Intercessory Prayer
By Frank Hilton • ©Word-Spirit • All Rights Reserved.

In my last article; The Battlefield of the Mind, I focused on why the greatest spiritual warfare we engage in will be within our own mind. For, if we cannot successfully bind the strongholds of our own mind; then pulling down other peoples strongholds will be much more difficult. Now, in this study, we are going to look at how we can add powerful intercessory prayer to spiritual warfare, and how to pull down principalities, powers, high places and strongholds.

To understand this study, the first thing we have to discuss is the different levels of prayer within the church or individual. Not all praying is the same and what we need to know is that to get the results the Lord wants; we have to use the right “tool” of prayer. Here are the different levels of prayer…

  • Ritualistic Prayer: I only mention this to show you that prayer out of ritualistic duty or vain repetition will not work in any capacity… basically a person is wasting their time.
  • Personal Prayer: This is your personal daily praying to interact with the Lord. Supplication, requests, repentance and praying for everything and everyone in general is used here. However, this kind of prayer is not really “spiritual warfare – intercessory prayer.”
  • General Intercessory Prayer: When a person enters general intercessory prayer; they feel the need that they are praying for. Often times weeping can occur which may or may not lead to prevailing intercessory prayer (below). This kind of general intercessory prayer can be done by anyone.
  • Prevailing Intercessory Prayer: This prayer can be done by anyone who “feels” the need or picks up a burden from the Lord. Typically a true burden from the Lord is laid on an individual and they will weep heavily in travailing prayer. These prayers can last well over an hour if needs be. Most individuals can engage in spiritual warfare when they enter “prevailing intercessory prayer.”
  • Called Intercessory Prayer: A “Called” intercessor is someone who God gives a gift (or burden) of intercessory prayer. This “calling” is only for those whom the Lord calls to do it. This type of person doesn’t pray their own requests; but, God lays a burden on them to pray for the body or He uses them to engage is spiritual warfare. We often refer to these types of people as true prayer warriors, and they often suffer for their gift and burdens they pray.

The two levels of prayer I mentioned above (Personal & General) can be prayed by anyone. Those levels of prayer are for daily praying, needs and making requests to God. These two levels of prayer usually cannot be used in spiritual warfare because a person doesn’t really enter into a struggle with any principalities. A person can feel their own burden for someone or some situation and may even shed tears doing it, but not actually be in warfare mode. These levels of prayer take care of most personal needs, soul winning and fellowship with God. However, sometimes a person may have a personal issue that they don’t know what to pray. It is in these times a burden from God or a very deep push in the Spirit, will bring them from general prayer to “Prevailing Prayer” (next section).

As discussed above, when a person moves from general prayer to “prevailing prayer” they have entered into a spirit-led prayer. Prevailing prayer is a prayer that the Spirit of God fuels. It can be a heavy burden, or it can be an unknown spiritual or personal prayer. The Apostle Paul states it like this…

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom 8:26)

When a person has a need, stronghold or principality that needs Gods help, their prayer becomes a spirit-led intercessory prayer. Groaning’s in prayer often entails a heavy burden and travail. The person doing the prayer will weep very hard; it’s kind of like a mother giving birth. A person may pray in the spirit for things he doesn’t really know he needs. They weep, talk in tongues and cry out to God to help him. Often, this time of sanctification is dealing with a person’s own personal stronghold or weakness. So, it is through this intercessory prayer where things are bound.

It is also in this realm of travailing intercessory prayer that true “spiritual warfare” begins. In this realm it is possible to actually pray against principalities, powers, high places and strongholds. This prevailing prayer can be used by anyone who can yield to the prompting of God. However, spiritual prayer is not for the faint in heart. Prevailing prayer can be heart-wrenching, hard and long (even hours)… but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds!!!

Most people operate in general prayer; and some can enter into prevailing prayer. However, there is a realm of prayer that only a few get to work in; and that is the gift of being a “Called Intercessor.” In scripture, the one person that sticks out as a called intercessor was Jeremiah, who was also known as the weeping prophet.

Somebody that is a “called intercessor” is given a direct burden of God. This prayer warrior mostly prays what God lays on their heart. They are considered the prayer watchmen of the congregation. They pray against principalities that hinder the church. They pray in the realm of spiritual warfare all the time and they often do not pray like everyone else. They often can see demonic things approaching before the people of God do. The sole purpose of a called intercessor is to bind devils for individuals, churches, cities and countries.

