow you to feel His heart by bringing an emotion to the forefront, such as compassion. Ask Him to give you understanding on why you are feeling this and how to pray. Furthermore, when we do not know how to pray, it is best to simply ask God to do His perfect will.

A second key is to focus on the positive as we pray, that is, praying God’s redemptive purposes instead of focusing on what the enemy is doing. For example, instead of praying against deceit and dishonesty, pray for God to release conviction and truth by His Holy Spirit, flooding the person with His love so they instead choose to speak and act in godly ways.

Focusing on the negative aspects of a prayer burden has caused many an intercessor to become depressed and burdened down, instead of filled with the joy of the Lord. Remember, His joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). When we focus on God’s power and redemption in a situation versus the enemy’s actions, we are encouraged and strengthened in our faith as we pray.

A final key to intercession is to make sure we are actually praying. At times I have found myself venting or worrying over something instead of truly praying. Moreover, I recall an instructor sharing about when they were growing in prayer, they realized they were “preaching” to God on the microphone instead of actually praying during a corporate prayer gathering. He shared this experience with much humor. :)

These keys are by no means an exhaustive list, but I pray they help stir up your passion for Jesus’ heart in intercessory prayer. When God brings a person, issue or Scripture to mind (or someone asks us to pray), be sure to actually pray by asking the Lord to do what is on His heart.

To summarize, the most important aspect of intercessory prayer is asking God to do what He has shown us He desires to do, whether through His Holy Spirit or as already revealed in His Word.

The Rawness We Face in Pursuit of Prayer & Intimacy with God

When we pursue a deeply close relationship with Jesus, we often come face to face with the deepest longings within our souls. Yearnings seem to ache and cry out from the depths of us in the midst of life’s noise, needing to be fulfilled.

Even more, we stumble upon the slippery river rocks of our struggles in which we must fight against filling the voids we feel with things other than Jesus. We need to just let go, take a deep breath, and journey out of our comfort zone, diving deep into the, at first, shockingly frigid river and start swimming upstream toward God’s throne.

This can feel like an unbearably raw place to be. In the midst of worship and prayer (whether in a group, prayer room, church, or alone), the tug to pull away from feeling and facing our neediness yanks at us, trying to rope us back into more practical activities and even into mere distractions.

We may first face the deafening ache of our hearts, ever needy for God, as we attempt to draw nearer to Him. Within our souls the pain of this longing can seem like an intolerable silence, yet all at once filling us with its wearying noise. It is the deep calling to deep at the roar of His waterfalls (Psalm 42:7).

Our surrender to God’s ways will soon smell satisfyingly sweet if we will simply turn our gaze to Him and off our soul and our circumstances. Know this: Jesus is worth it all in comparison to any other pursuit. Refuse to quit when your soul demands you to pacify its needs. Keep drawing near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

All this may seem foreign if you have not journeyed this way before, but in time I pray that, for each of us, the budding understanding of this experience will be fully formed in us, assisting us as we decide to push past the pain, the emptiness, and the yearning with the determination to grow closer to God.

We know with assurance: Only Christ can fully satisfy these yearnings.

Spiritual Discernment for Those Seeking Wisdom, Counsel, Accountability & Prayer

It is important for us to be cautious regarding those we allow to speak into our lives and who we seek out for counsel, mentoring, ministry, or spiritual direction. We must truly know those we speak to about our lives and the deepest parts of our hearts when we are hurting, venting, or needing counsel.

Do these individuals pursue God’s heart? How well do we know them and they us? Do they truly know our heart in God, even when we are struggling or have a bad day? Allowing others to speak into our lives is not a matter to take lightly.

People who do not truly have God’s heart or who are still maturing in Christ can gossip, misjudge, or even slander us after we have shared from the deepest places of our hearts or a time of trial to them, especially if they are not who they present themselves to be.

Usually this is not the case with a leader, mentor, or counselor who God has called into ministry, but at times we also confide in our peers and fellow siblings in Christ. They may be gifted prophetically or with wisdom, but they may not yet have the wisdom to respond rightly to hurts or tough situations we are facing (and of course we all respond wrongly at times). These unfortunate occurrences can bring more harm than the situation we’re facing has already brought forth.

