5 Reasons Why I Believe in PAID Intercessors
Yes, you read that right.
Now before I expound upon this post’s subject matter, allow me to expound first upon my views on prayer and intercession in general.
1) All Christians are required to pray.
2) All Christians are required to pray 24/7.
We should always maintain an attitude and spirit of prayer as well as pray formally, in our understanding and in the spirit/tongues, whenever we can (I Thessalonians 5:17, Luke 18:1, 21:36; Ephesians 6:18, I Corinthians 14:15).
3) All Christians are required to fast and consecrate.
4) Some Christians appear to have a grace for what some call a “gift of intercession.”
Some believe in an office of intercession, and while there is no such wording in the Bible, there are those who appear to have more of a grace for intercession than the average Christian. And this is certainly possible, since Christ gives us all different measures of grace for our personal ministerial gifts--in and out of the pulpit (Ephesians 4:7).
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, allow me to explain what I mean by “paid intercessor.”
One of the first things I learned about my spiritual father’s ministry (before he adopted my best friend and me as his spiritual daughters) was that his church had, at the time, 12 paid intercessors.
We were in absolute awe!
As two gals who love prayer and intercession, we were simply in awe of the fact that someone had so understood the value of intercession and honoured the ministry so much that they actually budgeted to have people praying ‘round the clock for the ministry. And I was a prayer partner for the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association at the time! I’d honestly never heard of any ministry before or since who’s budgeted for this in their ministry.
I recently shared this detail in a Facebook comment and the comments varied between general curiosity of the position to outright disdain of it. I was shocked and a bit curious as to what my own Facebook family would think of it, so I made it one of my [in]famous “QUESTION OF THE NIGHT” posts. I wanted to know, for those who were in and or called to Fivefold Ministry (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers), who would pay to have paid intercessors on staff if they could afford it as well as why or why not.
Some were happy to jump at the idea. Their comments ranged from, “Yes I would. Prayer is very important” to “YAAASSSS” from one pastor friend, lol. And then there was one guy who, while friendly, seemed to show disdain for the very idea of paying anyone to pray for anything. (My personal belief is that the man was, hopefully, just a bit confused as to what I was actually asking.) However, he did sum it all up by saying, “I am always reevaluating my positions and asking the Lord to show me blind spots. Just pray for me! Hey, I may even send you a check. ha!” lol It got pretty intense there for a bit (as I’m sure you can imagine many of my Q&As do), but it ended on a lighter, understanding note.
But, of course, that Q&A inspired this post. So without further adieu, here are five reasons why I believe in paid intercessors.
1) Paying intercessors shows that the ministry places an extremely high value on the ministry of prayer.
My spiritual father’s ministry was birthed, is bathed, and will continue to be maintained only through the will of God and power of prayer. My spiritual parents are two of the most prayingest people I know! Thus, it is no surprise that once they got to a certain point to where either God instructed them to or they could afford to pay staff intercessors, they did so. The ENTIRE MINISTRY--including their daughter churches around the world--all possess a strong culture of prayer and intercession.
2) Paying intercessors assures that there is at least one person “on the wall” of intercession at all times for the ministry.
Most ministers and ministries have dedicated intercessors who intercede for the minister/ministry as often as they can. However, we as human beings are bogged down with the obligations of life. Most people have part- or full-time jobs, family obligations, not to mention ministry obligations, that prevent even the most desiring intercessors from praying as often as they would like. Let’s face it: most people simply aren’t able to spend 4-8 hours a day in actual constant prayer. Not an attitude of prayer. Not a posture of prayer. Not a spirit of prayer. But actually in a prayer room, on your knees, by yourself or with other team members, going at it for 4-8 hours. Thus, if you have someone who has proven themself in prayer for you and or your ministry over time and God is leading/allowing you to hire them, why wouldn’t you? You’ve just given them a paycheck to do what they do best without distraction! And if you’re in the position of my spiritual parents, then you’re in a position to have a decent-sized group that you can divide into overlapping shifts or “watches” so someone is “shondoboing” (my word for praying in tongues *smile*) for you, your family, your ministry, and your congregation 24/7, with no gaps in the wall. What an awesome gift!
