I recently finished an amazing book called Rees Howells, Intercessor by Norman Grubb (let me just say for the record I do not agree with all his viewpoints, but he lived an amazing life for Christ and his testimony is compelling and challenging; therefore, more than worth the read).
In any case, on page 97 he explains his viewpoint on the difference between a Prayer Warrior and an Intercessor. Since I’ve heard the terms frequently used interchangeably, I found his assertions fascinating and thought-provoking as well as challenging personally.
A prayer warrior can pray for a thing to be done without necessarily being willing for the answer to come through himself; and he is not even bound to continue in the prayer until it is answered. But an intercessor is responsible to gain his objective, and he can never be free till he has gained it. He will go to any lengths for the prayer to be answered through himself.
So in other words, if you come and ask me for prayer for provision that you need, if I am not willing to be used practically as the answer to that need (if God asked me to) in addition to praying and contending, then I am a prayer warrior, not an intercessor. However, if I am willing to pray your need through to completion and am willing also to give of my own practical resources if God directs me to… then I am an intercessor.
Interesting. In all honesty then, I have to say more often than not, I am a prayer warrior (perhaps even a persistent one), but not an intercessor. To be an intercessor by that standard requires a HIGH level of commitment.
As I paused to think of areas where I have been willing to commit at that level, the first that comes to mind is my husband. When he was backslidden, I contended for his freedom and did so at much personal cost. That is an intercessor. But was it worth it? Absolutely! Was more gained than just the restoration of my marriage? Perhaps…
Howells talks about the “gift of faith” vs the “grace of faith” (p84-85). When we as a prayer warrior bring a request before God – He may or may not grant it. If He does, it is a gift birthed out of your faith to ask. It doesn’t necessarily mean the next time you ask for the same thing God will grant it again – it simply means on this occasion He did.
In intercession though, much warfare occurs and there is a greater personal cost. Howells referred to this as “the gained position of intercession” which gains the “grace of faith”.
The price is paid, the obedience is fulfilled, the inner wrestlings and groanings take their full course, and then ‘the word of the Lord comes.’ The weak channel is clothed with authority by the Holy Ghost and can speak out a word of deliverance. ‘Greater works’ are done. Not only this, but a new position in grace is gained and maintained, although even then that grace can only be appropriated and applied in each instance under the guidance of the Spirit.
As I look in my own life do I see levels of authority in prayer in areas I have truly interceded by this definition? Yes! So though there is a cost, there is much gained. This truly challenges me to consider why I am not willing to contend in more areas… I trust God will continue to direct me even in this. 🙂 But I found it all compelling enough to want to share… so perhaps it will challenge some of you as well.
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