Prophetic intercession is simply praying for another person, group or situation by the direction of the Holy Spirit. This guidance comes by way of prophetic revelation—in other words, the Holy Spirit is making something known that is not comprehended by natural means. [1]

All Christians can expect to receive the Holy Spirit’s guidance to pray at certain times. Some, however, will be especially gifted in this area.

Prophetic IntercessionMy husband Malcolm and I learned the value of having a prophetic intercessor on our prayer team throughout our years of ministry in New Zealand.

During our most difficult trials, one of our personal intercessors—an elderly woman named Marge—would invariably phone us. Her opening words after greeting us would be, ‘What is going on?’ Marge always knew by the Holy Spirit when we were having our fiercest battles, and her insights and prayers were a constant encouragement to us.

The Unique Role of a Prophetic Intercessor

During the years I led the prayer department of our church, I grew to appreciate the different kinds of prayer gifts:

  • There were the prayer warriors who would pray every day, on a regular basis. Regardless of what was going on, you knew you could depend on them.
  • Some prayer partners thrived on written or emailed prayer requests—and we honoured this by keeping in regular touch with them.
  • Still others came to the fore when there was a crisis—swelling the ranks of prayer partners when called upon during an emergency.

A prophetic intercessor operates on a different kind of alert system – being directly alerted by the Holy Spirit as to when there is a need to pray.

The benefit of this is revealed during times when you are in a spiritual battle, or in a crisis where you do not have the ability to send out a general prayer request.

As a leader, I have learned not to place expectations on prophetic intercessors to operate outside of their natural gifting. The communication of prayer requests and testimonies should be seen as fuel for their gift, rather than an expectation that they will pray at a certain time or in a certain way.

Traits of a Prophetic Intercessor

I learned personally about prophetic intercession when the Holy Spirit awakened the gift in me during the 1990’s.

As with all spiritual gifts, no two prophetic intercessors will experience the leading of the Holy Spirit in the same way. Some ways that the Holy Spirit can lead a prophetic intercessor in prayer include:

1. The simple ‘knowing’ that prayer is needed at a certain time.

2. A sudden or growing burden or urge to pray.

3. Receiving insight from God through prophetic revelation such as a scripture, vision, word or feeling.

4. A sense of identification with the object of prayer—in other words feeling the needs of those being prayed for.

5. Sensing the heart of God towards the person or situation requiring prayer.

Note that both 4 And 5 may result in what seems to be an emotional response. This may either prompt the prayer, or manifest during the prayer.

As a prophetic intercessor, I  learned one key difference between my own emotions and those awakened by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of prayer. Feelings allowed by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of prayer can (and should) be released completely through intercession.

6. A prophetic intercessor may at times experience the deep ‘groanings’ of the Holy Spirit. [2] He or she understands what Paul writes about in Romans 8:26-27:

‘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.’

Important Reminders for Prophetic Intercessors

From the viewpoint of those of us who are not gifted in prophetic intercession, a prophetic intercessor that is lacking in maturity may seem ‘flaky.’ However, he or she may simply be in need of some pastoral leadership and guidance in the use of the gift.

I have discussed some strengths of prophetic intercession above. Some things a prophetic intercessor may need to be gently reminded of at times are:

1. Don’t be intimidated by others’ prayer gifts (such as those who have an ability to pray more regularly). You have a unique and precious gift from God. [3]

2. On the other hand, don’t expect all intercessors to experience prayer the way you do. Their gifts are different but just as powerful.

3. Honour the leadership and culture of your church in the public expression of your prayer. If you are experiencing a feeling or sense of direction that is different to the way the prayer meeting is being led and are unsure what to do about it, pray about it and check privately with the leader. It may be something for you to pray about personally.

4. Related to 3., remember that all prophetic revelation is subject to being weighed up. Submitting the direction of your prayer to leadership and at times needing adjustment is a vital part of your prophetic ministry. (1 Thess 5:19-22)

5. If you do experience manifestations, be aware of appropriate times and places. It is wise to save the ‘emotional’ part of releasing your gift until you can get alone with God. ‘The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.’ (1 Cor 14:32)

6. You do not need to carry an unhealthy emotional burden related to your ministry of prayer. If you are becoming weary or emotionally involved, check with a leader or have someone pray with you.

7. Prophetic intercession is a ministry of faith. We do not always know the reason for the prayer burden that the Holy Spirit gives us; neither do we always learn the outcome of our prayers. But we do know that God is faithful. And—that the greatest reward of prophetic intercession is intimacy with the Holy Spirit.


[1] The NT Greek word for revelation, apokalupsis, means ‘an uncovering,’ or ‘disclosure.’

[2] This has sometimes been called ‘travail’ and been related to birthing the purposes of God through prayer. The Apostle Paul said of the Galatians, ‘My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.’ (Gal 4:19) One way this was likely to have been expressed was in his prayers.