To engage in spiritual warfare, a person or group of prayer warrior’s mush enter into the realm of “Prevailing Prayer” or as a “Called Intercessor.” Since few are called intercessors, we mostly want to key on the prevailing prayer that all of us can get into.

We cannot fight spiritual warfare if we are carnal, or are just praying general prayers. Spiritual warfare praying MUST be led by the Spirit of God for it to work. When a person or group of people is praying with a burden from God, travailing prayer becomes the fuel to attacking a situation or stronghold. When praying in the Spirit, it is actually God who is supplying the prayer that is needed to bind devils.

Often times, praying against spiritual strongholds or impossible situations will require fasting. Jesus said, some things only come by prayer and fasting. Fasting, along with spirit-led praying is the most powerful type of praying.

The key to intercessory prayer is the travail part of the actual prayer. Giving birth to revival or victory over strongholds will cause emotional, spiritual and even physical pain. When a person travails with strong weeping, something moves in the spirit world. It’s not so much the weeping and pain that is productive, it is the Spirit of God praying the prayer that is needed to pull down strongholds.

The apostle Paul mentions travail several times in his writings. Travail was an integral part of the apostolic ministry. It helped start churches, formed Christ in believers, conquered spiritual forces. In Isaiah 53, it was the travail of Jesus’ soul that satisfied the Lord.

Travail is like the bombs used in war. It’s similar to a wrecking ball that tears down walls. Travail is a source of power that can reach around the world to a needed missionary surrounded by devils.


Engaging in spiritual warfare can be a hit-or-miss prayer. To be successful at it, you must be specific in what you are trying to bind. It will take spiritual maturity and spiritual sensitivity to know what to pray; maybe even the gift of Knowledge or Discerning of devils.

When you seek God to be used in spiritual warfare, you have to be sensitive enough to know what to pray. God may have you pray for a demonic stronghold over your church or city. He may have you pray against witchcraft. You never under estimate the spiritual forces that are in high places.

When praying against principalies, powers, high places and strongholds, you also have to ask God to open the minds of the people affected by the spiritual force overshadowing them. In doing so, you are asking God to take off the blinders that is keeping people from the knowledge of God. This is important, because it is through the teaching of the gospel that people aquire the proper knowledge and therefore can be saved properly.

Spiritual travailing prayer and sowing the seed of the gospel is what breaks the chains in individual lives and entire cities. Without this focused prayer and the sowing of the gospel, gathering a harvest will be difficult or even non-productive. The only way God can give an increase is if we sow and weep over the seed.

Travailing – Prevailing Prayer is work. And it doesn’t always happen the first time you pray. It may take 3 or 4 anointed prayers; or it can even take years if you are trying to have a breakthrough in a city for a brand new church. Fighting against spiritual forces will require dedication and a hunger to see God bring victory. No matter the battle, if you make up your mind to fight to the end, God will bring VICTORY!

There is no way I can cover all the aspects of prevailing prayer; it’s too deep. However, I have given you the basics to understand where you can go in spiritual warfare.

Every person or church has to understand, that without apostolic travailing prayer being used in its full capacity, dry services will be the normal spiritual atmosphere. Sure, God’s presence will come and touch people’s lives to help them stay saved. However, to have a true revival and harvest of souls, with true deliverance, and the demonstrations of power… the individual or church has to nurture an apostolic prayer ministry of travailing prayer warriors.

The best thing an individual or church can do to nurture prevailing prayer, is to stop doing the things that do not produce spiritual results. Church activities or dry sermons CANNOT replace anointed prevailing prayer. As a matter of fact, if a church stops catering to the “spiritless” endeavors, they will then have the spiritual energy to actually travail in prayer.

Spiritual warfare is in fact “SPIRITUAL.” We have to fight spiritual with spiritual. We do not fight with words of man’s wisdom. We don’t engage in spiritual warfare using carnal means. Programs or food just won’t get people saved!

Oh, that God could find people who are willing to stand in the gap and engage in spiritual warfare… it really is exciting to see God break through on our enemies!

READ NEXT: Casting Out Devils

He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (Act 19:2-6)
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