The third prayer concentration of your prayer effort is the force of intercession and mobilized intercessors.
Every believer is called to intercession. And yet, there are those who have a special burden for the role, even a special anointing to do the work of intercession. Most churches have never identified those people. Tragically, intercessors are ignored and often marginalized. Tapping the passion of healthy intercessors will accelerate the prayer effort. Intercessors always have ‘prayer fire’ in their hearts.
Practical steps for mobilizing intercessors:
- Identify the intercessors. Call them together. Spend an evening with them. Appreciate them. Enlist their support. Most of them are eager to be officially engaged as watchers on the wall.
- Train them. Don’t assume that intercessors naturally do all things perfectly or even understand the workings of prayer. Some intercessors, due to the absence of any training in this area, have a less-than-healthy theology. Teach them. Expose them to balanced prayer theology and practices.
- Team them. Many intercessors, like ancient watchmen, tend to be loners, at least in their prayer effort. The ‘night-wall’ is a lonely place, indeed. Team them, not necessarily to pray together, but to collaborate, to share, to adopt jointly various prayer needs. Create networks of communication among them. Use teaming to confirm the ‘impressions’ they sense from the Spirit.
- Direct them. If intercessors are ‘loose cannons,’ as some pastors allege, it is usually because they have never been directed. Offer them assignments for prayer. Encourage them to adopt ministries of the church for which they will pray. Have every leader and worker enlist intercessors to pray for them regularly.1
- Debrief them. If intercessors are the watchers on the wall, then how do they get their night-watch reports to the elders at the gate? To whom do they report? With whom do they share sensitive impressions? Create a means for intercessors to have input. Seek their insights.
Intercessors should model the spirit of prayer that is desired for the entire church. Don’t allow intercessors to become an elite group of super-spiritual types. Healthy intercessors are humble and teachable. They often have a sharp sense of discernment and a deep level of conscientiousness – they want what is right! A servant-spirit restrains those with a healthy prophetic bent. Seasoned intercessors learn to carry deep and often disturbing secrets shared by the Spirit without becoming bitter and caustic. They are often the first to sense a storm coming and the last into the storm shelter out of concern for others. They are often the steadfast silent backbone of a strong and enduring congregation.
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P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.
1 P. Douglas Small, Transforming Your Church into A House of Prayer (Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2006), 108-130.