[3] For insights about different prayer gifts, I highly recommend Intercessors Discover Your Prayer Power, by FEMRITE, T; ALVES, E; KAUFMAN, K.  2000.  Ventura : Regal.

Related Posts:

8 tips For Personal Intercessors

How To Increase Your Prayer Support Through Personal Intercession

17 Signs You May Be a Prophetic Intercessor

© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching

Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries family

31 thoughts on “Prophetic Intercession, Its Power And Pitfalls”

  1. Greetings in JESUS NAME. I thank GOD for this page. I have been an intercessor for more than 3 years now and been operating in this calling ever since. Recently I discovered something. GOD would share certain things with me regarding people and it would be spot on. I would say a thing and would happen just like that. At one point I thought that GOD has called me as a prophet and Then again I would think that every intercessor should have this gift. Honestly I was a bit confused. I look at the other intercessors in my group and they are not like me. I would never pray or feel the urge to pray when requested to unless I feel a prompting from the HOLY SPIRIT. I’m also not one to pray long prayers. I just pray what GOD instructs then I’m done. Also when I pray I already know that it is done. At some point I thought that I was arrogant and would have to repent everytime about it. But recently I found out that there is indeed a prophetic intercessor and that they differ from the normal prophet. I have this very strong desire for prophecy as well as intercession. I delight in encouraging people. GOD instructed me many times to give people words and it has been spot on every time. I’m afraid sometimes as I feel that what if I say something and it’s not accurate. But every time ita correct. I see visions and get dreams and I hear GODS voice so clear. I need guidance. I need to know what gifting this truly is. All I know for now is this burning desire I have within me. Can u perhaps help me by shedding some light….

  2. This makes everything clear the Spirit some years ago said to me that I was a prophet intercessor I did not understand anything about it I ask my pastor if he new what that was he a prayer warrior someone that goes before in his presents and intercede . He ask me why I ask him that I told what he Holy Spirit of God said to me. He said that you go into the presents of God he lets you feel what he feel and let’s you see what he sees. He Saud God does not call to many people into that gifting . Everything I read about here it was like reading my own self. I am experiencing everything you dope about but did not understand but know I do my prayers the way people treat me being a loner at time being misunderstood. The visions the presents of God the anointing smell of perfume that is around it follows me every where I go it fills the room very sweet smelling aroma it is always with me the smell gets stronger day by day. I see things in the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit moves me to prayer there be groaning and sometimes there is crying in prayer the tongues that God gave to me are unique and powerful tongues many are afraid of it and many that hear my tongues are amazed at the many different languages that go forth and when the Holy Spirit speak a word with such power and authority I am always misunderstood. God always let me feel what he feels and see what he sees. This has given me some understand to know how powerful my prayer life so the Holy Spirit can use my vessel to intercede for people place groups countries ..etc thank you

  3. You are a blessing to me. Thank you so much for everything you have been inspired to write. I never knew how to describe what was happening inside me for along time. I took the fivefold test yesterday and started reading more on the topic. But when I found your blog, everything you say about Prophetic Intercession applies. I have cried for hours reading and am so happy to finally understand.

    Thank you <3

  4. Hello Helen, I read your blog on prophetic intercessors and it was a great help.
    I have been having dreams for years now and they come true. I did not understand the gift of prophetic intercessory until it was prophesied to me in
    the last few years. I am burdened to awake every night between the hours of
    4-6am. I have a sense of something is going to happen or occur. I have times
    where I also had visions of my spirit leaving my body. I also encounter spiritual attacks where I see spirits of darkness that try to cause me to be afraid. My daughter experiences these same things but she has visions while
    she is awake. I did not have any training but am now learning little by little. I
    feel as if I missed a lot because so many years have passed by before I was able
    to learn what is going on with me and still at times feel as if I don’t know enough. I also experience pain in areas of my body and later learn that someone that I talk to is having pain in that same area. Your blog helped me
    to understand so much. I lead in intercessory prayer at my local church now. Thanks!

  5. Hello Helen,
    I have been reading your blog over the past few months. I came across it while googling on the topic of prophetic intercession. I have been isolated in my prayer gifting for years, but sensing that the time is now for prophetic intercessors to join together. The times we are in are very intense and there is power in unity. So I have been trying to connect with others via the Internet.
    I was recently asked a question, do you see your prayers answered, when God shows you something? Well I didn’t know how to answer, because I will see major things like, tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, chemical weapon attacks, etc… When I receive these prophetic words, visions, sensations, etc… I will interceed and then see or hear what the Lord showed me on the news a few days later. My prayers did not stop the catastrophe or attack from happening, but I believe God somehow was involved. That’s why sometimes I struggle with being isolated in this gift. I wish I had others who were getting these types of messages from the Lord, so we could come into agreement and see the catastrophe or attack averted. Any encouragement on this would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
    Prophetic intercessor since 1980.

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