Intercessory prayers should definitely be a part of any prayer toolbox!
In any good toolbox, you will find a variety of different tools, each with a specific purpose. God has likewise provided you with different types of powerful prayers to help you to fight the battles you regularly face. Paul made this clear in Ephesians 6:18 when he talked about the need to pray with “all prayer and supplication”.
The phrase “with all prayer” in Greek is “dia pases proseuches”, which translates into “with all kinds of prayer”. This verse could also be translated as “praying always with all manner, all kinds, and all sorts of prayer.”
Even more accurately, you could translate the verse: “Praying always with all the kinds of prayers that God has made available for you to use.”
What is Intercessory Prayer?
Intercessory Prayer is one of the many types of prayer available to us. Unfortunately, it is still a bit of a mystery to many believers. While it is not a complicated concept, its actual practice is often misunderstood.
To intercede literally means to “stand in the gap” for another person.
Intercession comes from the Latin root word, cedere, meaning to go, yield, and surrender. Its prefix, inter, means between, reciprocal, being shared by and felt. To intercede for another person, therefore, means to surrender yourself to God in prayer to such a heartfelt extent that Holy Spirit helps you to pray.
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26 NLT
Interestingly, Romans 8:26 (KJV) uses the Greek word huperentugchano for intercession. This is the only time this specific word is used in the New Testament. This makes intercession the rarest expression of prayer but certainly no less powerful than the other prayer forms.
You can be fully assured that because Holy Spirit is praying for you during Intercession, tremendous spiritual power is being exerted and this virtually guarantees a sure move of God.
True intercessory prayer, therefore, has nothing to do with elevating yourself but has everything to do with glorifying the Father and praying the miraculous into the lives of others.
Simply put, when you intercede for someone, you stand between that person and God in the Holy of Holies to make requests on their behalf. The priority is to sacrifice your own desires and help meet the needs of someone else. This is love in action.
There seems to be a popular misunderstanding that only a special, elite group of believers can offer up Intercessory Prayers. But we clearly see from the verse cited from Romans 8:26 that all believers are called to the ministry of Intercession.
In fact, to NOT intercede for others is not God’s will. It is actually seen as sin. Samuel addresses Israel in a farewell speech in 12:23 with these words:
“As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you” NLT
The simple act of praying on behalf of others shows up under the Old Covenant. This is where you see men such as Moses, David, Samuel, Abraham, Jeremiah, and Elijah in the role of mediator between God and His people.
It is especially recognized under the New Covenant with Christ Himself being the supreme intercessor. All of your prayers are made to the Father through Christ. In fact, Hebrews 4:16 reminds you that you can boldly come into the presence of God to get help when you need it.
When Christ was crucified, He closed the gap that existed between God and man and now all believers can stand in the gap and pray for each other.
“Who then will condemn us? No one–for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” Romans 8:34 NLT
Intercession is more than just asking for things and pleading with God on behalf of other people. It requires your total and complete submission to God’s will. It means you grab hold of His will in prayer and stand on His word until it happens no matter how dire the situation may seem.
Intercessory Prayer is also a very underrated form of spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that we are not fighting flesh and blood enemies; rather unseen forces and authorities.
The real enemies are rulers of darkness and spiritual powers that oppose God. When you intercede, part of the battle plan is to speak the words of God (“praying the promises”) and call forth the blessings needed.
Because of the nature of prayer itself, when you intercede, you literally battle the dark forces of the spiritual realm for the lives of your friends, family, associates, and spiritual relatives.
In the act of your total surrender to God and His Holy Spirit is where you find the true power of Intercessory Prayer. The power all belongs to God and as you yield to Him, that power is made evident.
This kind of prayer doesn’t take “no” for an answer. It fights through every setback and problem until the spiritual battle has been won. It persists on the job until breakthroughs happen, circumstances are changed, and strongholds are destroyed in the lives of God’s people.
Intercession is not timid or fearful. It stands boldly against the powers of evil and pounds on the doors of Heaven until something happens.
“Prayers of intercession are unceasing. They are undiscouraged and undefeated. It is a dynamic prayer that produces powerful results”. P. Stevenson
True intercession is a strong, highly effective method of combat. Paul reaffirms this fact for the Corinthian church:
“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”
“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT
Fervent intercession should therefore be a common practice for all believers who know the word of God and trust in Him. Paul instructs the Ephesians to:
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18 NLT
What is the difference between prayer and intercessory prayer?
