8 Tips For Personal Intercessors

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One of our most valued partners during the years of our missions ministry was an elderly woman called Marge.

A prophetic intercessor and prayer warrior, Marge had an accurate ability to detect when we were experiencing severe trials or spiritual warfare.

At those times, she would phone us and simply say, ‘What’s going on?’

The most memorable of those times occurred when we were on the road, doing itinerant ministry with our young family.

The knowledge of Marge’s prayer support and her sensitivity to the Holy Spirit brought us continual encouragement.

Prayer Warriors who pray for leadersLeaders rely on intercessory prayer to support them in the areas of protection, blessing, guidance and God’s anointing in their areas of ministry.

Last week I shared about how to make the most of prayer support from the leader’s perspective, and how you can take care of your relationship with your personal intercessors. [1]

Today I would like to share my heart with those of you who function as personal intercessors or prayer partners in some capacity.

Over many years, I have been a personal intercessor, the leader of an intercessory prayer team, and a receiver of intercessory prayer myself.

Here are 8 things that I have learned along the way and would like to share with you:

1. Keep Your Prayer Commitment

There are differing levels of commitment when it comes to personal intercession.

At the lowest end of the commitment scale, you may have signed up to receive a prayer newsletter from a leader or ministry that God has put on your heart.

In this case, the degree of prayer support you give is over to you.

At the highest end of the scale of commitment, you may be one of only a few intercessors or prayer partners. You may be in a close personal relationship with the leader you are praying for.

It is important that you faithfully pray, as you are able and committed.

If you receive an email, pray immediately upon receiving it, and print it out.

You can put alerts in your diary, or on your mobile phone or digital calendar to remind you to pray for specific events.

2. Embrace the way God has Wired you.

It is amazing to me how many intercessors struggle with feelings of inadequacy in their prayer gifts.

Not everyone has the same prayer style. You have a unique gift of prayer.

Some intercessors are structured and pray at regular times. Unstructured prophetic intercessors tend to pray when they perceive there is a need or sense a burden to pray from the Holy Spirit.

Other prayer warriors excel when there is a crisis or an urgent alert to pray.

All types of intercessors are valuable and needed.[2]

Don’t be afraid to be up-front about the kind of prayer commitment you bring to the table.

3. Be Light on Expectations

Remember that every leader communicates with their intercessors differently.

Do not place expectations on your leader with regard to relationship, communication, or involvement in their ministry. The least your leader will do is communicate their needs with you regularly.

Don’t expect more than this, even though some leaders are more relational and do communicate more regularly.

4. Feedback

Occasional feedback to the leader you are praying for is an important part of your role.

This doesn’t have to be a prophetic word or vision—it could be an encouraging comment or scripture, or simply a ‘praying for you’ note. By communicating regularly with your leader, you are indicating that your ongoing interest and prayers are still in place.

Even the smallest feedback can be a great encouragement.

5. Prophetic Insights

Any prophetic insights you bring to your leader are most welcome and have the potential to be a great blessing when they are timely and encouraging.

Remember that your prophetic words and pictures are subject to being weighed up. (1 Cor 14:29, 1 Thess 5:20-21) Don’t place any expectations on prophetic submissions being responded to or acted upon. This is especially important to remember if you are an intercessor in a church.

6. Confidentiality

Treat all communication from your leader as confidential, even when the material appears to be common knowledge. Take great care to retain trust in this area.

7. Be Part of a Church Community

Personal intercession is a private ministry. I know, because there have been countless times that I have prayed alone, pacing a room or on my knees as the Spirit has burdened me to pray for a leader.

I also know that if it were not for my involvement in church life, I would not be where I am today.

The ministry of intercession may be hidden, but it is vital that we engage in a church community and have accountability and leadership in our spiritual gifts.

Involvement is more than just attendance. It means helping to serve in the church, being under leadership, and being part of the church prayer community.

There are no ‘lone rangers’ in the body of Christ. We are a body, with different parts and different gifts and we need each other (1 Cor 12)

8. Take Time out.

Personal intercession can be hard work and intercessors (depending on the relationship) can carry a great burden of care.

When our intercessory team carried one of our pastors in prayer during long weeks of life-threatening surgery, I was very aware of their labour in prayer and the emotional nature of their concern.

As the one coordinating the prayer effort, I became very tired, and eventually realised that I needed to hand the organisational responsibility over to someone else.

Do not feel that you have to be on prayer duty 24/7. As with any ministry, put some boundaries around your time and energy.

