I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved – Habakkuk 2:1
For thus the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and, and I am set in my ward whole nights. The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? – Isaiah 21:6, 8, 11
In continuation of the Part 1 of this series, the Scriptures above establish the fact that the intercessor is a Kingdom steward who will be accountable for his prayer labour over lives and territories. It is important that we identify our watchtower like Habakkuk – “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower…” (Habakkuk 2:1a). Isaiah expressed his thus, “… and I am set in my ward whole nights” (Isaiah 21:8). The intercessor, we are told will answer for his assignment – “… and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved”, says Habakkuk. The prophet Isaiah was also asked about his period of watching – “… Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?”
What a privilege it is to be entrusted by heaven with the task of presenting men’s cases before the Judge of the whole earth. It is an assignment that we are not to take lightly. God enlists intercessors in various ways to take charge of diverse gates of human endeavours, and they will be held responsible for what happens in such spheres. Below are some of the ways by which God prompts His men to intercession.
Love: God enlists men and women for the work of intercession by placing His exceptional love in their hearts towards an individual or region. Paul puts this thus, “The love of Christ constrains us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14a). This love is unlike normal human love; it is compelling and constraining towards a cause of action for the welfare of the individual or region interceded for. It was this love that made Christ forgive and intercede for His persecutors and killers while on the cross (Luke 23:34). Stephen forgave his persecutors and killers and prayed for their forgiveness at the point of death when he was being stoned to death. He did that because the love of God was in his heart (Acts 7:59-60). It was this same love that compelled Abraham to intercede for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah irrespective of the strife between Abraham’s and Lot’s herdsmen; and the wickedness of those cities – Genesis 18:23-33. Despite the rebelliousness of the children of Israel against Moses and God, Moses still interceded for them by love and was ready to risk the removal of his name from God’s book (Exodus 32:11-14, 32). How have you expressed the love of God to a dying world? You may not have the resources to assist the brother or sister in dire need, but have you thought of showing him or her love by intercession? Do you misapply or abuse the love of God placed in your heart towards that individual?
Revelation or Knowledge: God also prompts men to intercede by revelation or a deep insight or knowledge about an individual or situation which is not easily discerned or known by others. In this instance, one sees situations through the eyes of God. God reveals the challenge of an individual or a family requiring intercession to the intercessor who takes it up in prayer. Such was the case of Abraham and the angels who were on their way to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord had to reveal His plan of destroying those cities to Abraham. That revelation prompted Abraham to intercede for the cities (Genesis 18:21-33). Daniel was prompted to intercede for the Jews’ deliverance from captivity through the knowledge acquired from studying the prophecy of Jeremiah – “In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the LORD God, to seek by prayers and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 11:2-3). Sometimes God reveals certain things to us about a brother or sister or even a people so that we can stand in the gap for them. We may or may not need to tell them what we saw about them depending on how we’re led, but we’re for sure to take it up in prayer. Such issues revealed by God are not just for discussion, but for intercession. It is a privilege for God to entrust us with secrets about a situation He wants us to handle in the place of prayer (Psalm 25:14). And we must not treat it lightly. Do not eat and drink away the revelation; do not water it down by too much analysis, but make the most of it in prayer.
Burdens – Another way by which God prompts men to intercede is by placing on their hearts, burdens concerning a situation requiring prayer. Such burdens are released in the place of intercession. It could be for a time, or for a lifetime. Burdens could be for an individual, a situation, a nation, or a generation. Nehemiah carried a burden for the nation of Israel which made him lose interest in the beautiful palace life in Shushan. He lost joy as a result of the burden for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which was reflected in his service at the palace: “Wherefore the king said unto me, why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid” (Nehemiah 2:2). The Apostle Paul carried the same burden for Israel when he declared, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:1-3). When God placed an intercessory burden on you, how did you handle it? Did you pray it through, or you slacked until it was transferred to a more obedient servant of God? Burdens can fizzle out if not well appropriated in prayer. Therefore, there is a need to maximize them when given.
In conclusion, God’s prompting unto intercession is not limited to the aforementioned, and the above can be interwoven; but the principal factor in all is love. With the increasing challenges in our world, God still seeks men and women who will take on the devil in prayer, salvage the lives of men and women held in Satan’s stronghold and recover lost grounds. And this, we will account for, as stewards of God’s grace. We will account for the way we responded to the promptings of the Spirit towards intercession, how we handled the burden of the Lord, and how faithfully we discharged our intercessory mandate. Be blessed!