The Difference Between Prayer and Intercession
Have you ever wondered about the difference between “prayer” and “intercession”? Are they the same thing? And if prayer and intercession two totally different things, what on earth makes the difference?
If you have wondered about these things, this article is for you.
Prayer and intercession do have a lot in common, and they often overlap one another. However, they are not exactly the same thing.
To help people understand this, I use a Venn diagram showing the attributes of prayer and intercession.
Prayer and intercession each have their own characteristics, and some of those attributes and characteristics overlap and apply to both concepts. However, there are two noteworthy differences between prayer and intercession:
- Prayer is talking to God about anything; but
- Intercession is talking to Him about someone else or something else, other than yourself.
Talking with God in simple conversation, in worship, in praise, and even in pouring your heart out to Him is a necessary and vital part of Christian life. But intercession goes beyond that:
- to a place of being willing to carry God’s heart for someone else;
- to a place of being willing to sacrifice your time, your energy, your fastings, and your passionate cries to God all for someone else.
The purest and truest intercession brings you to a place of being willing to lay down parts of your life (or maybe even all of it, as Jesus did for us) so that God’s Kingdom can come and His will can be done in someone else’s life … just like it is in Heaven.
Additionally, simple prayer can be peaceful, mild, calm, and relaxed. But truly releasing God’s heart on the earth through intercession will almost always carry the Holy Spirit’s raw power and holy furor with it.
Intercession is spiritually forceful.
The actual definition of intercession in the Hebrew (Biblical) language is “to impinge, by accident or violence or by importunity.”* According to Dictionary.com, “impinge” means “To make an impression; have an effect or impact; to encroach; infringe; strike; dash; collide; come into violent contact with.”
So intercession brings you into such violent contact with the heart, the will, and the Word of God that it forces Him to make an impression on the person or situation you’re interceding for.
In everyday lingo, “intercession” means:
- You collide with God violently until His will is released on the earth.
- You stand in the gap as a priest between heaven and earth, saying as Jesus taught us, “Our Father who is in Heaven … Your Kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!”
- And you continue “impinging” or making spiritually-violent contact with God until you see God move on the earth as you know He desires to move, according to His written Word, the Bible.
(Note: Intercession will also often compel you to act and actually become the solution to the problem about which you’re praying … but that’s another article for another day.)
You should also know this about the governing power of intercession:
In ancient times, “intercession” was actually a legal term that meant “to intervene with a veto.” It was something that governments did; a governing council met and made a decision about this thing or that thing, and whatever they said became the law (or struck down the old law).
The name of that governing body was the ekklesia.
And today, my friend, YOU are part of the ekklesia. You have governing power through intercession. Whether you’re the highest elected official in the land or an elderly grandparent sitting at home in your prayer chair with your Bible, YOU can govern through intercession. Your prayers of intercession can cause God to raise up kings and bring them down. Your prayers of intercession can cause God to raise up laws and bring them down. Your intercession can change the course, future history, and destiny of nations.
Prayer is simple conversation, and prayer is essential too. But intercession takes the power of conversation with God and “hits” up against Him until His will is enforced on the earth.
Do you want this? Do you want God to use you as an intercessor?
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross to intercede for me and save my life. Thank You that Jesus now ever lives to make intercession for me.
Father God, I ask right now in Jesus’ name that You would also make me an intercessor after Your own heart, just like Jesus is. Help me to intercede with power. Teach me to pray and intercede like You want me to, and let my prayers be filled with the holy furor and fire of the Holy Ghost.
Thank You, Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
Are you willing to let God the Holy Spirit turn you into an intercessor? If so, leave a comment below!
*Hebrew definition: Strong’s word #6293: “paga /paw-gah/; to impinge, by accident or violence or by importunity.”
Jamie Rohrbaugh equips people to walk in the manifest presence of God. She blogs for a global readership at FromHisPresence.com, where she writes about prayer, the prophetic word, living supernaturally, inner healing, and Kingdom wealth. Her writing is featured on YouVersion, Charisma Magazine, The Elijah List, Spirit Fuel, and various other ministry outlets. Her podcast, Take Your Territory with Jamie Rohrbaugh, can be found on iTunes and Spotify. Download her FREE ebook, Praying the Names of God: 555 Biblical Names of God and How To Use Them In Prayer and Worship, here.
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