"Spirit-Inspired Praying: Intercessory Warfare"
A. There is an integral relationship between prayer and
1. Effective prayer is ministry in itself.
2. Effective prayer enables effectual ministry.
B. The prayer offered should mirror the ministry
1. There are two sides of ministry. (Mt. 8:16-18)
a. Demolition: It is here shown as driving out evil
b. Construction: It is here shown as healing the
2. There are two faces of prayer.
a. Warfare prayer: Through binding/loosing, we set
(1) Binding is rendering the Enemy powerless.
(2) Loosing is untying/unbinding the captive. (Lk.
(3) This corresponds to the intercessory task of "building
the wall." (Ezek. 22:30)
b. Intercessory prayer: Through mediation/advocacy,
we minister reconciliation.
(1) Who we ARE: We are ambassors for Christ. (2
(2) What we DO: We represent Christ in calling people
to be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:20b)
(3) This corresponds to the intercessory task of "standing
in the gap." (Ezek. 22:30)
3. The two aspects of prayer become one.
a. Categorically stated: All prayer is warfare
(1) This is evident from the purpose for which we
(a) Prayer is for the advancement of Godís
(b) This requires a clash of kingdoms in which
Satanís is ousted.
(2) This is evident from the model prayer Jesus
gave us in The Lordís Prayer.
(a) Hallowing Godís name battles idolatry.
(b) Petitioning for Godís kingdom battles all
(c) Asking our daily bread battles anxiety,
materialism, and pride.
(d) Pleading and extending forgiveness battles
(e) Petitioning protection from the evil one
battles self and Satan.
b. Specifically applied: Intercessory prayer is
(1) Intercession calls for reconciliation and
(2) The Enemyís scheme is to separate from God
and weaken resolve.
(3) Intercession applies Christís finished work
against Satanís schemes.
c. It is the Holy Spirit who anoints us to
intercede and conquer.
(1) He empower us to witness to the finished work
of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
(2) He imparts authority over all the works of
the Enemy. (Lk. 10:19)
C. This teaching demonstrates the partnership of the
Holy Spirit with us in prayer enabling us to effectively engage
in intercessory warfare.
1. The Spirit inspires us in prayer.
2. The Spirit enlightens us in prayer.
3. The Spirit alerts us in prayer.
4. The Spirit partners with us in prayer.
Body of Teaching
I. The Holy Spirit inspires us
A. He is the Spirit of sonship/adoption.
(Rom. 8:15, 16)
1. He enables us to call God our Father.
2. He testifies with our spirit that we are Godís
B. He is the Spirit of grace and supplications. (Zech.
1. As the Spirit of grace, he enables us to
receive Godís favor and blessing.
2. As the Spirit of supplication, he pleads through
us for others that they would come to know Godís
favor and blessing through Christ.
C. He is the Spirit of intercession. (Rom. 8:26, 27)
1. He compensates for our weakness in prayer.
2. He compensates for our ignorance in prayer.
3. He compensates for our barrenness in prayer.
D. He gives the "gift" of intercession.
1. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are supernatural
abilities given by the Holy Spirit to individual believers as
he determines and for the good of others. (1 Cor. 12:11)
2. Paul lists twenty-five charismata, or
"spiritual gifts," in several scattered passages but
nowhere says these lists are exhaustive.
3. C. Peter Wagner believes there is a "gift of
intercession" and defines it as follows:
"The gift of intercession is the special ability
that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to
pray for extended periods of time on a regular basis and see
frequent and specific answers to their prayers to a degree
much greater than that which is expected of the average
-- C. Peter Wagner, "How to Have a Prayer Ministry: A
Video and Audio Self-Study Kit" (Pasadena, California:
The Charles E. Fuller Evangelistic Institute, 1990), Tape 3.
4. There are a few key thoughts on the gift of
intercession we should consider:
a. The Bible encourages us to "eagerly desire
the greater gifts." (1 Cor. 12:31)
b. The Bible teaches that God is pleased to answer
prayers that are prayed persistently. (Mt. 7:7,8)
c. Spirit-inspired intercession is certainly among
the greater gifts and should be earnestly desired by every
d. We have biblical reason to believe that God will
grant this gift to those who earnestly petition for it with
right motives. (Jam. 4:3)
e. That believers should exercise this gift is
evident from the fact that Paul exhorted believers generally
to intercede in the Spirit continually. (Eph. 6:18)
f. While most believers may have a different
primary ministry gifting/calling than intercession, every
(1) Fulfill the role of interceding for
(2) Expect to be anointed with a gift of
intercession from time to time.
