Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God, (Matthew 5:8, NIV).
I just returned yesterday to Milan from my annual visit to the US, and today was my first visit back to my church. Before the service started the Holy Spirit reminded me of my first church service upon returning to Italy as a missionary in 2010. At that time, the pastor said, “Close your eyes and begin just to worship the Lord.” I did, and a moment later I heard her begin to prophesy, but I was so lost in worship that I wasn’t really paying any attention to what was being said. It didn’t seem like it had anything to do with me. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder and opened my eyes. I was shocked to see that the hand belonged to the pastor, and that it was me that she was prophesying to. One thing she said has remained with me: “Your heart is pure as virgin snow.”
I have said all along that I don’t have the supernatural gift of intercession. I have on occasion prayed with those who do have that gift, and it is always amazing. It always feels like time ceases to have any meaning, and the gift spills over onto me so that we pray ping-pong style, each finishing the other’s sentence flawlessly flowing together like a river of prayer (mixing my metaphors, I know). But what the Lord revealed to me this morning is that I am called as an intercessor, and He explained that it’s because I do have a pure heart.
Having a pure heart is a blessing that often makes you look like a jerk or an idiot. Things that I say, intending one thing are often found to have a double meaning that I never intended. People that are looking for offense frequently find it in something I said, never intending offense. And people are really good at finding sexual innuendos in things I’ve said in innocence. What’s a pure-hearted person to do?
Understanding finally that I have the Call of Intercessor, I am praying for the supernatural gift of intercession. A few years ago I received a prophecy that said that God has put a big table in front of me, and that on the table is everything I could ever want or need. A few months later, while agonizing in prayer for God’s presence, the Lord reminded me of the Table. I wept and said, “I don’t want the things on the Table, I want You!” He gently replied, “I am in everything that is on the Table. Everything on the Table is simply more of Me.” So as I pray for the Spiritual Gift of Intercession, I know that God has promised to give it to me, and that what I’m receiving is not a prize, but more of Him.
God told Abraham:
I Am your Shield, your Exceedingly Great Reward, (Genesis 15:1, NKJV, emphasis mine).
So I was not entirely right in that last thing I said, that what I’m receiving is not a prize. It’s not a prize in the Cracker Jack box sense of a prize. But it is a Prize in that God’s presence is our greatest prize, our treasure laid up in Heaven. The spiritual gifts are more of His presence here on earth. The Apostle Paul told us:
Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy, (I Corinthians 14:1, emphasis mine).
So I began to pray, believing for the supernatural Gift of Intercession, and then in faith, I stepped out into intercession. Now, of course I have interceded before. Intercession is simply praying for another person. I pray for other people all the time. But these prayers have always felt like a struggle. I found difficulty focusing, a big disconnect when I ought to be connected. However today as I began to pray for others, I suddenly felt something in my spirit akin to the rush of skiing downhill—skiing much faster than I ever really dared. It felt thrilling and effortless and a bit out of my own control.
Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of a vision I had a couple of years ago during prayers for Europe’s missionaries (see Vision and Extradimensional Prayer) in which I found myself riding on a giant ball of light as it raced here and there. The feeling was exactly the same, so I believe that the vision was about receiving the Spiritual Gift of Intercession.
Anybody else want the supernatural gift of Intercession? All you’ve got to do is ask for it and receive it by faith. Then get ready for the thrill ride of your life. God is good!