Home Columnist Intercession: Most powerful weapon in church, how to explore it by John Abiola

Intercession: Most powerful weapon in church, how to explore it by John Abiola

by Church Times

” … It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” ( Romans 8:34). And also, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”.(Hebrew 7:25).



Intercession is the greatest, and most powerful ministry on earth, most wanted and sought out for by God but most neglected and despised by many believers in Christ.

Intercession is the highest ministry of the Church. This was the ministry of our Lord Jesus when He was here on earth and even right now at the Father’s throne, He Intercedes day and night for the needs of the Church. One of such Intercessions is for the evangelization of the world.

Jesus’s command to the church, leaders, and Christians in general:

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest is truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest”( Mathew 9:36,37,38).

 Since the birth of the Church in Jerusalem over 2000 years ago, Jesus has been calling the Church into this special ministry of intercession as evident in the above scripture.

Jesus Christ is the greatest Intercessor and also His Intercessors on earth are God’s generals, engine room, the powerhouse of the Church and the Earth. God places them to stand in the gap against the devil and his hosts. They are involved in Intercessions for the Church and for the salvation of the unreached world.


Basically,there are three sets of intercessors: 

The first set is believers who pray generally for a period of time, as the spirit leads. They are not called into the office of an Intercessor, they operate on the general believers’ mandate to Intercede for their churches, pastors, spiritual, political leaders, un-saved people, nations, etc.

 In obedience to the commands of God to all believers in Christ as seen in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, “I exhort therefore that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men; for Kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour”.

 This is one of the greatest commands that must be obeyed by all Christians and church leaders. When you obey this command you will have a part in the highest form of Christian service on earth.

 Part-time intercessors

The second set is believers who are Part-time Intercessors.

They are believers who are called into this ministry part-time, they have the privilege of carrying out secular jobs and also participate in this ministry. They can be led to hold Intercessory conferences, seminars and meetings to enlighten the church on Intercession and raise Intercessors.

Full-time intercessors

The third set is believers who are specifically called into full-time ministry of intercession for special assignments: They are mostly prophets and prophetesses. They are prophetic intercessors. They are also trained in the art of spiritual warfare and gifted in Intercessions in the closet, 24/7.

Hence, they pray and fast, night and day with sighs, tears, sweat, and groaning for hours daily, for specific purposes given to them by God.

They pray for a local or universal church, villages, towns, cities, nations, continents, and planet earth, to dethrone satanic strongholds, governments, and powers of darkness, and to usher in revival, deliverance, Gospel advance, etc.  

God exempts them from anything that can distract them such as running a church, business or getting involved in church activities and programmes.

These restrictions are measures to enable them to be in the presence of God and as well on the battlefield against satanic powers, forces, institutions,  strongholds at all times…

They can also be led by God to publish articles, books, hold Intercessory conferences to raise, build and equip the church of the ministry of Intercession. But primarily, they are held bound with burdens in their prayer closets.

The value of intercessors

Without intercessors, the world will remain closed to the advancement of the gospel, the entrance of missionaries and harvest of souls into the kingdom of God will not come to effect. There will be no outpouring of the Holy Spirit and revival fire upon our churches and the nations.

 Sadly in this generation, full-time intercessors are in short supply. There are several reasons for the shortage but majorly It is due to the high cost such as loneliness, hardships, hunger, persecutions, pain, rejection, etc.

In Africa, especially in Nigeria, the ministry of full-time intercessors is yet to be known. So there is no support from the church. However, it is important that pastors begin to educate their members about the unique roles of Intercessors and Intercessions and also include them in the Bible School curriculum.


The cost of being an intercessor

The cost of being a full-time Intercessor is really very high.

Personally, I have faced challenges right from the onset of my ministry of intercession for revival in Nigeria and other nations for 26 years now. At some point, God said, “I did not call you to run a church, no church activities nor programmes, no business, no part-time ministry.

Your prayer ministry is in the closet, 24/7 ”  Several times after fasting, there would be no food to end the fast. However, the burden of prayer for revival in churches, leaders, missionaries, and salvation of lost souls in Nigeria and other nations has been so heavy in my heart that it drives me on my knees weeping for hours. My Intercessory team and I received several attacks from the devil, sometimes, on our health.

Sometimes ago, I remember two pastors came to me asking about my ministry of Intercession. I told them that I was called into the prophetic ministry of intercession with a vision and deep burning in my heart to pray for revival in the closet.