If you feel that you no longer carry a burden from God to pray, don’t be afraid to be honest and to step out from the prayer commitment.

You will be greatly relieved when you do—and the leader will respect your decision.

You are not indispensable. God is faithful, and will provide others to step into your place.


[1] See the post, ‘How To Increase Your Prayer Support Through Personal Intercession’

[2] A book on this topic that greatly blessed our prayer department is entitled Intercessors Discover Your Prayer Power, by FEMRITE, T; ALVES, E; KAUFMAN, K.  2000.  Ventura : Regal.

Do you have any experiences or questions to share on this topic? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.

Related Posts:

17 Signs You May Be A Prophetic Intercessor

© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog

On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church

34 thoughts on “8 Tips For Personal Intercessors

  1. Christine

    Helen, thank you so much for this post! It was so on time! I am a young, prophetic intercessor and sometimes I’m not sure if I’m trying to be super prayer woman or if it really is Holy Spirit prompting. The steps you gave confirmed everything I’ve been feeling and really gave some understanding to this awesome gift. And the leader I’ve been personally praying for, confirmed I was on track. Glory to God. I’m learning every day and your blogs really help. Thank you sister 🙂

  2. Helen Calder Post author

    Hi Christine, it’s wonderful to hear from you and I’m so glad my blog has been a blessing to you. I too am a prophetic intercessor and the thoughts I have shared in this post have come from my own journey.
    I pray that you continue to grow into the unique and powerfully gifted person Father has created you to be. I pray that you continue also to experience ever-increasing intimacy with Holy Spirit and healthy, growth-building relationships in your church life too.
    Be blessed today!

  3. Shelly

    I stumbled across your blog and this posting yesterday evening, and I am SO encouraged!! It would seem I don’t have anyone to talk to about this subject around here. I have read Wagner’s book, Prayer Shield on personal intercession. I grabbed it a couple of years ago as I was trying to understand this journey I have been on. I needed some encouragement and needed to know so many things that he wrote and the sentiments you put here as well. (many of them very similar) I have longed for someone to just relate to and ask questions to though. I have been (I guess) a prophetic personal intercessor for near 4 years now, and this journey has led me down sometimes intense spiritual warfare. I have only prayed on a regular basis for one leader. I would love to ask you some specific questions if you don’t mind, but I’m not sure I want to post them on a public blog. Would that be okay?

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Shelly, great to hear from you! The journey of personal intercession can be an intense and sometimes lonely one, I do understand!
      Yes, I would be happy to answer some questions by email, if you can allow me a few days to get back to you.

    2. Carolyn

      I sometimes have this strong feeling
      in the pit of my stomach ; that something is about to happen. But I just can’t put my finger on what it may be . And then later it appears. Is this the time that I need to pray ?

  4. Shirley Scroggins

    I am so glad I came across this on intercession, Helen I was told my God that he had called me to stand in the gap, and I recieved that and have been doing it for 20yrs, but my question is this, there are times when I don’t feel very fruitful at all, at times I don’t even feel like praying at all, can you please tell me why these feelings come aboout, I know what God has spoken to me, so why do I feel like anything but an intercessor, he uses me as a prp[hetic intercessor when I pray and lay hands on people, for many years I have had these questions and still no satifactory answer yet, may you can give me some insight on this, I know he hears and answer my prayers.

    Shirley Scroggins

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Shirley, I don’t know whether there is any particular blockage you are experiencing (you could review this article and the ones in that series http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/10/18/11-signs-that-your-prophetic-gift-is-being-held-back/

      But apart from that, be assured that the feelings and experiences you mentioned are common to all of us in our various gifts and ministries, and certainly that is true of intercession.

      The feelings of being dry, distant or ineffective are a part of our walk of faith, the faith that takes God at His Word and keeps on keeping on. Elijah comes to mind, he sure had some highs and lows!

      If you have been ministering in personal intercession for 20 years, Shirley, that is an awesome contribution to Father’s work in the lives of people. Sometimes it can be hard for us because we don’t always know the answers to our prayers and also may not receive thanks from those we pray for, but rest assured that the fruit you have laboured for is beyond that which you could imagine. May you be richly blessed as you continue in your journey.

      1. Shirley Scroggins

        thank you so much for the encouragement, I am sure you know also it is not easy to talk to everybody, becuse some just don’t understand, so it is good to find those that understand what you go through, I never doublted God or his calling, it just seems like sometime I asked myself did I miss God on somethings, but I know he is working in my life in spite of me, may God continue to use you and bless you as you help and bless others.

