God is calling people into the five-fold ministry, but He is calling EVERYONE to be an intercessor — to pray for people. This is a ministry that every Christian can have.
He is raising up a group of intercessors — men and women who will be mighty in prayer, as today, a man might move in the gifts of healing, or the gift of miracles. We will look at the life of Samuel as we talk about an interceding prayer and praying the prayer of faith.
ROMANS 12:3 tells us plainly that “GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH.” That measure of faith will receive a deliverance for you, but that same faith, when it is applied to the area of prayer, can reach out beyond the place where you are and grab hold of that man or woman, boy or girl, problem or circumstance, or whatever it is that you need. The intercessor can jump across the boundary lines.
There is a wall between East and West Germany, but that wall can’t stop prayer. They can put up fences, they can put up walls, they can do anything, but prayer can circle the globe. It goes straight to heaven first and then circles the globe.
Samuel was a man of faith. You must know faith to be an intercessor and to receive the answers to your prayers. Traditional religion today prays all the time. If just prayer by itself would do it, the whole world would be saved. But that’s not what does it. It’s the prayer of faith. It’s the intercessor who believes that God hears and answers prayer, that God is going to honor.
I believe that we need to come to the place where we will not do any praying unless we are going to do some believing with it. Otherwise, we are doing some pretending. We are trying to make people think we are pious because we pray a lot. It’s only the prayer of faith that does it. An interceding faith will be an intercessory prayer that is prayed in faith knowing that God hears and answers prayers.
An Interceding Faith Is to Help Liberate
The Scripture text is I SAMUEL 7:1-14. Look at verse 3, “AND SAMUEL SPAKE UNTO ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, SAYING, IF YE DO RETURN UNTO THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEARTS, THEN PUT AWAY THE STRANGE GODS AND ASHTAROTH FROM AMONG YOU, AND PREPARE YOUR HEARTS UNTO THE LORD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY: AND HE WILL DELIVER YOU OUT OF THE HAND OF THE PHILISTINES.”
Today we need interceding faith and intercessory prayer that will liberate people in captivity and bondage of the Devil. The Philistines always represent the world or the world’s system, or the evil one, or the Devil, or the wrong side. Today you and I have brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and friends who need to be liberated. They need somebody who can pray the prayer of faith and be a channel for God to move through and reach them. God needs someone who will intercede in faith, believing, so He can flow through their prayer and reach that person, and liberate them from the powers of darkness; break that dope-hold upon that boy or girl; break that drinking spirit upon that man; set that man or woman free; bring that man and woman back into the bonds of marriage; break the hold of the Devil that has confusion, fear, and frustration upon the younger generation today.
I SAMUEL 7:3 says, “HE WILL DELIVER YOU OUT OF THE HAND OF THE PHILISTINES.” We all can have the ministry of interceding for others. If you want to be an intercessor, you need to learn faith, because God only answers the prayer of faith. If He answered just prayer, wouldn’t all of you have your relatives saved? Wouldn’t you have everybody healed? He doesn’t answer just prayer. He answers the prayer of a person who believes that God is going to respond and answer that prayer. Samuel said, “HE WILL DELIVER YOU.” Samuel knew the power of prayer. Samuel had an interceding faith. Samuel was an intercessor, and he said if they would do those things, God would liberate them.
When I think about prayer, I remember all the years I was out in the world serving the Devil. I never had anyone knock on my door and tell me about Jesus. We have some friends, Tom and Billie. Tom always prayed for me. When my wife called them about eleven years ago and told them I had surrendered to the ministry, Tom said, “Well, that doesn’t surprise me.” Tom was praying, believing. I thank God for Tom. I don’t know of anyone else who was praying for me, but thank God for Tom! I imagine a lot of people were probably praying for me to get out of town! But Tom was praying for me to come to Jesus. That’s the only prayer that God is really going to hear.
Don’t pray for them to quit this and quit that. Pray them to Jesus and then Jesus will tell them to quit and then they will be able to quit. But if you’re not careful, you’re praying for them to stop doing this and stop doing that and it’s a selfish prayer. It might be good; they need to stop it, but you just pray them to Jesus and let Jesus go to work on them. He’s the only over hauler I know who can do a perfect job. He’s the only one I know of whom no one can argue with or debate with.
So first of all, an interceding faith is to help liberate those who are in captivity of the Devil: spiritually, physically, mentally, and materially.
