Can I say something controversial…? Intercession is not a spiritual gift.
We tend to think of intercession in this way, but it’s not listed as a gift in any of the major lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament. Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12 all contain examples of spiritual gifts – but none of these mention intercession. Nor do any other passages in the New Testament describe prayer or intercession as a gift.
So leadership is described as a gift. Evangelism is described as a gift. Prophecy, miracles, administration and even faith are all described as gifts. But intercession is never described in this way. What does this mean?
First let’s say what it doesn’t mean. This doesn’t mean that some people do not have a greater aptitude, gifting or passion for prayer and intercession. There are many people who do enjoy prayer more than others. There are many who find it easier than others, and who seem to find words to pray more easily than others.
But it does definitely mean that prayer cannot be relegated to one particular grouping or set of individuals within the church. If you are a Christian then you are also called to intercession – the two always go together. You can’t opt out, or claim it’s not your gifting. It’s part of the work of the church that we are all called to. Intercession is not a gift – it’s a mandate to us all.
Paul writes to Timothy “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1).
So who are you praying for? If you live or work in London, or if you have a heart for seeing God work in some of the key institutions of British life, like parliament, the stock exchange, the BBC and the monarchy, I urge you to pray for London, and for those in London life who do have authority over so much of what happens in our nation.
Mark Williamson also blogs regularly for One Rock, a training organisation developing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markraynespark.