Then one retorted, “it is the exact ministry God gave me many years ago but I can not pay the price so I became a pastor and I am well to do now but not satisfied.” The second pastor said similar things though they are well to do but not happy.

I strongly believe there are many more servants of God who are called into the ministry of Intercession as full-time ministers but as a result of challenges like this, many abandon this calling and cross over to the pastoral ministry.

The devil has prevailed over many children of God, churches, and pastors by distorting their sight from recognizing the unique role of full-time Intercessors, which results in, many churches, preachers have been captured by Satan, polluted, and are yet to find solutions to their problems.

Many great men and women of God have lost their lives, ministries have fallen into the devil’s deception, they have become worldly because the principles of God and the foundation of the Church have been violated.

However, if there are no intercessors, no church can stand. If at all any church exists without intercession, she will be corrupt and spiritually down, fruitless, loveless, carnal and worldly. If there are no intercessors there will be no saved soul, nations will remain closed to the advancement of the gospel.

In this generation, full-time Intercessors must be discovered and supported prayerfully and financially.

A friend once took me to a big building. On getting there, he narrated how a great evangelist being used by God in the 80’s formerly owned the building. However, years later, this great man ended his ministry when he stopped supporting and giving to Intercessors, who unknown to him were responsible for his ministry’s progress.

This evangelist once explained: “The greatest mistake I’ve made in life was to stop giving to those Intercessors who were praying for my ministry. He still lives however, he truncated his ministry when he decided to retain what he should have given to those Intercessors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote.”There was a case of a great man of God whose ministry suddenly became low. He was an evangelist who won many converts through his ministry but suddenly, converts were no longer answering the altar call after his ministries.

Thinking of possible personal causes of failure in ministry at that time, he headed straight to God in prayer. There at the throne room, he saw a vision of an aged woman who was once a backbench member of his church while she was on earth.

God told him that his power house had been called home to glory. Suddenly he realized that this woman, though unknown on earth was a general in the spirit. She was a stick of dynamite beneath the great fruits and success of this great evangelist

God and intercessors

Froukje Eibrink Jansen wrote that it is time for the Intercessors to be placed in their right position.

Whenever God wants to do a work, the intercessors must first be put in their place at the entrances, just as King David did.

In the body of Christ, this is done by the Holy Spirit who works through the prophets and teachers, some of whom may be apostles, as we see in Acts 13. Notice this begins with prayer.

It is important to remember that the prophetic intercessor must be available to God, 24 hours per day and so it is not wise to be involved in any other ministries in the church unless God specifically says so.

Years ago I met such an intercessor, a sister from the United States. She told us that God had told her to be 24 hours per day available to Him, to be called up to pray. She was also a wife and mother. She told us that she had a friend living in town, and this friend had prepared a room for her.

Whenever she was in town, doing her shopping and this burden to pray would come upon her, she would go to the house of her friend. She had a key to go inside and she would go to her prayer room and pray until the burden lifted and she had prayed through.

I also know about a prophetic intercessor in Capetown, South Africa. Not many people had ever met him personally, but the Lord told him to pray for the ministry and specifically for pastors and leaders.

Many pastors and leaders would phone him when they were in need and he would write down their names and bring them before the Lord. Sometimes the Lord would speak to him and when the person he was praying for phoned him again, he would give them what the Lord had told him. His name and phone number were passed on from leader to leader. When I first heard about him he was in his eighties.

Since I have been in Holland, I have met two such intercessors. I recognized them in the Spirit. They pray most of the time at home behind closed doors. Both of them I noticed have a close intimate relationship with the Lord.

You could feel the Lord’s Presence when being with them. They are both praying for the church in Holland and I hope they will still see the answers to their prayers. Simeon saw the answers to his prayers when they brought baby Jesus to the temple.

Time for intercessors to take their place

I am convinced that there are many such intercessors hidden everywhere. The Lord sees them and they are very precious to Him.

To them, praying is a way of life. They find it difficult to believe that others do not feel the same way about praying as they do.

Although these intercessors pray in their prayer closets, I do not believe they should go without being properly placed. I believe the time has come now for those prophetic intercessors to be recognized and take their rightful place in the end-time Church, just as they did in the Tabernacle of David.