  5. Jane

    Hello Helen,
    Thank you for your excellent blog, which I have just discovered. Please could I ask you a question about accountability? I am a prophetic intercessor, and I am also involved in prayer ministry. I have a good relationship with my church leaders and I am accountable to them. I am also involved in different ministries that involve churches coming together, and I feel a growing call to support leaders in prayer. I sometimes hear things from people in prayer ministry, and also I hear things from the Lord in intercession, that I think I need to share with someone and get advice / another perspective on. Some of these things have some pretty major repercussions, e.g, adultery. Because of confidentiality, I feel really stuck sometimes as to whether or not I should be seeking advice or sharing things with anyone. Within my own church, it is clear that I can go to my church leader, but if it is another ministry, or churches together, I’m not always sure who to talk to. I have had some good prophetic training, and I know not everything God gives me needs to be shared, but as God is growing me in authority, I find I need extra wisdom. Do I need a mentor of some sort to guide me through some of these challenges? It is a great privilege to be trusted with things, but I am aware of the responsibility to handle things with sensitivity and wisdom.
    Thanks, Jane

  6. Helen Calder Post author

    Hi Jane,
    What a wonderful ministry.
    It does sound as though you would personally be helped by having someone wise to bounce things off. You don’t need to mention names or disclose confidential information when you are sharing, as it’s primarily for your own benefit.
    Intercession and prayer ministry can be a lonely journey at times, and we need to be intentional about community and sharing.
    Don’t rush into finding someone, though – pray about it and wait for God to show you the right person. It may be a good idea to check in with your church leaders about this specific need, they may be able to give you some guidance or even point you to someone who could help.
    May you be richly blessed in your journey.

  7. Jane

    Thank you, Helen, for your insights. Sorry I didn’t reply straight away – things got busy! I do have a couple of people I sometimes bounce things off, and I especially find it useful to sometimes talk to someone who is outside of situations I am praying for. I just don’t have any kind of formal mentoring in place. I will pray about the next step and talk to my church leader too.
    Thanks again. Jane

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      That sounds great, Jane. 🙂
      I pray that you continue to be empowered, and that when people can’t help on specific issues, that you will be enriched in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

  8. stephani

    Hello, my name is Jacqueline. I am 16 and i just recently began this journey as an intercessor. The thing is in my church the Pastor or our Prophet tells us when or what gift we have or will receive according to the Holy Spirit but our church has recently been going through some tough times. With our Prophet becoming distant toward the church and our Pastor being falsely accused of stealing a car. I received word from God by way of my Pastor as to what my gift was but he did not have much experience as to what someone with my gift does and well i guess i just wanted to know what i can expect to happen with my gift and what i should do to preserve it. as well as ask if you can help understand the different types of intercessors if there are types.
    Thank you, Jacqueline

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Jacqueline, it’s great to hear from you. 🙂
      Yes each of us can have a unique prayer gift, the main reason it is helpful to know that there are different types, is because we can then appreciate our own gift and not feel we have to try and measure up or be like someone else.
      I mention some different types of intercessors on this article: http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/07/12/how-to-increase-your-prayer-support-through-personal-intercession/
      If you still want more information about types, I mention a book in the notes above (I see it’s available as an eBook on iTunes, and may be available other places as well)

      The main thing is to relax and enjoy the process of your personal relationship with God and your prayer times. Gifts are a journey of discovery, and it’s ok not to be clear about it all at once.

  9. EA

    I’ve had this gift for awhile (intercessory prayer) but it was for family and friends). Recently it was for someone I don’t know and I was groaning in prayer and fasting and hearing God and getting pictures. I literally now know what it means in scripture “When Zion prevailed then she brought forth her children.” Now that part is over, but it’s not finished this prayer. I wonder if the annointing is still on me for the second part. I wish I had some other intercessors to connect with so I could better understand what is happening to me. I feel alone. I wonder if I just have to learn it by myself.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Yes I have had the same experiences of travail in the Spirit, and also know what it is to journey alone. You can trust Father to bring people around you at the times He appoints, and in the interim to lead you by His Spirit. You can also run the general gist of what God is saying past leaders, to confirm your prayer direction (even if they don’t relate to the manifestations and prophetic side, which you don’t have to go into depth of sharing about)

  10. RCKW

    we are apostles and prophets of the most high God needing prayer cover 24 hours a day, our families all god ordained lineage, spiritual linkages, finances, accomodation, marriage plans, children (to be whole and complete due to age) blessers, blessings, open doors no one can shut, mm/bb, new assignments, to be permanently removed from mouths, mind, altars of our enemies

  11. Justline

    Hi,thanks for the advice.i am an interseccer and sometimes I sleep well and sometime not at all like tonight.please why is this happen,does that mean I have to stay in prayer all night.for example I read my bible,pray in the spirit and listen to some worship music.but i am not feelling to sleep.what must I do?