Prayer is simply talking to God. This can mean you are:
- Talking to God about Himself
- Talking to God about His principles
- Talking to God about you and your issues
- Confessing your shortcomings and sins
- Repenting from a shortcoming or sin
- Dedicating yourself or something you have to God
- Asking/Petitioning Him for your personal needs
Intercessory prayer is also talking to God but you are speaking on behalf of someone else. Just like in the general forms of prayer, you can:
- Approach God with boldness to receive help
- Pour out your heart to Him
- Ask Him to meet certain needs
- Offer thanks and praise for what He has done
The major differences between the two have to do with the way the Holy Spirit moves during the prayer or as a result of it.
Intercession tends to be much bolder and stronger than your average petitions. It is driven primarily by your total submission to Holy Spirit, who in turn prays on your behalf.
This is where you move beyond talking to God on a more casual level and into forcefully connecting with Him and His will. An intercessor stands in the gap between God and man to command that His will be done until the results actually surface.
On a deeper level, intercession is like possessing governmental authority in the spirit realm. You can then join forces with other members of the body incorporate prayer (or pray alone in the spirit) and with God to speak a thing into existence.
The key is to pray specifically for God’s will to be done in someone else’s life – doing so with spiritual fervor and authority.
Intercessory prayer is love in action that requires you to sacrifice in order to see the prayers answered.
The sacrifice simply may be the time you give up to pray for another or the sleep you sacrifice to pray in the early morning hours. It can even be turning down food in order to fast and pray for God’s people. In any case, you are denying your own need in favor of someone else.
Both prayer and intercessory prayer are effective tools depending on the job needing to be done. Prayer, by itself, is a beautiful thing between you and God. But intercessory prayer includes the welfare of others; including the unsaved in the world and things in the earth realm that need to be changed.
Intercessory Prayer Points
You are not only commissioned to pray at all times without ceasing. Scriptures also provide a shortlist of who exactly to pray for. You are expected to offer a variety of intercessory prayers to help meet the needs of the Body of Christ as well as the unsaved.
Use these Intercessory prayer points to guide you.
- Pray for all people, everywhere: 1 Timothy 2:1
- Pray for each other: James 5:16
- Pray for those in authority and positions of leadership: 1 Timothy 2:2
- Pray for ministers: Philippians 1:19
- Pray for Jerusalem: Psalms 122:6-7
- Pray for your friends: Job 42:8
- Pray for those who hurt you: Luke 6:28
- Pray for your fellow citizens: Romans 10:1
- Pray for the sick and afflicted: James 5:14
- Pray for your enemies: Jeremiah 29:7
- Pray for those who persecute you: Romans 12:14
- Pray for those who forsake you: 2 Timothy 4:16
Intercessory Prayer Scriptures
What does the Bible say about intercessory prayer? These intercessory prayer scriptures can help you understand it better:
- “First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them.” 1 Timothy 2:1 CEV
- “Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.” Ephesians 6:18 CEV
- “Please help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks for the blessings we receive in answer to all these prayers.” 2 Corinthians 1:11 CEV
- “because I know that your prayers and the help that comes from the Spirit of Christ Jesus will keep me safe.” Philippians 1:19 CEV
- “Dear friends, my greatest wish and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.” Romans 10:1 CEV
- “Jerusalem, on your walls I have stationed guards, whose duty it is to speak out day and night, without resting. They must remind the Lord and not let him rest till he makes Jerusalem strong and famous everywhere.” Isaiah 62:6-7 CEV
- “Suppose you see one of our people commit a sin that isn’t a deadly sin. You can pray, and this person will be given eternal life. But the sin must not be one that is deadly.” 1 John 5:16 CEV
- “Pray for kings and others in power, so we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God.” 1 Timothy 2:2 CEV
- “If you are sick, ask the church leaders to come and pray for you. Ask them to put olive oil on you in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14 CEV
- “After Job had prayed for his three friends, the Lord made Job twice as rich as he had been before.” Job 42:10 CEV
- “I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world. My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them.” John 17:9 CEV
- “But Simon, I have prayed that your faith will be strong. And when you have come back to me, help the others.” Luke 22:32 CEV
- “I am your servant, Lord God, and I beg you to answer my prayers and bring honor to yourself by having pity on your temple that lies in ruins. Please show mercy to your chosen city, not because we deserve it, but because of your great kindness.” Daniel 9:17-18 CEV
Are you looking for some tools and tips to boost your prayer life? If so, be sure to visit our Prayer Resources Library where you’ll find everything you need to become a powerful prayer warrior!