Also, in case you’re curious, these are the watches of prayer as described throughout Scripture:
1st Watch: 6am-9am (The breaking of day, the best time to “command your morning” and, through God’s Word, “release angels” on assignment over the full day.)
2nd Watch: 9am-12pm
3rd Watch: 12pm-3pm
4th Watch: 3pm-6pm
5th Watch: 6pm-9pm
6th Watch: 9pm-12am
7th Watch: 12am-3am (Infamously known as the “witching hour.”)
8th Watch: 3am-6am (The height of demonic activity in the full 24-hour cycle.)
For more on the 8 watches of prayer, please listen to this short, PHENOMENAL teaching by Pastor ChiChi Bismark.
3) Paying intercessors assures that someone who knows the inner workings of the ministry and its needs that a general church volunteer or layman may not be privy to can cover them in prayer appropriately.
This isn’t to say that ministers can’t update their volunteer intercessory staff because they absolutely can. Ministries like Mike and Cindy Jacobs of Generals International have a related ministry entitled Reformation Prayer Network (RPN) where different regions and nations have their own specific network (i.e. USPRN for the United States Reformation Prayer Network) that come with regional and national updates such as prayer pointers and fulfillment of particular prayer campaigns.
However, the benefit of having paid intercessors on your staff is that they are simply capable of being present at staff meetings, etc. and also trustworthy enough to receive--and guard--information that lay members are not and should not generally be privy to.
4) Paying intercessors assures that someone is always in a position of overseeing the intercessory team as well as any volunteers that may be joining in.
This also is a function that can be fulfilled by a volunteer--if you can find one who 1) has the time and energy to dedicate to overseeing this ministry without shirking their other responsibilities (i.e. family, job, etc.) and, of course, 2) is in no danger of becoming a Jezebel.
5) Paying intercessors assures that there are those who can train up other intercessors and help to cultivate a ministry of intercession in the church and ministry overall.
As with the last point, while a volunteer can also fulfill this requirement, it helps to have someone with the time and energy to dedicate to this position. And it’s a lot easier for all parties involved if they don’t have to worry about winning their bread and butter elsewhere while also trying to lead a potentially time-consuming ministry such as this.
Paid or unpaid, the necessity for a ministry--any ministry--to be bathed in prayer goes without saying. Yet as a ministry grows in members and influence, so do the attacks against it.
If the idea of paying someone to intercede for you is still daunting, uncomfortable, or just downright disdainful to you, consider these points:
1) Why am I opposed to the idea of paying intercessors? Is it my religious tradition, a misunderstanding, or some other reason?
If you are opposed to this idea, get to the bottom of it in and of yourself. Don’t let a spirit of religion, tradition, or a lack of exposure to such things keep you from considering this in a positive light. If you shun this idea, make sure it is simply because God is not personally steering YOU and YOUR ministry toward it. Even if it’s simply not your cup of tea, don’t hate on or judge someone else for doing what God has instructed their particular ministry to do.
2) Do I truly value the position and power of prayer in my life and ministry? If I don’t value it like I should, then do I truly understand the power of prayer?
My personal feeling is that anyone who is truly opposed to this idea is someone who 1) either has a poverty/lack mentality in the church. Let’s face it: church folks, especially in certain cultural circles, don’t like to pay for stuff. But if you pay your musicians, ministers of music, pastors, preachers, and administrators on staff, then why would you not consider paying at least one intercessor to be on your staff? A ministry can survive without musicians and even singers. Most people have iPods or at least a CD player. Perhaps you don’t have enough paperwork to justify a paid administrator. But you can always justify prayer. Without it, your ministry will die. Or morph into a home for Jezebel and host of other demonic strongmen.
Possessing the Gates of the Enemy by Cindy Jacobs
Becoming a Prayer Warrior by Elizabeth Alves
(See my sidebar under “Recommended Reading.”)
3) How on earth do I hire someone to pray?