  12. Chappell Mosely

    Grace and Peace be unto you! I’m a Servant of the Lord, which happens to be a Prophetic Intercessor. I love all of the information you provided, I can tell that all of your information is from your personal experience. One thing I come to understand is that Prophetic Intercessors are selfless individuals. The burden on my heart is to help other people birth their gifts through prayer. I find that a lot of Christians don’t fully understand who they are in terms of their spiritual gifts. My personal experience was being in the presence of God wanting to communicate to him and allowing the Holy Spirit to take over to speak, sing, or move me anyway He please.

    People hear me pray and they want what they hear and love the technique but the first thing I try to teach them is the hunger and desire has to be there. Do you have any advise on how I can go about this? I’ve done it on a one on one basis but I’m a Vice-President of a low income community and they have given me permission to conduct bible studies. Today I’m teaching my favorite subject which is “prayer”! I’ll start off with The Lord’s Prayer and explain it. Then explain the different types of prayers. This will be about a seven week series. Hopefully, it will stir them enough to take it to the next level of travailing and worshipping in prayer. I see myself as a Mid-Wife spiritually.

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Chappell, what a great opportunity to minister in the area of the Bible studies!
      Your question about how to lead people to hunger and desire – yes you can teach them technique and give them information about prayer, but the hunger and desire must be for God Himself, demonstrate a personal relationship with Jesus, your own hunger for Him will stir it in others.
      Here is an article about stirring up hunger for God:

  13. Amanda

    Hi Helen. Thank you for your amazing blog! It has helped me a lot over the years:)
    I am a prophetic intercessor also and I’m heavily involved in all aspects of prayer in my church. I have just been appointed head of one of those departments and have started to feel uneasy about how the church is running things now that I am privy to more inside information plus the ‘office politics’ I’m now around. I am now really struggling with praying for new endeavours the church wants to take on as I don’t agree with them (I can’t see Christ in them). When I pray in the spirit with a group I skirt around the desired prayer request and find it harder and harder to pray for them.
    Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.
    Much blessings
    Amanda x

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hello Amanda, oooh yes I do understand and have some thoughts. Heading to bed right now so will get back to you tomorrow on this.
      🙂 Helen

      1. Helen Calder Post author

        Hi Amanda,
        here are some of my thoughts and some principles I’ve found.
        You are in a very significant time in your ministry, having received leadership responsibility. This makes you a target for the enemy and the main thing he will try to do is separate you in your heart from your leadership, to weaken your prayer and that of others around you.
        So guarding your heart above all else (Prov 4:23) in this area is vital.

        I know what it is like to get close to leadership, and being on team, and learning all the weaknesses and ‘politics’ and having prayer responsibility. I have been where you are. It’s not easy.

        There is a decision that you have to make, and that is one to respect the decisions and leadership direction your oversight makes. (Of course this doesn’t apply if they are doing something that is immoral or illegal or clearly unbiblical…and I’m assuming this is not the case here).

        I tell all intercessors that God will allow these situations to come up time and time again, because He is allowing our hearts to be tested.

        My suggestion is to identify those things you are struggling with, release the church leaders from any negative judgments (opinions) you have formed, and pray in the opposite spirit concerning those new endeavours, pray blessing, pray favour, and so on. Because the reality is, if you continue to go down the track of disagreement, it will become harder and eventually disqualify you from the ministry of intercession.

        This may seem really difficult, I encourage you to pray about it, try it, and give it a go.
        I cover a lot of this situation in my book, ‘Prophetic People in a Changing Church’ It’s a testimony about my journey in this very area. Let me know if you would like a copy, Amanda, and I’ll happily email it to you for free.

        1. Amanda

          Hi Helen, thank you so much for your response and wisdom. I will be putting it all into practice and would definitely love that book sent to me too please, I love your books!:)
          Blessings, Amanda

  14. Dale Cupo

    Thank you for all this insightful information, putting words and definition to what i have experienced and acknowledgement of our unique expression of the Holy Spirit!