(3) Seek to move toward a lifestyle of
E. The Holy Spirit inspires/gifts us for intercessory
1. Epaphras is a biblical example of this.
a. He and the apostle Paul prayed frequently
b. Paul noticed that he prayed more fervently when
he prayed for certain cities including Colosse, Laodicea,
and Hierapolis. (Col. 4:13)
c. Paul described Epaphrasí prayers for the
Colossians as "wrestling in prayer for you." (Col.
d. Specifically, Epaphras prayed for the Colossians
that they might "stand firm in all the will of God,
mature and fully assured." (Col. 4:12b)
2. Euodia and Syntyche are other biblical examples of
a. Paul listed them among his fellow workers.
b. Paul said they "contended at my side in the
cause of the gospel." (Philip. 4:3)
c. The Greek text reads they "did spiritual
warfare in my behalf."
3. We too should expect the Holy Spirit to inspire us
in intercessory warfare.
a. The salvation of the lost is at stake.
b. The strengthening and maturing of believers is
c. The success of those laboring in ministry and
missions is at stake.
d. Our own spiritual stability and development is
II. The Holy Spirit enlightens
us in prayer.
A. He is the Spirit of Truth. (Jn.
1. Revelation: He leads us into all truth. (Jn.
2. Conversion: He turns us from darkness to light,
from the power of Satan to God. (Acts 26:18)
3. Enrichment: He reveals to us all that God
has prepared for us. (1 Cor. 2:12)
a. This includes all that God has prepared for us
in the world to come.
b. It also includes all he has prepared for us in
this life through redemption.
B. Illustration: I had a dramatic experience with being
enlightened for effective prayer.
1. I was having an accute abdominal attack.
2. I was alone in the school clinic and feared for
3. My prayers were frantic and void of faith.
4. The Lord said to me, "If you believe Iím
hear to help you, why are you so troubled?"
5. All fear left instantly though all symptoms
6. I prayed according to Mark 11:24 for healing.
7. I immediately saw a vision of clouds around my
head suddenly disperse.
8. Faith was suddenly, supernaturally injected into
9. All symptoms instantly vanished.
C. The Spirit of Truth enlightens the mind and the
heart for effective prayer.
1. He dispels the clouds of deception from our minds.
(2 Cor. 4:4)
a. The word for "blinds" here is tuphoo
and means "to dull the intellect" "to make
b. Dutch Sheets states, "The root word, tupho,
has the meaning of making smoke, and the blindness in this
passage is like a smokescreen that clouds or darkens the air
in such a way as to prohibit a person from seeing."
-- Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer: How God Can Use
Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth (Ventura,
California: Regal Books, 1996), p. 166.
2. He shines in the light of truth that illumines the
a. He enlightens our hearts to reveal Jesus to us.
(2 Cor. 4:6)
b. He enlightens our hearts to the future he has
for us. (Eph. 1:18)
c. NOTE: Satan blinds the mind; God illumines the
3. The illumination of the Spirit topples
mental/spiritual strongholds. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
a. Logismos, "arguments, reasonings"
contrary to knowledge of God.
(1) This is reason battling revelation.
(2) It is a mind bombarded and confused.
b. Hupsoma, "pretentions, high thing;
height," i.e., pride in our reasonings.
(1) This is reason dominating revelation.
(2) It is a mind exalted and idolized.
c. Noema, "thoughts,"
"purpose; device of the mind; scheme"
(1) This is reason conspiring against
(2) It is a mind obsessed and captivated by
Satan. (See also 2 Cor. 2:11.)
3. The Spirit uses the light of the Word to defeat
a. The Spirit of God inspired the Word of God. (2
b. The Word of God is our weapon against Satanís
strongholds. (Eph. 6:17)
c. We apply specific Scriptures to specific
strongholds. (Mt. 4:4, 7, 10)
d. NOTE: This is intercessory warfare for ourselves
and for others.