Intercessory Prayer Examples
The scriptures are full of instructions on who we should pray for and virtually no one is exempt from the need for prayer.
If you need a little help in knowing who to pray for, use these intercessory prayer examples to guide you:
We can pray for families, neighbors, and local communities that unity will prevail (Psalm 133:1):
Abba Father, thank you that all people will one day acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior. Visit each family in every neighborhood and allow Your grace, mercy, and peace to reign in every household. Create unity despite the differences and peace rather than dissent.
Allow Your truth to reign so that they would all realize that know we are all created in Your image. Too easily we allow division based on culture, language, or race. Change our behaviors and make us united. Let us focus on our shared status as Your creation and unite together over what we have in common and not be fractured over how we differ. Keep us in Your care so that we remain as one and glorify You. In Jesus Name.
Pray for government leaders in every part of the globe that they will acknowledge God’s authority (Proverbs 11:14):
Abba Father, thank you for every leader that is in a position of power no matter what level or arena. To You we lift the men and women in authority and ask that You would cause them to submit their lives and professions to You.
We know according to Your Word that the heart of the king is in Your hands so we ask that You would turn each heart toward You. Bring each leader to a place of total submission to You so that they will make sound decisions based upon Your word and Your Will.
Cause them to have compassion for those under their authority that they would govern with mercy and kindness according to Your will. Give every leader wisdom to rule effectively. Impart knowledge to them so that they have increased awareness of issues that affect the public.
Grant understanding that will cause them to exercise their authority with both logic and spiritual discernment. Remove and destroy every wicked intention and replace every rebellious leader with one after Your own heart. In Jesus Name.
Pray for lost souls that salvation will come to them by the Power of the Holy Spirit (James 5:20):
Father of Unfailing Love, we recognize that the enemy has blinded the hearts of sinners so that they are not able to hear your voice when you call them. We know that they are unable to see Your kindness and mercy.
I ask that You would remove the hearts of stone from the lost and replace it with the heart of flesh so that they can be able to receive your Son, Christ Jesus, and to hear your voice. Let every lie that the enemy has told them over time be exposed by your word. Let the truth of the Gospel prevail over their lives.
Send Your Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of all those who are living in sin. Prepare their hearts of those to receive the Gospel. Send the right people to share the gospel with them so that they will know the extent of Your love for them and the magnitude of the great sacrifice Christ made at the cross. In Jesus Name.
Pray that satanic kingdoms will be dislodged and that thy Kingdom Come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10):
Abba Father, we acknowledge You as a God of War as well as of peace. Today we call on You to move Your mighty right hand as we are living in challenging times. The enemy of our souls has convinced many people around the globe that He is not real.
He has lied and claimed that evil does not exist and that you are a harsh and unfair God. Many people are rebelling against you because they do not understand the kind and loving Father that you are. Mighty God, dismantle satan’s principalities and structures.
Dissolve his powers and rebuke him for our sakes. Remove the obstacles that prevent Your creation from worshipping only You. Abba, help the lost souls to know your Son, Christ Jesus, so that they can start worshiping you in spirit and in truth. Indwell your Holy Spirit in them. Remove and destroy every evil influence from the lives of Your people.
Remove every hindrance that blocks people from accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We now bind the negative influences and lose Your power and love in the earth. Thank You for dispatching Your angels to move on our behalf in this final hour of time. Cover us with Your grace and receive us as Your own. In Jesus Name.
We see that the primary principle of intercessory prayer is simply to tell God what He has told us. When you yield yourself to the power of the Holy Spirit, miraculous things occur. As we speak God’s word back to Him, He responds by releasing His power in the earth to manifest His glory and magnificence.
Intercession is God’s brilliant strategy for including the believers in ruling with Him in power. Although intercessory prayer is simple and humble, the vast power it yields to change our circumstances remains a spiritual mystery.
Stevenson is a Bible Teacher, Minister, and Transformational Life Coach who can be found at Kingdom Women Arise.