"Revitalizing Your Prayer Life"


In Prayer




Session 4: "Spirit-Inspired Praying: Intercessory Warfare"


A.  There is an integral relationship between prayer and ministry.

1.  Effective prayer is ministry in itself.

2.  Effective prayer enables effectual ministry.

B.  The prayer offered should mirror the ministry needed.

1.  There are two sides of ministry. (Mt. 8:16-18)

a.  Demolition: It is here shown as driving out evil spirits.

b.  Construction: It is here shown as healing the sick.

2.  There are two faces of prayer.

a.  Warfare prayer: Through binding/loosing, we set captives free.

(1)  Binding is rendering the Enemy powerless. (Mt. 12:29)

(2)  Loosing is untying/unbinding the captive. (Lk. 13:16)

(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 Cor. 5:20a)

(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 prayer.

(1)  This is evident from the purpose for which we pray.

(a)  Prayer is for the advancement of Godís kingdom.

(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 competing loyalties.

(c)  Asking our daily bread battles anxiety, materialism, and pride.

(d)  Pleading and extending forgiveness battles judgmentalism.

(e)  Petitioning protection from the evil one battles self and Satan.

b.  Specifically applied: Intercessory prayer is warfare prayer.

(1)  Intercession calls for reconciliation and fortification.

(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 in prayer.

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 children.

B.  He is the Spirit of grace and supplications. (Zech. 12:10)

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 Christian."

-- 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 believer.

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 believer should:

(1)  Fulfill the role of interceding for others.

(2)  Expect to be anointed with a gift of intercession from time to time.

(3)  Seek to move toward a lifestyle of intercession.

E.  The Holy Spirit inspires/gifts us for intercessory warfare.

1.  Epaphras is a biblical example of this.

a.  He and the apostle Paul prayed frequently together.

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. 4:12a)

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 this.

a.  Paul listed them among his fellow workers. (Philip. 4:3)

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 at stake.

c.  The success of those laboring in ministry and missions is at stake.

d.  Our own spiritual stability and development is at stake.

II.  The Holy Spirit enlightens us in prayer.

A.  He is the Spirit of Truth. (Jn. 15:26)

1.  Revelation: He leads us into all truth. (Jn. 16:13)

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 the worst.

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 remained.

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 me.

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 blind."

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 heart.

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 heart.

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 revelation.

(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 strongholds.

a.  The Spirit of God inspired the Word of God. (2 Tim. 3:16)

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 in prayer.

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 to Babylon.

(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. 62:6-7)

(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 intercessors.

(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 is fulfilled.

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 impending attack.

(d)  They themselves battle in prayer for the protection and establishment of those for whom they pray.

2.  The New Testament urges believers to be watchful in prayer.

a.  In watchfulness we recognize our dependence upon God.

(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 spiritual warfare.

(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 judgment came.

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 pray.

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 a bush.

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 at home.

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. 8:26-27)

a.  The word for help is sunantilambanomai.

b.  Meaning: sun ="with"; anti = "against"; lambano = "to take hold of"

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 Enemy.

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 large egg.

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 Jenny.

a.  It was the first service of The Sheepfold, April 15, 1990.

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 small bubble.

g.  Jenny was instantly healed and had experienced no recurrences when I communicated with her nearly a year later.

C.  The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer to reap a harvest of souls.

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 denominations.

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 prayer.

B.  All ministry and prayer is essentially spiritual warfare.

C.  The two faces of prayer color prayer as intercessory warfare.

D.  The Holy Spirit enables intercessory warfare by inspiring, enlightening, alerting, and partnering with us in prayer.



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