“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” – Isaiah 62:6-7
It is pretty obvious in our days that many pray but few seem to passionately intercede. Several of the men and women God used in the Bible were intercessors who stood for individuals, families, and nations. Such include Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Esther, Job, Elijah, Elisha, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Paul among others. Today, God seeks men and women whom He will set on the walls of nations to make intercession for their deliverance and restoration – “And I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land; that I should not destroy it: but I found none” – Ezekiel 22:30. Stewardship in prayer entails faithfulness in discharging our intercessory mandate over individuals, families, regions, and nations.
Biblical Qualities of an Intercessor
Intercessors are Watchmen. God said, “I have set watchmen over your walls, O Jerusalem…” The watchman has the singular responsibility of keeping watch over an area or territory. He doesn’t sleep as others do. He bears responsibility and is answerable to his employer or boss about what transpires over such territory he is assigned to watch over. Any damage done in his area of assignment puts his life and job at stake: “But if the watchman sees war coming and doesn’t blow the trumpet, warning the people, and war comes and takes anyone off, I’ll hold the watchman responsible for the bloodshed of any unwarned sinner” (Ezekiel 33:6). So are we as intercessors. Little wonder the angels of the Lord appeared to break the news first, to shepherds keeping watch over their flock at night about the Saviour’s birth: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid” (Luke 2:8-9). If they attached so much value to the lives of animals, to keep watch over them with sleepless nights, God found them worthy to carry and spread the news of the birth of His Son. How about you, do you sleep when you’re supposed to be watching or discharging your intercessory duty?
Intercessors know their Area of Jurisdiction. “I have set watchmen over your walls, O Jerusalem…” Every watchman has his or her area of jurisdiction where he or she is meant to establish heaven’s rule per time. God is the one who does the posting of intercessors to their duty stations. Intercessors understand their duty stations at every given time. For one, the duty post may change at some point in time, for another, an intercessory burden could be for a lifetime. Whether a temporary intercessory assignment or a lifetime assignment, let us seek to understand what the burden of the LORD is at each point in time and bear it in prayer. God may draw your heart to a colleague at work or a neighbour who is unsaved for the purpose of interceding for such a person’s salvation. For that season, that could be your duty post. God at other times may have you stand in the gap for a family or region, which is your duty post at that moment. You’re required to stay there and remain faithful in your area of jurisdiction because that is where you exercise Kingdom authority and dominion with ease.
Intercessors Don’t Give Up. “You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth”. Intercessors don’t give up until they see the will of God established in a life or territory. They are persistent and enduring; they keep pressing until they receive answers to their prayer. They do not give God rest until their answers are delivered. They pave the way for God to work in a life or region, attracting God’s mercy rather than judgment over such life or region. They have the capacity to pacify God over a matter by their enduring intercession like Moses: “So the LORD repented from the harm which He said He would do to His people (Exodus 32:14).
Intercessors are Selfless. They place the interests of others over themselves and are willing to risk everything to have others saved. The cases of Moses and Paul are clear examples – Exodus 32:32 and Romans 9:1-4 respectively. They are men who themselves have challenges, but they place their challenges aside to attend to others’ needs in prayer. Moses was ready to risk his eternity with God for a rebellious Israel. Paul was ready to give up his place in Christ for the unbelieving Jews; Esther risked her life and position in the palace of Shushan for her Jewish brethren (Esther 4:16); Daniel defied the king’s decree and prayed towards and for Jerusalem three times a day at the expense of his life in Persia (Daniel 6:10). Intercessors are ready to lay down their comfort and lives to give others the right to live. What are you ready to sacrifice for that sinful soul in your family, neighborhood, or workplace to be saved? Are you willing to put aside your many challenges to attend to the burden of the Lord in your spirit? Of course, God won’t leave you unattended to if you obediently attend to His business of intercession.
Intercessors have Clarity of Sight and Sound. “He awakens Me morning by morning; He awakens My ear to hear as the learned. The LORD has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious neither did I turn away” (Isaiah 50:4b-5). Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an almond tree”. Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word” (Jeremiah 1:11-12). They have a high capacity to see what others would not ordinarily see. They see from heaven’s perspective and hear the heartbeat of God. They have a high level of spiritual sensitivity and are up-to-date with heaven. Because of their ability to see beyond the natural, their perspective on life differs from that of ordinary men. God quickens their ears and brightens their sight to hear and see well. Where others may see pleasure, they sense the burden to intercede. Where others may see hatred, they see reasons to be compelled by Christ’s love to intercede for the hater. They are an expression of God’s affection on earth. As for you, what do you see with your eyes? Do you see the fields ripe for harvest or you’re seeing an opportunity to make merchandise of the grace of God? Beyond seeing, what do you do with what God reveals to you about that life, family, community, or nation?
In concluding this first part of the article, there is the need to self-evaluate and see if we are true expressions of God’s affection through intercession. Are your prayers only self-centered – I, me, and myself? Have you abandoned your place of posting because you have to ‘make ends meet’? God beckons, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 50:8). Are you available for the clarion call of intercession?