When we give someone authority to speak into our lives or keep us accountable, we are entrusting our hearts to them, giving them a place in our lives. This is a place that should only be reserved for those God has appointed to such an opening in our journey.

This does not mean we need to experience an extensive show from God to communicate to us that a person is to be connected to us in such a way. It means we need to have peace from God that they are the ones we look to for wisdom and accountability.

We must be able to see the fruit of His Spirit in their lives and that they are abiding in Christ and His Word. We must see from the way they treat us and speak to us that they are truly for us as Jesus is, desiring to see us grow and flourish in Him. Moreover, they must be people who truly have and pursue His heart, consecrated apart from the world’s seemingly wise ways.

In addition, advice that comes cloaked in what appears wise may not always originate from God. To spot the difference, we must be growing in our own intimate relationship with Jesus and in the knowledge of His Word by the help of His Spirit. We must take it to Him, asking Him to show us if this is what He is saying and whether it lines up with His Word, unless what was spoken was a confirmation of His Word and instruction to us already.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception [pseudo-intellectual babble], according to the tradition [and musings] of mere men, following the elementary principles of this world, rather than following [the truth—the teachings of] Christ.” – Colossians 2:8 (AMP 2015)

From another perspective, we must ask ourselves:

Are we confiding in people we should not, for instance, making a phone call to someone to vent or using our social media accounts to ask for prayer when we are feeling desperate for a resolution or for comfort only Holy Spirit can provide? In all things, especially in trying situations, we must first go to Jesus.

This lack of discretion can also open us up to misunderstandings and wrong perceptions from those who we might think we know well but do not, especially relating to Facebook and other online outlets. We don’t know them enough to truly trust them unless we have a deep relationship with them, most likely offline, and even then we must see God’s character shown in their lives.

Furthermore, our emotions may be taking the front seat, speaking what the enemy of our souls is saying instead of asking God what He has to say and speaking only what edifies. When emotions run high, God is teaching me that it is not only best, but crucial to speak and meditate on His words of life and truth, praying in the Holy Spirit rather than partnering with the enemy.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” – Proverbs 18:21 (AMP 2015)

Through personal experiences and fellow leaders’ godly wisdom, I have been taught that it is best to have five or fewer individuals that you seek for counsel, and even prayer in emotional times. God will give you clarity regarding those who are trustworthy, honoring, and follow the leading of His Spirit. In trials and challenges none of us need the additional burden of someone throwing stones of condemnation.

Here are several questions to consider before designating someone as a counselor, mentor, spiritual director, or accountability partner in our lives.

• Has God truly connected you to them as one you can seek for counsel, mentoring, or accountability, or are you just talking to them because you are desperate for someone to listen or tell you what you want to hear?
• Is the person stable, and grounded in Christ and His Word? Is this obvious in their lives and by the way they are living?
• Do they profess Jesus and pursue His heart before other things, even when it is inconvenient or His will differs from their own?
• Are they themselves submitted and accountable to godly counselors, pastors, or other apostolic leaders in an authentic way?
• Is their identity in Christ and who He says we are (sons/daughters/His Bride) instead of in what they do, their calling, title or lack thereof?
• Is the person invested in God’s interests or their own? Are they motivated by God’s love or their own gain or a need to be needed?
• Do they vent about their own situations (past or present) when you are trying to seek their counsel or ask for prayer?
• When they deliver correction, is it led by God and His love, humility and patience, or is it laced with the poison of self-seeking, condemnation, control or irritation?

May these questions bring help and healing to those needing godly mentors, prayer partners, and counselors in their lives. I am immensely grateful for the pastors, leaders, and other mentors God has brought into my life, and I pray that you also have God-given counselors and accountability partners in your life. If you have no one like this in your life, ask Father God. He will come through!

“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” – James 3:13-18 (NASB)

Praying for People to Return to the Lord (Joel 2:12-14)

I thought you’d like to see what I’ve been up to—in video!