An Interceding Faith Keeps One Near God
Now, Samuel spoke to the people of Israel, and here’s what he told them in the third verse. “AND SAMUEL SPAKE UNTO ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, SAYING, IF YE DO RETURN…” Samuel said, “IF YE DO RETURN.” That meant Samuel was near God. He didn’t say, “IF WE DO RETURN.” “IF YE DO RETURN UNTO THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEARTS…” An interceding faith, an intercessor, must remain near God. You must be in communion and fellowship with God so you will be in tune. If you have to spend your time getting back to the place of prayer, getting back to that right relationship with God, the Devil might snatch them out of the world while you’re trying to get back.
He said, “THEN PUT AWAY THE STRANGE GODS AND PREPARE YOUR HEARTS UNTO THE LORD…” You better have your heart prepared when you’re telling somebody else to prepare theirs. These people believed Samuel. Why? Because Samuel was in contact with God. Samuel’s life so identified with God, that when he spoke, they looked at Samuel’s life and knew he knew what he was talking about. An intercessor must remain in a right relationship with God, so that when he prays, he is in tune. I’m challenging you to be an intercessor, to help liberate people through prayer. Distance doesn’t make any difference. Prayer travels all distances. To be an intercessor, you are going to have to remain near God yourself. You are going to have to be willing to put aside, or put on, take off, or do whatever God leads you to do so you can walk in harmony with the Spirit of God so that you will be in tune with God.
I have seen times in my life when God would speak to me to pray for someone and I didn’t know how to pray for them, but oh, I had a Holy Spirit language and I could speak in tongues and intercede for them. He says many times you don’t know how to pray, but you pray in moaning’s and groaning’s. Many times, you don’t know how to pray for someone, but you need to intercede for them in the Spirit. Whenever you are going through the day or week and God brings someone to your mind, and doesn’t tell you what to do about them, pray in the Spirit for them. That brother or sister may be in trouble and you will begin to intercede and God will hear you. God has all of us for intercessors.
Many times, their names will come through our minds and we will say, “I thought about you.” Do more than think about them. Know that somehow or another they need a liberating force. Maybe something is not upon them but it’s about to come upon them. God is wanting you to be praying and lifting them up.
Every individual does some interceding, but God will have some that He will put this upon their hearts, to be intercessors. You may not be able to do a lot of things others can do, but you can intercede. You may not be able to speak publicly; you may not be able to sing beautifully; but you can pray.
An Interceding Faith Encourages Others to Seek God
The life of a person who has interceding faith will encourage others. Samuel walked in that right relationship with God and when he told the people what to do, his life encouraged them, because in 7:4 it says, they DID put them away. If Samuel had been living like the Devil, and had been participating, it would have been a lot different. But, an interceding faith lives a life and remains near God to such an extent that their life encourages others to obey God. Also, their life encourages others to seek God.
In 7:6, they gathered together and called a fast. Samuel had something there. You may say that Samuel was a prophet of God. Yes, he was a prophet of God, but he was also an intercessor. All of us have other ministries, but all should be intercessors for those who need to be set free from the captivity of the enemy.
Then he led them to confess in 7:6: “AND THEY GATHERED TOGETHER TO MIZPAH, AND DREW WATER, AND POURED IT OUT BEFORE THE LORD, AND FASTED ON THAT DAY, AND SAID THERE, WE HAVE SINNED AGAINST THE LORD.” Dear Christian friends, you might do something wrong that hurts a brother or sister, but it’s always against the Lord. ALL sin is against the Lord. Samuel desired to see these people liberated from the captivity of the Philistines. He remained in a relationship with God, so that he could reach God. He could contact God. And because of his life, he encouraged these other people to put away their false gods. He encouraged them to gather together to fast and pray and seek God. He encouraged them to confess and say that they had sinned. When you and I begin to pray the intercessory prayer and use that interceding faith, we’re going to see these things happening more than we ever have before. It is not just praying; it is praying in faith that counts. He answers the prayer of faith.
An Interceding Faith Is Always Challenged
Samuel spoke to the people and told them to put away their gods, to seek God, and to confess. When they did this, the Bible says in 7:7 that, “THE PHILISTINES GATHERED AGAINST THEM. WHEN THE PHILISTINES HEARD THAT THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AT MIZPAH, THE LORDS OF THE PHILISTINES WENT UP AGAINST ISRAEL. AND WHEN THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL HEARD IT, THEY WERE AFRAID OF THE PHILISTINES.” All right, if you have purposed in your heart that you are going to be an intercessor, that you are going to function in an interceding faith, and you are going to reach God for people, you will have to realize that you are going to be challenged. Here’s what happens when you purpose in your heart that you’re going to pray for someone: the Devil will come against them and they will get worse. You will be afraid that God didn’t hear you when you prayed. The Devil will begin to work on your senses to defeat you. Samuel had encouraged these people. He had challenged these people. They accepted the encouragement. They accepted the challenge. They fasted. They began to seek God, and immediately the Devil went into operation by bringing the Philistines up there. He lined them up so they could see the Philistines with their eyes to cause fear, frustration, and confusion.
