3 weeks ago prayer
Extract from Mercy before the judgment adjusted.
Satan fears that the church will take her place of intercession, for intercession is a place of government and has catastrophic effects on him and his future.
The judgment of Satan’s kingdom is linked to the intercession of the church. Therefore, he will do everything in his power to prevent the church from entering into her intercessory calling. We believe that the Church’s weakness in intercession is essentially the result of human dullness and willingness to compromise, but there is far more at work than the human eye can see. Satan’s war against the Church goes beyond tempting the Saints to engage in manifest evil. He makes a number of plans to prevent the Church from walking in her intercessory calling so that he might delay his future.
Accusation is one of Satan’s main plans. The Bible calls him the “Brothers Accuser” because he dismisses accusations day and night. He triggers accusations in the body to stir up arguments and conflicts, accusations against us before God and accusations in our own minds. These constant allegations are part of his plan to prevent the church from taking her place of governance.
The main thing that determines how you live your life is what you think about God. In his classic book The Knowledge of the Holy, AW Tozer identified this as the root problem:
What comes to mind when we think of God is the most important thing about us. Human history will likely show that no people have ever risen above their religion, and human intellectual history will positively show that no religion has ever been greater than their idea of God. . . . For this reason, the most serious question before the church is always God himself, and the most significant fact of every person is not what he may say or do at a particular time, but how he imagines God in his deep heart. According to a secret law of the soul, we tend to turn to our spiritual image of God. This applies not only to the individual Christian, but also to the community of Christians that make up the church. The most obvious thing about the church is always its conception of God.
What we think about God affects every area of our life. The way we speak, the way we think, the way we live and especially the way we pray show what we think about God.
The greatest factor in a life of intercession is a right view of God.
The main obstacle to intercession
There are several things that can hinder intercession, but the most important thing that prevents it is a wrong view of God.
As long as we have distorted views about God, we will never serve in the fullness of our intercessory calling. However, when we live from a true knowledge of God, it changes everything, so this is the main area in which Satan attacks the church. If he can distort your knowledge of God, you will not take your seat in government to advance the work of God and ultimately see Satan’s kingdom dismantled and his place removed.
Accusation and shame are Satan’s two main weapons in this age to keep you from becoming an advocate.
If you accept his accusations, you will not have the confidence to stand by your intercessory mandate. His accusations lead to shame, and if you harbor these accusations, shame will keep you from standing confidently before God. We need to be aware of this scheme. We often treat shame as if it were divine sorrow that comes from conviction, but the two are very different.
Conviction, repentance, and divine suffering are all designed to restore fellowship with God. Shame destroys fellowship with God because when you are gripped by shame the last thing you want to do is boldly approach the only perfect person in the cosmos.
We must accept conviction and repentance in order to regain the fellowship of intercession. However, shame and accusation should not be tolerated because they will drive you from the place of intercession.
You must fight shame and accusation in yourself, in others, and in the church. It is no small matter. These are weapons that the enemy uses to paralyze you and prevent you from exercising your authority. Fortunately, both weapons are easily destroyed by simply trusting in the blood of Jesus – which, through faith, gives us access to God. Because of what Jesus did, we can approach the Father with the same confidence that Jesus has.
The enemy’s plans are not thwarted by our own ability; they are defeated by what Jesus did. When we harbor accusations and shame, it shows a lack of trust in the blood of Jesus. Since what Jesus did will endure forever, we can trust God without fear.
The enemy tries to scare us with our own weaknesses and inadequacies, but because of the blood we can confidently walk the raging battlefield of enemy plans. A right knowledge of God will destroy every plan of the enemy and enable us to take our place with confidence.
God told Ezekiel that Daniel was one of the greatest intercessors in history. There are many reasons this was a profound statement. For example, Daniel worked for a pagan king and had no public service known to us. Three times he was told from heaven in Daniel’s book that he was “very loved” in response to his intercession. Daniel did not record these statements to make us think he was an incredible person. He recorded these statements so that we would know how God feels about us when we take our place before Him, for that trust is essential to intercession.
