Why We Need Intercessors
My voice you shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, and will look up. Psalm 5:3
You have armed me with strength for the battle…Psalm 18:39a
He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Isaiah 59:16
A battleship is made for battle. A cruise liner is built for fun. This is well and good, but you cannot win a battle with a cruise liner and the fun-seeking souls on board.
Until the Church realizes we are at war with evil spiritual forces that seek the destruction of all we hold dear, we will continue to create cruise liner congregations. We will have fun and games, with showy musical entertainment for armchair spectators—but we will not win any battles.
Today we need a praying Church. We need intercessors. Praying people hope and believe for an answer. Intercessors pray until the answer comes. The house of the Lord again needs to be a house of prayer. Our enemy is not impressed with our talented show. Naturally we are impressed. It is only right that we want our services to be polished with excellence in presentation.
But a charming, sweet service cannot substitute for the power of prayer.
Our battle is not with flesh and blood, as Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12. We struggle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The Church today is desperate for disciples of prayer and spiritual warfare. Intercessors are those saints whose burden of prayer takes them beyond the “Kumbaya” kind of innocuous group prayers. Psalm 5 speaks of directed prayer. The Hebrew word here translated as direct is the same word which we would use for one who directs a choir or a band. The inference here is a well-ordered, directed prayer. Intercessors focus on the Lord and the power of His presence.
The Hebrew word for intercession is pagah, which means to seize upon, to hit the target, to entreat, or to meet up with. This is where the battleship imagery comes into play. As a lad I used to play on the retired, decommissioned Battleship Texas. Her big 14” bore guns played a significant role in World War II on D-Day. Cruising 20 miles offshore, the battleship’s guns unloaded on the enemy, busting up Nazi gun emplacements on Omaha Beach. The D-Day invasion of France was not about fun and games. It was about winning the war over an evil enemy.
A segment of every congregation needs to be positioned toward that kind of victory through prevailing prayer. My wife JoAn grew up in a small, praying church in Seadrift, Texas. Like the name sounds, Seadrift is an obscure bayside fishing village. In World War II, 52 young men from that town went away to serve in the military—52 from little Seadrift! The praying moms and grandmothers, the home keepers who remained, faithfully met with their pastor at 10:00 am every morning to intercede for their sons’ safety. A large picture frame displayed the photographs of every uniformed G.I. who served. Many were on the front lines of battle. It would take a miracle for some of them to survive.
All 52 of those young men miraculously returned home! This is a testimony to the power of prayer; a power that knows no substitute in the Church. The Seadrift intercessors became a storied example of why we need praying congregations—and why we can certainly use the hidden ministry of intercession today.
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