We need to respect them and support them so that they can do what God has called them to do. This does not mean expecting them to struggle to pray and serve while we do not take care of them.

Yes, this ministry is a full-time ministry just as the gatekeeper’s ministry was for the Tabernacle of David. When Nehemiah restored the “ordinance of David” in Jerusalem, the gatekeepers /porters were fed from the storerooms, so that they could spend all their time and energy to fulfill the task which was given to them.


David Brainerd

Mathew Skariah wrote in his book, Talk Less And Pray More, of how a great sweeping revival broke out in India in answer to fervent prayers of David Brainerd,

“Brainerd was one of the greatest Intercessors. He said, “I cared not where or how I lived or what hardships I went through; so that I could but gain souls to Christ” Unfortunately Brainerd was one of the greatest Intercessors of all time.

“I longed to live for God and to be altogether devoted to Him, I wanted to wear out my life in His service and for His glory,” wrote David Brainerd on his 24th birthday.

He spent many hours in prayer and fasting for the salvation of the North American Indians whom he loved so dearly. He was a humble and consecrated servant of the Lord and he suffered gladly for the expansion of God’s kingdom.

His personal diary is filled with efforts in prayers and agony of the soul. “I wrote, ‘follow after holiness, that I may be fully conformed to God’ -I longed after holiness, humility, and meekness. My soul was concerned, not so much for souls as such, but rather for Christ’s kingdom, that it might appear in the world that God might be known to be God in the whole earth”.

On another occasion, he wrote, “I was unable to wrestle with God by prayer in a more affectionate, fervent, humble, intense and importunate manner than I have for many months past.

“Nothing seemed too hard for God to perform, nothing too great for me to hope from him. I had for many months entirely lost all hope of being made instrumental of doing any special service for God in the world, it has appeared entirely impossible that one should be employed for God. But at this time, God was pleased to revive this hope”.

He often felt weak in his body and already had signs of tuberculosis. Sometimes, he lacked nourishing food. He had to send someone 10 or 15 miles for bread and it became mould or sour before he could eat it.

Yet, “I felt contented with my circumstances and sweetly resigned to God” was his reaction to this. “I blessed God as much for my more, sent circumstances as if I had been a king”.

Brainerd was not a weakling, he was a fine young scholar from Yale University. He was a giant in faith and prayer, he had many offers to become the pastor of several churches where living conditions would have been more pleasant and comfortable but he chose to continue his work among the Indians whom he loved and served so well.

“O I longed to fill up the remaining moments all for God’s,” he wrote.

Nothing was more precious to him than his dear Saviour. He was mighty with God because he was mighty in prayer. Yes, true intercession is no picnic; ‘it is the agony of the soul’. It is a great task that takes great endurance, it is toiling with God day and night.

He wrote further, “I believe the ministry of intercession is perhaps the most unwanted and neglected ministries of all. It is a service unnoticed by many, belittled by some, chosen by few.

“The reason is that it has no glamour or recognition. Aside, it is not a profitable ministry to be engaged in because intercession calls for stillness, pain, suffering, hunger, disruptiveness, and agony.

“It is taxing and toiling with God for others. But whoever answers the call of God to the ministry of intercession can have the glorious assurance that they have a place at the very heart of all service/ministry.

Ruth Elton: Intercede all the time

Ruth Elton wrote me, “Intercession is to be done all the time”.

I recall one of the letters I received from the great  British missionary in Nigeria, Ruth Elton, the only daughter of Pa S.G Elton.

She wrote, “Dear brother Abiola, This is just a short word of thanks to you for the work that you are doing. Our Lord, King Jesus is coming soon, He is ready but He can not come yet because we, his servants on earth have not completed the preparation for the coming. Our Lord said that the gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the entire world, all nations before the culmination… we are now in that great work.

In Africa, there are still many tribes of which there is no one to stand before the throne. In Nigeria, there are tribes, many villages, where there is no church, no gospel preached, no citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven… There is still much work to be done.

For those of us who are at the task, thanks so much for your prayers, and please intercede that God will send more labourers for the harvest is great. God bless you, your family, and your partners as you take up the prayer ministry, for the work is to be done at all times. The King is coming and we all will move together into God’s Kingdom”.

Revival through intercession

Pastor J. Ahamadu shared his testimony with me of how a great revival broke out in his village, Nigeria through Intercession.

