The Heart of an Intercessor
If you’re reading this article, most likely you are a person who is either drawn to praying for others, or you want to pray more effectively for this particular ministry. Whether you are one who gives much time and focus to intercession or one who simply wants to go deeper in prayer, this article is for you.
I’m going to share about the care and maintenance of the heart of an intercessor. “What?” you say. “You’re not going to begin with a discussion of prayer techniques, or a list of topics to pray for Messianic Vision?”
No. I’m going to begin at the beginning. All effective prayer begins in the heart. I personally believe that all effective intercession begins in the heart of God, although I’m not aware of a scripture that says this in so many words. I base my statement on the notion that prayer which agrees with the will of God is prayer that gets results. If we know God’s heart for a situation, we can pray in agreement with Him and expect His will to come to pass.
The connection between the will of God and effective prayer takes place in the heart of the intercessor. We might say that the heart is the place where faith resides. When we say, for example, “I believe this with all my heart” about something, we are saying that we believe it at the very core, the very center of our being.
Effective intercession is an act of faith, and intercession is an art—the art of lining up one’s heart with God’s heart for a situation or person. This is easier said than done, but when one is single-hearted with God, it’s like opening a valve between two pipes and letting the water flow. Or like flipping a switch in an electrical circuit and letting the power flow.
The more the intercessor’s heart flows with God’s as a habit of life, the greater the opportunity God has to express His will in the earth through that person’s actions and prayers. Intercession then becomes a lifestyle, not merely an occasional activity.
This is what makes the heart of any believer something worth protecting and cultivating, like precious and fertile soil. Yeshua said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Mt.12:34 & Lu. 6:45) Therefore we should guard our hearts with all diligence, for out of them flow “the issues of life” (Pr. 4:23)
What words have you allowed to take root so that they are living in your heart? What words have been planted there like seeds? Words establish attitudes and strongholds—patterns of thought and action. What attitudes are evidenced by your manner of living? What habits of thought and action exist in your life? (Selah!) All of these affect the way you see everything around you and how you deal with what you see—the very words you pray and even how you pray. These too reveal the condition of your heart.
The words planted in our hearts are growing and maturing—for good or for evil.
When we continually and daily feed on God’s Word, we are planting the good seeds from God’s heart that will eventually mature and bear fruit in our own hearts, if we give them good soil. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” The fundamental sin we can be guilty of is unbelief—that is, not believing what God has said. “What is not of faith is sin.”
Daily intake of the Word of God is like planting good spiritual seed in the heart of any believer in Yeshua, but especially for an intercessor. After reading a short passage in Scripture, take a few minutes to meditate on what you’ve read. By “meditate” I mean ponder what you’ve read, letting the Holy Spirit suggest thoughts or pictures that bring out a greater depth of meaning in a verse or passage than you previously saw. Then periodically through the day, recall some of that meditation and let it feed your heart some more.
Other spiritual disciplines can also help you position your heart before God so that over time your heart becomes more attuned to His heart. For example, sitting in complete silence while focusing on the presence of God for five or ten minutes at a time is a refreshing and strengthening practice that will change the heart over time. Whether you sense Him saying anything to you or not in that silence is not the point. Sitting silently before Him is in itself a kind of prayer. It’s an acknowledgement that you are well-accepted in the Beloved and welcome in His presence without having to earn that acceptance though the good works, even of intercession. Our value to God is never based on our prayers or on any other good work. We are free to just be His. And our silence can be the exercise of that profound freedom.
Oh, I could mention other disciplines at this point, such as fasting, worship, giving praise, thanksgiving, or praying in the spirit. All of these are tools that God gives us to cultivate the ground of our hearts, preparing that soil to receive the precious seed of His Word.
One of the most powerful tools He has given us is the grace of quick repentance. I’m talking about those times when we suddenly know we’ve done wrong. Maybe we just did the deed the moment before. Or maybe the Holy Spirit suddenly gives us the understanding of something we did in the past. In that moment of sudden conviction we can turn quickly to Yeshua to receive the benefit of His forgiveness by our quick and heart-felt repentance.
“Repent” means to turn or change direction. Being quick to repent then is like a farmer who diligently removes the stones from his field in the Spring when he is breaking up the soil to prepare it for planting. If those stones are left in that finely tilled soil, they will keep the young sprouts from developing into straight, tall plants, and those plants will never reach their full intended maturity.
A well-cultivated heart, then, is increasingly marked by the very character of Messiah. Nothing growing in His heart is crooked or stunted. His heart is free from stones. And undoubtedly Messiah is the greatest intercessor of all, having made intercession through the very act of His death and now ever living to make intercession for us at the right hand of the Father. (Heb. 7:25)
O to have Your heart! Father, have mercy on us! You have given us the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth. You have given us Yeshua to be our very own rabbi, that we should imitate His heart as His talmidim (disciples). Help us to cultivate our hearts so we can become increasingly single-hearted with You, in Yeshua’s name. Omayne.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.