Someone broached this topic in my Q&A thread. And I’ll tell you exactly what I told them:
Honestly, that's something I'd never ever advertise for. If you're a pastor, etc. then you know the people who pray fervently and effectively for you; you know the ride-or-die people who show up for early morning or evening prayer consistently. You know the people who don't holler, fuss, and fall out when it comes time for the church consecration(s). Those are the people you would hire. The people who are proven; the people God shows/instructs you to hire. Not just some random Joe who thinks he'll get a paycheck that won't require work. If I had a full-time ministry and the resources, I know exactly who I could hire to pray for me and mine. It wouldn't even be a question for me.
4) Do I believe that if I pay intercessors, then everyone else will stop?
For some this may be a valid concern. But I believe the answer is no. Now if you’re saying, “Let me hire somebody, because ain’t nobody prayin’ for me or my church!” then you sir or ma’am, have a problem. That problem is that your ministry doesn’t have a culture of prayer. If it’s a young(er) church, then that’s understandable. However, if your ministry is established and has been around for years, then you have a problem and likely, the problem is YOU.
YOU set the tone for the culture of the church. If you dress inappropriately and allow the leaders to do so, then the people will too. If you consistently roll in late to praise and worship, then the people will too. If you are too deep or distracted to actually let loose in praise and honour God in worship, then the people will too. If you mistreat and abuse folks, then the people will too. If you allow your leadership and others to disrespect you, then the people will too. Similarly, if you don’t place a high value on prayer by showing up and demonstrating it, then your people will follow suit.
My spiritual parents have a culture of prayer in their ministry as do their daughter churches. That didn’t happen by accident. Cultivate a culture of prayer and in due season, it will take root. But it starts with YOU. Pray for it. Demonstrate it. Preach it. Teach it. Encourage it. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Cultivating a culture of prayer in your church will not be solved by hiring a paid intercessor, but it can present you with hands-on help in the process.
SPECIAL NOTE: The Church at large seems to have a mindset of poverty and lack that is tough, although not impossible, to eradicate. Among many of the symptoms of this ungodly stronghold of thinking is that we shouldn’t have to pay folks to serve in ministry. “Why does the pastor need a salary?” If he has a salary, “Why does he have to have a good salary?” “Why do we have to give tithes and offerings?” “Why do we have to financially bless the people who serve?” “Shouldn’t they serve out of the goodness of their hearts?” “Shouldn’t they serve God because they love God?” Or in terms of prayer, “Shouldn’t they pray because they love God?” I’ll answer that question with a question:
Shouldn’t the musicians serve because they love the Lord? Shouldn’t the minister of music and praise and worship leaders lead because they love the Lord? What kind of question is that? Especially taking into context the fact that many praise leaders and musicians (especially) either don’t really love/serve God and have a hireling spirit? Yet you esteem value in the music department, so you pay them anyway. (And also, because you know they can get a better paying “gig” elsewhere. But that’s another message for another day.) If we value the gift of music and praise and worship enough to honour those who serve it with money, if we honour our pastors and preachers with money for their efforts, if we honour our other heads of departments, counselors, sound technicians, etc., then why not honour and esteem the one ministry the church cannot do without? If all the musicians leave and the singers quit, you can plug your iPod in, play a CD, or sing acapella. If one preacher bails or falls ill, you can find another one. But how do you replace the ministry of prayer? Easy: you can’t.
But the church doesn’t like to pay for stuff = invest in things. They don’t like to invest in people. They like to use them up and move on to the next one when you’re depleted. That is no way to treat people or their ministry--whatever it may be. And that also is another message for another day. But I say this: if the Church can learn to show honour and esteem to that which Jesus the Christ honoured, then we would see a major increase of the harvest He expects us to bring forth.
Again, this isn’t for those who aren’t in a financial position to implement it. And if God is clearly showing you this is not the direction for your ministry, then God bless you! But for the rest of us, let’s get serious about what we truly honour, value, and esteem in ministry. Jesus said (Desiree Version), you put your money where your heart is (Matthew 6:21). So where is your heart?