“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Rom. 8: 26-27). This is describing the normal operation of the Holy Spirit in a believer who has faith for prayer, the operation of the Holy Spirit as defined in scripture and the prophetic gift as defined in scripture. I include these qualifications because not everyone has faith to believe all scripture. It does not hinder God in His saving work, nor does it limit the love God has for His people. The Bible lays out very clearly that there are different gifts and different measures of faith among the body of Messiah. (Rom 12: 6-8). Hebrews has a compilation of great faith in action and it says these were all “commended” for their faith by God. (Heb 11: 2, 39). God wants us to rely on Him and to believe His every word, but He is patient, gentle, and longsuffering with us. Yeshua chided his disciples saying, “You of little faith…” when they failed to trust and believe God completely. (Matt. 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20). When Yeshua went to His home town we are told, “And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Matt. 13: 58). Lack of faith limits the power of God being displayed in and through us.
Prophecy is considered by some to be about foretelling the future, and in Old Testament times it was, but since Yeshua ascended to the Father that is a very small part of the practical work of the Holy Spirit’s gift. Prophecy is for the encouragement of the church. “For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.” (1 Cor. 14: 31-32).
Encouragement releases courage to respond to God in faith. Unbelievers are encouraged by the prophetic gift when their hearts are laid bare (opened/revealed) by the Holy Spirit through the gift of prophecy. (1 Cor. 14: 24-25). For a less mystical illustration, (and to discredit the Holy Spirit), we would say that an Evangelist preaching God’s word is able to touch people’s hearts and bring them to profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The prophetic gift delivers God’s specific encouragement to people in time of need. Yeshua exercised the prophetic gift when He told the Samaritan woman that she had been married to five men and the man she was with currently, was not her husband. (John 4: 18). The effect is deeper and more effective in bringing glory to God and raising up faith in the hearer/recipient. This is why scripture says to eagerly desire the gift of prophecy. (1 Cor. 14: 1).
Intercession is basically prayer for others, but it is more fervent. Daniels prayer for Israel in Babylonian captivity is a good illustration. “While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.’ ” (Daniel 9: 20-23). Some may say that it is not fair to compare an Old Testament prophet with believers today. However scriptures says, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.” (James 5: 17). Our perfect example is Yeshua. “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” (Heb. 5: 7).
It is faith in God that releases the power of God according to His will. However, as quoted above the spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. God does not force Himself on us, nor take control of us. We receive by faith and speak and act in that same faith. When I have heard what I believed to be a word of encouragement from God for someone, I try to listen to the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are free to ignore it, but quenching the Spirit is far worse than being thought a fool or even a fake. Yeshua said His sheep would hear and distinguish His voice. (John 10:16, 27; Rev. 3:20). According to scripture the Holy Spirit guides our prayers and when we submit in faith to God all things are possible. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4: 10-11).
Do you believe that God wants to bring forth effective prayer and encouragement through you? God brings a person to your mind, they may be in a difficult place. He gives you words, impressions, ideas or mental pictures of what to convey. You step out in faith and deliver the message as best and as faithfully as you can discern. The person hears and realizes through the timing, specificity of the message, and power of the message, that this is a demonstration of God’s love to them personally. I can assure you that is how a family works. Is it not so among the family of God? Nevertheless, the consequences are up to God. Our duty as intercessors and with respect to the prophetic gift is to have our Spiritual ears alert to hear and share as faithfully as possible, that which we hear. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph. 6:18).