  15. Donna White

    I am a intercessor and love our post would love to learn how to interceed more effective hit the target

  16. Pamela Johnson

    Ive just been told I have a gift of intercession.Ive also seen the word prophesy.I just want to kuow how to handle this.I am also in need of some healing.I believe I am to have a prayer group.I think I know two of the people who will be in it .Some instruction from someone who knows about these thing would help.

  17. Vicki Johnson

    Since our Father passed away I am told by significant people that I am the spiritual leader of the family. Does that make reason for being a intercessory prayer on behalf of the family?

  18. Jan Chislett

    I realised that I had this gifting about 25/30 yeas ago and was encouraged to develop it through
    our bible study groups.
    I have been asked to leave two churches through misunderstanding of this gift but the Lord led to me to a lovely church where I was nurtured and encouraged to use my gifting of intercession and prophecy. At one time I was part of the Lydia Christian Fellowship in London.
    Then 20 years ago we moved area and we have been in our local free church ever since where I am allowed to prophecy and give out words of knowledge, although my Pastor does not really understand how prolifically I can converse with the Holy Spirit. I also co-ordinate the monthly prayer requests list,
    Now that I am in my eighties with grand chldren and great grandchildren, I want to serve the community where we live and our church using my gifts but I am a little fearful of any misunderstanding. My husband also does not understand fully but he says if we are thrown out again, that will be it.
    Will you please guide me as how to do this? Should I have a meeting with our Pastor and the Elders or do I pray for the Lord to do it?
    God bless

  19. Evg Juliet Udeh

    Hi brethren, I am blessed with this powerful words of wisdom. To lead and direct believers who have burning desires to be used more by the Holy Spirit to edify the body of Christ. I pray that I will grow prophetically and will be able to intercede for the nation by His special grace through this medium. I will be committed towards this and will need direction by the Holy Spirt who is a great teacher. Remain steadfast in the work of God through Christ Jesus Amen.

  20. Beth

    I am much more needed as a prayer warrior at work. I have a long list of people at the grocery store I work at that I intercede for everyday, & give them a Bible verse. This is where I am needed right now. Thanks for your guidance. Love in Christ , Beth

  21. Servant

    Hi, im an prophetic intercessor and my first time i was used, i was fasting 2 days and was getting intimate and sensitive in the spirit lord had me start praying for the sick and miracles and healings were taking place.
    It was a church service and worship was going on. I felt in the spirit a floating feeling and then like a push and i went up to front and with a boldness in my spirit. (im usually a shy person)
    Well i said stop the music and started to boldly speak in the holy ghost and interpret. The leader came to me and told me to sit down. The other intercessor asked me why didnt i finish that God was not yet speaking. I told her i was told to sit down, and began to weep with a burden. The leader preached and it was a confirmation of what God had begin to say in the holy ghost through me. After service i went to the leader and asked him did i do something wrong? He said that it was God and for me to keep seeking God. I said why did u stop me and he said ,u were getting to close to visitors . That was a sunday

    The following week wed im 5 we were about to have communion we were in praise and worship again. And i felt God wanting to speak, the atmosphere changed and i began to speak and the leader told me to sit down. So i humbly did. And began to cry with a burden
    He then said if God was gonna use anyone to speak to his sheep it would be him. He then started pointing peoples sins. He came to me and told me i had a zeal for the supernatural he finishes pointing sins, then he says time to repent before communion . So then he says speak to us God and i hear in my spirit -i tried you didnt let me. And we did communion and that was that.

    After that i heard the leader had told his 5fo ministers that it was a personal word for me not the church. And i got heart broken and ran off.
    Now im in a new church and i feel that my gift is not being believed . At first my leader said when i have a word to let him know, but then today i spoke to him about a bible study and how the holy ghost was all over this woman and she almost got the holy ghost and wants to get baptized sunday. And he was dry told me to pray for grace with my boldness. But when i began to hear him my joy left me and i felt confused and disappointment and a warning spirit of jelousy came over me. Like my prev leader made me feel. When i hung up the phone i felt defeated. Until i prayed it out then the presence of God and joy came back. How do i handle that? What does that mean?
    Is God allowing me to discern the leaders struggles in the spirit? I prayed for my pastor in burden immediately. I have noone to talk to so thank u in advanced for help.

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