Whenever you begin to move with God and begin to seek and pray for your own personal needs, the needs of your family, and the needs of those around you, the Devil is going to bring things against your senses and try to stop you and make you think that God hasn’t heard you. Just like when you want to get your healing, the Devil tries to stop you. Just like when you want to receive financial prosperity, the Devil tries to stop you. You know how it is when you pray for a son or daughter to come to the Lord and many times they get worse. If you’re not careful and they get worse, you will open your mouth and say, “Oh, God didn’t hear me.”
The Devil attacks you through your senses. But you will have to remember that every prayer will be challenged. The Devil is not going to turn anybody loose without a challenge. Remember this now: the only one who can stop your prayers from being answered is you. The Devil is not strong enough to stop your prayers, if you will hold on to God’s Word. He says, “WHAT THINGS SOEVER YE DESIRE, WHEN YE PRAY, BELIEVE THAT YE HAVE RECEIVED THEM, AND YE SHALL HAVE THEM” (MARK 11:24). You see, you get it when you pray, but the problem is holding until you get it. The Devil is no problem to God at all, and he doesn’t have to be a problem to you.
An Interceding Faith Knows How to Pray Believing
I SAMUEL 7:8-9 tells us that Samuel prayed specifically and directly. You need to know how to pray. JOHN 16:23 says, “AND IN THAT DAY YE SHALL ASK ME NOTHING. VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME, HE WILL GIVE IT YOU.” I know many times people pray, “Oh God,” or “Dear Lord.” This is good when you want to talk to Him, but when you want to receive an answer, you do it like He says to do it. Ask the Father in the Name of Jesus as JOHN 16:23 says to do. In JOHN 15 it says, “THAT IF MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU AND YOU ABIDE IN ME, YE SHALL RECEIVE WHATEVER YOU ASK FOR.” You have to get that Word of God abiding in you.
If God wants you to be an intercessor, then you need to study the Scriptures about prayer. You need to get some books about prayer and write down the Scriptures they give. Get books about people who pray in faith — not people who just pray. Go to those who get answers to their prayers. I have found that if I want to learn to pray, I go to people who are praying and getting answers. Then I take what they say and line it up with the Word of God, and if it lines up with the Word of God, I take it.
JOHN 16:23 tells us how to pray believing. It says, “WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME, HE WILL GIVE IT YOU.”
I JOHN 5:14-15 says, “AND THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE IN HIM, THAT, IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARETH US: AND IF WE KNOW THAT HE HEARS US, WHATSOEVER WE ASK, WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE THE PETITIONS THAT WE DESIRED OF HIM.” What is His will?
The Bible. Just read it in the Bible, find out what His will is, and you can pray according to that. If you find a Scripture and God says you can have it, then say, “Father, in the Name of Jesus, Your will, Your Word, Your last testimony says that I can have this. Your Word says WHATSOEVER I DESIRE. Your Word says ALL THINGS ARE MINE. Your Word says I CAN DO ALL THINGS. Your Word says YOU WILL PROVIDE ALL MY NEEDS ACCORDING TO YOUR RICHES IN GLORY.” Whenever you pray according to the will of God and you know how to pray, you know how to resist the Devil when he attacks you through your senses; then you hold fast, and YOUR ANSWERS WILL BE MANIFESTED.
Samuel knew that when he prayed, God heard him. I SAMUEL 7:9 says, “AND THE LORD HEARD HIM.” Many people are praying today, but God is not hearing. God only hears and answers the prayer of faith. He says that if you know He hears you, then you will have the petition that you asked for.
Pray specifically. The Devil is a legalist. Pray for exactly what the Bible says you can have, and ask for it on the basis of the Scripture, and God will honor His Word. Let’s not ever forget the integrity of the Word of God. Whatever God says you can have, you can have it. Whatever God says you can do, you can do it.