We recently joined together to worship Jesus and pray for our nation at The Fig Tree, a prayer room where I serve.

I sang in prayer from the Word of God from Joel 2:12-14 (NKJV):

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?

Join us in praying for all to return their hearts and lives to the Lord. He so longs for each one!

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Having a Consecrated Heart, Part 3: Walking It Out

In Part 1, I spoke of what having a consecrated heart means. In Part 2, we covered how Jesus sympathizes with us in weaknesses and trials. In Part 3, I want to share some keys walking all this out.

Key #1: It’s a Choice and Desire

Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.” (AMP)

The Apostle Paul calls us to make a “decisive dedication” of ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and consecrated to God. He calls upon us to do so because of God’s great mercy and love toward us.

The first step in having a consecrated heart is in making the choice to live for God in this way. The best part is that God’s mercy toward us, His love poured out to us, enables us to love Him in return (1 John 4:19).

Hunger for God will fuel our choice and desire to walk this out.

Key #2: Intimacy with Jesus

Getting to know Jesus is the most essential endeavor of our lives. We cannot grow in friendship with God if we do not pursue our personal relationship with Him. This is an intimate knowing that cannot come through going to church once or twice a week or from being raised in a Christian home. It comes from alone time we set aside to spend with Jesus.

We get to know Jesus by talking to Him and allowing Him to talk to us. Fellowship and conversation with God grows our relationship with Him. He loves to speak to our hearts through impressions, words, and visions in our hearts as well as dreams and in other ways. It’s also very helpful to journal your prayers as well as what God says in response. This ensures you won’t forget what He speaks to your heart later on!

Key #3: The Word of God

Jesus, the Living Word, gave us His written Word to help us in renewing our minds. When we are seeking to follow His will above our own, we must know His Word, which will help us to know the difference between God’s will versus our own.

As we study and meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit helps to renew our minds. Along with beholding Jesus in intimacy, we are transformed by this renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). We then begin to desire to be like Jesus in our loving, serving, and living more and more.

We also need to pray the Word. When we pray Scripture-based prayers, we can pray in alignment with God and know He will answer. The apostolic prayers, those prayed by the apostles in the New Testament, are a great starting place.

For example, Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17 that the believers would receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the intimate knowledge of Jesus. This is a great prayer to pray as we seek to grow in connection to the Lord.

More examples of praying God’s Word and apostolic prayers: Key Apostolic Prayers (PDF) / Expanded Version of Apostolic Prayers (PDF)

Key #4: Affection-based Obedience

As we grow in God and knowing His heart, our love for Him will fuel our obedience. Desiring to obey Jesus out of love for Him is the most powerful form of obedience. We obey because we are lovers of God, not because we are fearful of punishment if we don’t.

Mike Bickle often says, “Lovers will always outwork workers.” Fear-based obedience will only take us so far before we burn out or want to give up, but when God’s love impacts our hearts, we will yearn to follow His commands to love Him and love our neighbors as ourselves.

“Jesus answered, If a person [really] loves Me, he will keep My word [obey My teaching]; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.” John 14:23 (AMP)

Key #5: Accountability with Humility

Our openness to being accountable to our spiritual leaders and close family in Christ directly reflects whether we live with a consecrated heart.

When we love God, we will desire to be free from all that hinders love. We will want God to set us free from any struggle, sin, or bondage to the things of the world. This goes hand and hand with having humility and being accountable to our brothers and sisters. We know they can see things we may miss, and that God wants us to help each other grow and be encouraged.

We welcome the fire of His refining, even in the face of correction. When the correction seems off, we seek God’s heart for even an ounce of truth He may be revealing to set us free. Although we may be nervous about His refining fire, we ask Him to purify us anyway because we want hearts after His.

Above All Else

Those with consecrated hearts weep when He weeps, and rejoice when He rejoices. We want hearts that break for what breaks His, that are moved by the things that move His heart. All in all, we want to be friends of God and to live as His pure and spotless Bride, making His heart known in all the earth.