III. The Holy Spirit alerts us
A. Spirit-anointed intercession
requires that we be watchful in prayer.
1. The Old Testament depicts the intercessor as a
watchman on the wall.
a. Isaiahís ministry provides insight into
intercessors as watchmen.
(1) Isaiah was a "seer" (prophet) who
was allowed to foresee Godís plan.
(a) He foresaw the future destruction of
Jerusalem and its Temple.
(b) He foresaw the exile of the Jewish people
(c) He foresaw the edict of Cyrus the Persian
King allowing the Jews to return to their homeland.
(d) He foresaw the reconstruction of Jerusalem
and the Temple.
(2) Isaiah as a seer foresaw the
watchmen/intercessors who would pray his vision for a new
Jerusalem and a new Temple into existence.
(a) He heard God say about the future Jerusalem
and its Temple: "I have posted watchmen on your
walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or
night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no
rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth." (Isa.
(b) He understood that God had already posted
watchmen on the walls of this future city of Jerusalem.
(c) These watchmen would cry out to him day and
night until he established this future glorious
Jerusalem that would be honored throughout the earth.
(d) As watchmen/seers, they travelled through
time as it were, stood on the walls to be, and
relentlessly prayed the city into existence.
(3) This depiction of intercessors as watchmen on
the wall teaches us three important lessons about
(a) The Holy Spirit enables them to see the
vision of Godís purposes.
(b) They see themselves positioned in that
vision as inside players.
(c) They battle through prayer until the vision
b. The Old Testament watchman provides further
lessons into intercession.
(1) The following are important facts about the
role of watchmen.
(a) Watchmen were stationed on top of city
walls and in towers by the gates of the city.
(b) They worked in shifts to guard the city all
hours of day and night.
(c) They kept an eye out for approaching danger
and alerted the city with the blowing of trumpets when
enemy troops were spotted.
(d) They were the guardians of the city.
(2) The following lessons about intercession
emerge from these insights.
(a) They guard those for whom they pray.
(b) They are alert to enemy attack against
those for whom they pray.
(c) They warn those for whom they intercede of
(d) They themselves battle in prayer for the
protection and establishment of those for whom they
2. The New Testament urges believers to be watchful
a. In watchfulness we recognize our dependence upon
(1) Jesus exhorted his disciples to watch and
pray in a time of testing. (Mk. 14:38a)
(2) Watching and prayer would keep them from
falling. (Mk. 14:38b)
b. In watchfulness we see the true battleground of
(1) Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to be
"alert and self-controlled." (1 Thess. 5:6)
(2) They were to be armored in faith, love, and the
hope of salvation. (1 Thess. 5:6)
(3) This would keep them secure in faith when Godís
c. In watchfulness we enage the Enemy.
(1) Peter exhorted the scattered believers to be
"self-controlled and alert." (1 Pet. 5:8a)
(2) Though scattered by persecution, they were not
to fall because of it.
(3) They were to see the real Enemy as the devil on
the prowl to devour. (1 Pet. 5:8b)
(4) They were to "resist him, standing firm in
the faith . . . ." (1 Pet. 5:9)
d. The New Testament balances watchfulness between
oneself and others.
(1) Peter is exhorted by Jesus: "When you have
turned back, strengthen your brothers." (Lk. 22:32b)
(2) Elders are to "keep watch over yourselves
and the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you
overseers." (Acts 20:28)
(3) NOTE: New Testament watching and prayer is as
much for our spiritual safety as for others for whom we
B. Illustration: Elizabeth Alves alertness in prayer
saved her cousin Mikeís life.
-- Elizabeth Alves, Becoming A Prayer Warrior
(Ventura, California: Renew Books, 1998), pp. 29-30.
1. She awakened to get water when she was hit by a
burden of intercession for her cousin Mike whom she had not
seen in 10 years.
2. In three successive waives of intercession, she
found herself praying for God to hold him still, then again to
keep him from moving, and then to help him get up and run.
3. She found out the next day from his mother that he
was in Vietnam at the time.