The greatest need in the church today is for God’s people to believe they are what God says they are. God spoke to Gideon through the angel and said, “Gideon, thou mighty man of valor.” Gideon looked around and said, “Who?!” Today, the Bible says that you and I are the salt of the earth. He doesn’t say the intellectuals are. He doesn’t say the rich man is. He says that the Christian is the salt of the earth. He says that you and I are the light of the world. He says that you and I have received the fullness of God in JOHN 1:16. He says in ROMANS 8:17 that you and I are heirs with Jesus Christ.
Samuel believed that God heard him when he prayed, and if you believe that God hears you when you pray, you will ask Him for something specifically. But, if you don’t know if He’s going to answer you or not, you’ll act as you do when you’re asking a person for something and you don’t know whether they’re going to give it to you or not. It’s like your little boy or girl wants to go somewhere, and they will beat around the bush, and talk a little dab here and talk a little dab there, and after a while they will pop the question to you because they don’t know if it’s the right question. Many Christians try to do God this way. They talk a little bit here and see if God kind of tickles their feelings a little bit, and they will know if that’s what He wants them to pray for. Take time out. Search the Scriptures. Find out what God says, then you can go before Him and be specific and say, “Father, Your Word says in a certain chapter and in a certain verse that I can do this.” You don’t have to beat around the bush then. So many Christians in intercessory prayer won’t take the time to study the Word. They want the short-cut method. I just don’t pray until I know how to pray. The Bible is His last testimony. He left it for us and He will never change His Word. His Word is true.
An Interceding Faith Knows How to Pray Believing
In the ninth verse it says that the Lord heard Samuel. God is sitting in the glories of heaven desiring to hear the prayers of His people. He wants to answer your prayers and my prayers more than we desire to have them answered. God’s people, however, are not willing to stay in the Word and learn the faith principle, to learn the faith teachings, to learn how to pray, so that when they pray, the Lord hears them. Getting answers is good. It’s good to get the manifestation of your answer, but the best part of all is to know that God has heard you. I thank God for the house He has given us, but the best part of it is to know that I prayed and God heard me and gave me a house. I had a pain in my body. I prayed, and God took the pain out. That is where the glory is. The glory isn’t in the answer, but in knowing that the Lord hears you when you pray. God very plainly says that He will hear you when you pray.
An interceding faith prays, and the Lord hears it.
Many Christians are looking for a feeling. They’re looking for some little sign. Feelings and signs will build your senses; they will not build your faith. The only way you build your faith is through the Word of God. Feelings will build your faith in feelings. A little ripple up your spine will build your faith in the little ripple up your spine that God heard you, but you need to come to the place where you believe God has heard you just because God says so in His Word. He hears His people when they pray THE PRAYER OF FAITH.
An Interceding Faith Knows How to Pray Believing
Here they were, they had been in captivity, in bondage. Samuel came before them and said, “Listen folks, if you will get right, if you will straighten up, if you will get rid of all your old false gods, if you will confess your sins and get right with God, I will pray for you.” Samuel knew there wasn’t a bit of use to pray until they were willing to get right with God, because Samuel knew that God wouldn’t move until they got right. The people did; they obeyed him. His life inspired them. They were sick and tired of captivity. Samuel told them what to do. Samuel knew how to pray.
Samuel got God’s ear, then he received the manifested answer in the seventh chapter, verses 10-11. “AND AS SAMUEL WAS OFFERING UP THE BURNT OFFERING, THE PHILISTINES DREW NEAR TO BATTLE AGAINST ISRAEL: BUT THE LORD THUNDERED WITH A GREAT THUNDER ON THAT DAY UPON THE PHILISTINES AND DISCOMFITED THEM: AND THEY WERE SMITTEN BEFORE ISRAEL.” It says He thundered with a great thunder on that day, because He had heard His man pray. “AND THE MEN OF ISRAEL WENT OUT OF MIZPAH, AND PURSUED THE PHILISTINES, AND SMOTE THEM, UNTIL THEY CAME UNDER BETH-CAR.” Verses 13-14: “SO THE PHILISTINES WERE SUBDUED, AND THEY CAME NO MORE INTO THE COAST OF ISRAEL: AND THE HAND OF THE LORD WAS AGAINST THE PHILISTINES ALL THE DAYS OF SAMUEL. AND THE CITIES WHICH THE PHILISTINES HAD TAKEN FROM ISRAEL WERE RESTORED TO ISRAEL, FROM EKRON UNTO GATH; AND THE COASTS THEREOF DID ISRAEL DELIVER OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE PHILISTINES. AND THERE WAS PEACE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE AMORITES.” When you pray the intercessory prayer for yourself or for someone else and God hears and answers it, He will deliver you out of the hands of the enemy. He will set you free — spiritually, physically, mentally, materially, or whatever the need — there will be a manifested answer.