We are “very much loved” when we take the blood of Jesus seriously and stand before God. Accusation and shame are attacks on the knowledge of God – mere illusions designed by the enemy to keep us from fulfilling our calling.
Intercession must be based on the knowledge of God
Shame and accusation are the enemy’s main weapons against us, but misconceptions about who God is also create several barriers to intercession. For example, if we see intercession predominantly as a loud prayer trying to get God to do something He won’t do unless we force Him, then we have a misconception of intercession that is from a wrong view of God comes.
The basis of our intercession is not based on the condition of the people. People deserve the wrath of God, and God does not embarrass the reality of Hell. Hell is a place of righteousness and glorifies God. We do not intercede to “save” people from God’s judgments, as if his judgments were too extreme. His judgments are perfect. We intercede because God wants to show His glory in mercy and in judgment. The question of mercy is the question of God. The biblical intercessors understood this, and their intercessions always appealed to God’s character.
We don’t rely on people’s needs. We base it on God’s desire to show mercy. Once we realize that intercession is an act of participation in what God has ordained, it radically shapes how we intercede.
A true knowledge of God removes obstacles to intercession, so we must learn the knowledge of God. We need to know who he is so that we can trust him. There are several ways that God has revealed Himself. Above all, he revealed himself in the person of his son. We must first pursue the knowledge of God in Jesus, who is the final intercessor.
God is not a disembodied ideal or an isolated, inaccessible deity. He is a real person and he made a choice to reveal himself in a relationship. In himself he is revealed to us as the Trinity – God in communion with himself. While God’s revelation of himself in the person of Jesus is the ultimate revelation of who he is, he also reveals himself through his relationship with his people.
God explains His properties in the Bible, but most of the Bible does not consist of isolated statements about God’s properties. Stories in which God reveals His attributes through his interactions with His people occupy the greatest place in the Bible. For example, the Bible tells us that God is merciful and patient, but if our only frame of reference is human mercy, we will never really understand the nature of His mercy. However, when we read the Bible, it reveals the depths of God’s mercy. We can read God’s interactions with David who failed spectacularly but was not forsaken by God. We can read the story of the woman at the well and see how Jesus proactively offered mercy to a dishonored woman guilty of adultery.
In the same way, we may know that God heals, but when God heals us personally, our knowledge of Him as the healing God is dramatically different from describing God as a healing God. We know each other most intimately in the context of relationships, and our true character is shown in how we react in certain situations. It is the same with God.
The stories of the Bible are not primarily a history lesson. First and foremost, they are revelations of who God is. The stories of the Bible are like a canvas, and the writers are like painters who reveal God to us by telling their stories. As we read these stories, we develop ideas about who God is. Yet there are very real challenges to our understanding of the stories, for they all occur in a time that is very different from ours and in a different cultural context than ours. Also, most of us do not read these stories in the original language in which they were written; instead we read them in translated versions.
These challenges can lead us to make wrong assumptions about who God is, and these assumptions can make us easily misinterpret who He is if we do not carefully study how He relates to His creation. To shatter any plan of the enemy, we must understand the full context of God’s interactions with the great advocates of history so that we can know how we will relate to him in our time.
Where do you feel attacked in intercession and how can you overcome it?
Want more from Samuel Whitefield? His book Mercy Before Judgment: The Invitation to Intercession, from which this excerpt is taken, is available on the Forerunner Bookstore. Learn more >>
Samuel Whitefield is a preacher, teacher, and writer. He is a member of the senior leadership team at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City and a faculty member at the International House of Prayer University. He is the director of OneKing, a ministry that helps connect the global church to God’s plan for Israel and the nations. Samuel and his family share a passion for proclaiming the beauty of Jesus until he is loved and worshiped on earth as he is in heaven.