“The village has been under the governing power of the devil since its inception. It is a village where evil reigns supreme. Ancestral and idol worship was the type of religion in this village. This implies that there was no single saved soul there. In addition to ancestral and idol worship were witchcraft and Islamic practices.

I began to intercede for the salvation of souls in this village in March 1998. Things remained the same until I met John Abiola, the visioner of Nigeria’s global Intercessors late last year, who started intercessory prayers with his team for the breaking and redemption of this village.

Today, I thank God Almighty who answers the prayers of Intercessors. He has swept my village with the wind of salvation. 70% of the people in my village have become saved and there are churches in this village now.


Attributes of an Intercessor:


  1. Can be called the backbone of the church.


  1. God’s assets on earth.


  1. Such a person is desperately devoted to intercession and prays with joy even under severe pressure, or while being denied basic necessities of life.


  1. A saint with a big heart, constantly prays day and night to bring God’s agenda to pass in the nations and churches, as well as in the life of people.


  1. A pioneer of revival through persevering prayer.


  1.  Fire brand, vigorous and filled with divine foresight.


  1.  God’s secret king maker in the nations and cities, achieves this through secret prayers in closet.


  1. God’s Army general, oversees the affairs of the body of Christ in the world. Instrument in dethroning evil leaders and also installing righteous leaders in the nations of the world on knees.


  1. Strong and steadfast; travails in tears for the special burdens the Holy Spirit drops for urgent action.


  1. Holds the keys to heavenly intervention or interruption.


How great revivals broke out in many churches in the Western region:

 “A pious man in the Western part of his state was suffering from consumption. He was a poor man, and was ill for years. An unconverted merchant in the place who had a kind heart used to send him now and then some things for his comfort, or for his family. He felt grateful for the kindness but could make no return, as he wanted to go at length; he determined that the best return he could make would be to pray for the man’s salvation.

So, he began to pray, and his soul kindled and he got hold of God. No revival was taking place there, but by and by, to the astonishment of everybody, this merchant came right out on the Lord’s side and the fire kindled all over the place, a powerful revival followed and multitudes were converted.

This poor man lingered in this condition of weakness for several years. After his death, I visited the place and his widow put into my hands his diary.

It read, ‘I am acquainted with about thirty ministers and churches, I went on to set apart certain hours in the day and week to pray for each of these ministers and churches, and also certain seasons for praying for different dates, such facts as these: Today I have been enabled to offer what I call the prayer of faith for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church and I trust in God there will soon be a revival there.’ Under another date he had written; “I have today been able to offer what I call the prayer of faith for the church and I trust there will soon be a revival there”.

Thus, he had gone over a great number of churches, recording the fact that he had prayed for them in faith, that revival might soon prevail among them, and it did.

She told me that he was so exercised in prayer during his sickness, that she often feared he would pray himself to death. The revival was exceedingly great and powerful in the entire region and the fact that it was about to prevail had not been hidden from this servant of the Lord. According to His word, the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him (Psalm 25:14).

Thus this man, too feeble in body to go out of his house, was yet more useful to the world and the church of God than all the heartless men in the country.

He stood between God and the desolation of Zion, pouring out his heart in believing prayer, as a prince he had power with God and with men and prevailed (Gen. 32:38). (Extracts from the book “The Man God Uses” by Osward J. Smith).


God needs more Intercessors and supporters now

 Where are the Intercessors who are not bound by their church denominations, doctrines, and walls, who will stand in the gap to represent the body of Christ in warfare prayers and Intercession daily for hours with fasting until righteousness rules their nations?

 Where is that person who would labour earnestly in intercession for the persecuted church, salvation of millions of souls that are perishing daily without a ray of hope?

Where are the selfless and righteous Intercessors that would forsake all the comfort of this world and have trials, persecution, loneliness, and hardships, retire to secret prayers in closets, just to prepare the church (Bride) for the imminent coming of Jesus Christ for the rapture?

Where are the Intercessors and churches that will pray and pray until God releases great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and revival power, repentance, righteousness, and holiness to our churches and nations?

Where are the godly servants and faithful ministers and brethren who would go at any length to help and support with their substance those in need, in fulfilling their ministry,

God is on the lookout for more Intercessors that will forsake all to intercede for more missionaries and for the fruitfulness of the labour of those that are already in their fields.

Will you answer God’s call today?


John Abiola.



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