Now, this answer came quickly, but you will have to be willing to hold fast until your answer gets here. Most people, because of the sin of impatience, do not get their answers. They pray for it today and they wanted it yesterday. If God doesn’t give it to them that day, or two or three days or weeks later, they get all impatient and upset. When you pray the prayer of faith, you receive your answer then, and you leave the time up to God. You just praise Him and wait until it comes.
Abraham got a son. He waited 25 years. He had the son whenever God told him he had it. Whenever you pray, you have the answer then. Forget about time. Forget about it. Don’t try to pressure God. He answers you when you pray, but the manifestation of it will come when God gets ready to bring it, because a lot of times God knows you need to wait a while. You need to get a little more endurance and patience in you. You need a little more pride worked out of you. While you’re holding fast for God to bring that answer in, He will work on you.
You ladies who are praying for your husbands, wonder sometimes why he isn’t saved already? God has to get some things worked out of you before He can bring them in. Men, you wonder why your sons and daughters aren’t saved already? God has to get something out of you before He can bring them on in. Oh, we want to blame it on God. He says He answers the prayer of faith. There needs to be an inner searching, an inner seeking. God is never at fault. God is never in error. God never makes a mistake. God is pure and perfect, so therefore we must come back and look at ourselves. If I don’t get my answer, it’s because Elbert Willis missed God. If you don’t get yours, it’s because YOU missed God. If you will stay on His Word, you shall get it; because God says He answers the prayer of faith.
Don’t you dare act like you want to call God a liar — by your words and actions. “Brother Willis, I wouldn’t do that.” No, but you will go along with all the “buts,” “ifs,” and “ands.” You don’t fool Him. You spend a lot of time trying to tell God things. “God, don’t You know that I’ve been doing this? God, I’ve been fasting two weeks for this thing. Don’t you know that, Lord? God, I’ve been reading my Bible and studying it for two months now, seeking You about this thing.” He already knows that.
An Interceding Faith Gives God the Glory
Verse 12 — “THEN SAMUEL TOOK A STONE AND SET IT BETWEEN MIZPAH AND SHEN, AND CALLED THE NAME OF IT EBENEZER, SAYING, HITHERTO HATH THE LORD HELPED US.” The word Ebenezer means God hath done it. Whenever you get a prayer answered, you know God hath done it. This is what we all must remember. God is the one who answers the prayer of faith. You’re wasting your time trying to twist His arm. You’re wasting your time trying to use that old self-pity on Him. There’s only one way to get an answer from God, and that’s to do it His way. He is the most one-way person there is. It’s His way — or else.
This old nature in man wants to try to do it some other way. He wants it
This way, but God is the one who does it and it has to meet conditions, then God will do it. This is why it’s not happening today. It’s not God’s fault that His power is not being manifested today. It’s not God’s fault that He is not reaching more people today. He has always manifested His glory THROUGH His people. He is looking for a people today who will be intercessors — who will have an interceding faith.
Let’s look at the points again: An interceding faith is to help liberate those in captivity. We need to be praying for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. If we are not careful, when we get the light, we will forget about where we once were. Sometimes I’ll say something about the Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, or the Lutherans, and the Lord reminds me of where I came from. I thank the Lord for where I am, with no pride about it, because it’s all done through the grace of God.
I thank God that God has given us light. It is beautiful that we are seeing God’s power move today. It’s beautiful that God has called us out, but let’s not forget what God has called us out to do, and that’s to walk with God so that others might be liberated. Today, many of God’s people are in captivity. God wants to set His people free.
Also, an interceding faith must remain near God. Samuel was in that right relationship with God. God spoke to him to tell the people they were just giving him a token of their hearts, that they were just playing church with Him, that they were just trying to bribe Him. And because Samuel’s life was in right relationship with God, his life encouraged them to obey God, and they put away their gods; they sought Him and they gathered and they fasted; they confessed they had sinned against God. When they did this, the enemy challenged them with fear.
The enemy will always challenge you on everything you pray for. Why does he do this? Because he know that when you learn how to pray the prayer of faith, you will be whipping him all the time, so he tries to get you before you learn how. He tries to keep you from learning that you can have an interceding faith. He tries to keep you from knowing that you CAN pray and God will hear you and answer your prayers.