4. A letter to his mom a month later revealed a close
call with death the very night that Elizabeth interceded for
him. His plane was shot down by the Vietcong and he fell into
5. Twice, he tried to get up and run but was held
down by an unseen hand as the Vietcong were right over him but
not seeing him. Then, he was released to run to a nearby
helicopter where comrades whisked him away to safety.
C. Illustration: Barbara Haleís alertness in prayer
may have saved her husbandís life.
1. Her husband was away for the weekend on business.
2. She was awakened by his voice but found he was not
3. She knelt by her bed and prayed earnestly for him
till she felt a release.
4. He returned to recount the story of a miraculous
deliverance from a near accident.
IV. The Holy Spirit partners
with us in prayer.
A. The Holy Spirit helps us in
prayer to bind the work of the Enemy.
-- Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer: How God Can Use Your
Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth (Ventura, California: Regal
Books, 1996), p. 102-104.
1. Paul says the Holy Spirit "helps" us in
our "weaknesses" in relation to prayer. (Rom.
a. The word for help is sunantilambanomai.
b. Meaning: sun ="with"; anti
= "against"; lambano = "to take hold
c. The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer "by
taking hold of together with us against." He becomes an
extention of our hands as it were in binding the work of the
2. Illustration: Dutch Sheets is aided by the Holy
Spirit in prayer in taking hold of an ovarian cyst in his wife
and squeezing it out of her.
a. Ceci developed an ovarian cyst the size of a
b. The doctor, a believer, gave him two months to
"get rid of it by prayer."
c. After several prayer methods didnít work,
Dutch decided to spend an hour per day praying for her.
d. He prayed with the understanding for five or six
minutes and in the Spirit for the remainder of the hour
consistently for a month.
e. Two weeks in, he saw himself in a vision holding
the cyst and "squeezing the life out of it."
f. Twice more he had the same vision when praying
for her until he saw it vanish in his hand.
g. An ultrasound confirmed that the cyst was gone.
B. The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer to loose the
gifts of God.
1. We can release the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
a. Healing power flowed out of Jesus. (Mk. 5:30)
b. The Holy Spiritís anointing can flow out of
us. (Jn. 7:38-39)
2. Illustration of my experience with word of
knowledge and working of miracles in the healing of
a. It was the first service of The Sheepfold, April
b. I had a word of knowledge concerning an
abdominal condition with a straight line done the center of
the stomach causing pain, bloating, and doubling over.
c. Jenny, whom I had not met, responded as she had
surgery down the middle of the stomach a year earlier, scar
tissue developed, and all symptoms described were accurate.
d. As we laid hands and prayed, I said, "I
call for the working of miracles."
e. I felt a small bubble come up from my stomach to
my chest and move out toward her. I sensed it pop and said,
"There it is!"
f. The power of God fell and her whole body as well
as our hands trembled under the power released from that
g. Jenny was instantly healed and had experienced
no recurrences when I communicated with her nearly a year
C. The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer to reap a harvest
1. Intercessory warfare is ultimately about winning
the lost to Christ.
a. Jesusí came to destroy the devils works and to
seek/save the lost. (1 Jn. 3:8; Lk. 19:10)
b. To pray for the coming of the kingdom of God is
to pray for the salvation of the lost.
2. Illustration: Larry Lea learned the power of
Intercession for evangelistic effectiveness.
--Larry Lea, Could You Not Tarry One Hour (Lake
Mary, Florida: Creation House, 1987), pp. 42-46.
a. He was invited to hold a revival in Hereford,
Texas, preaching at several churches of different
b. The first two nights there was no response to
the altar invitation.
c. The third night, he was pulled aside by two nuns
who said they had prayed for him eight hours that day. They
prayed over him, and God revealed to them his text: "It
is finished!" That night, 100 youth came forward!
d. The next night, a repeat performance with the
nuns who again discerned his text: The woman with the issue
of blood. Another 100 were saved that night.
e. By the end of the week, 500 had come to Christ.
f. As he was flying back to Dallas and planning on
how to report "his" success, the Holy Spirit
rebuked him. "You had nothing to do with that
revival . . . Someone prayed the price."
A. There are two sides of ministry and two faces of
B. All ministry and prayer is essentially spiritual
C. The two faces of prayer color prayer as intercessory
D. The Holy Spirit enables intercessory warfare by
inspiring, enlightening, alerting, and partnering with us in