Life-transforming power comes when intercession and preaching are fully connected
I was preaching to approximately 120,000 people in the stadium when a power cut suddenly bathed the entire crowd in pitch darkness. Then the emergency generators kicked in, and soon the place was all lit up again.
I can think of no better example of how intercession and evangelism work together. Regardless of what powerful lights we had, without electricity the place would have remained in darkness, the sound system powerless and the message unheard—regardless of how loud I tried to shout.
On the other hand, no matter how much electricity we were able to generate, without the lights and sound system it would not have had the impact desired. Intercession is the “powerhouse,” and the preaching of the Word of God is the “electricity” that projects the light of God into this world of sin and darkness.
Prayer is intimacy with God while evangelism is the outworking of that intimacy pulsing with the very heartbeat of the Father. Intercession prepares the way while evangelism is the act. The harvester reaps the answers of those prayers for souls. I firmly believe that reaching out must be accompanied by an equivalent level of prayer—and vice versa.
Prayer Prepares the Way
When God invited us to “ask” Him for the nations as an inheritance (see Ps. 2:8), He knew exactly what He was doing. To have an inheritance among the nations we need to ask (pray), but the asking alone is never enough. For prayer can never be an end in itself, but a means to an end. Even the birth of Christ was a means to an end—the avenue for God to dwell among men: He died on the cross and rose again so that all men can be saved (see 1 Tim. 2:4). Hear what Jesus has to say about anointing and prayer:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
We are commissioned with a mandate and a message. Our fulfilment of the Great Commission certainly requires a global scope, ministering with compassion and dealing with human concerns. No geographical, economical, religious or political boundaries can restrict us from penetrating a nation with the gospel. However, the highway to that success can only be prepared in intense and powerful intercession. To make it clear, true victories are first fought on our knees before they are celebrated in results and impact.
Intercession and Proclamation
God’s Word teaches balance. Joel 2:17 states, “Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, “Where is their God?” ’ ”
We see that the priests were called to weep between the porch and the altar. We are a royal priesthood and a holy nation who are invited to go boldly before the Lord (see Heb. 10:19). With passionate prayer, now made open and free by the precious blood of Jesus, we can enter the very Holy of Holies at the altar of prayer.
In the Old Testament, the priest did not stay in the holy place. He had to go to the porch where the people were waiting for God’s message. Some of us want to pray but do not want to take the responsibility to take the message to the people so desperately in need. Others only want to preach and minister without spending that time with the Lord to allow Him to break their hearts with what breaks His heart.
Jesus Himself set the example by praying during the night and then setting the captives free, healing the sick and preaching the good news during the day. You might say, “This is not my calling—I am not an evangelist or intercessor.”
Who is an evangelist or intercessor? Not necessarily someone who goes to another country, but someone who prays passionately, making it their mission to reach every soul around them with the good news of Jesus Christ.
You are created with balance—two feet, two hands, two ears and so on. The Holy Spirit is no different. To inherit the nations, you need to “ask” and “go,” cutting both ways like a two-edged sword in prayer and evangelism. At our outreaches we not only prepare before the meetings with powerful intercession, but have parallel prayer going on while the word is being preached—preparing a highway for the seed to fall in good ground.
Someone once asked me, “Suzette, are you an intercessor or an evangelist.” I smiled and answered, “I am an interceding evangelist!” I spend time at the altar in prayer to be able to bring the message of the Lord at the “porch,” fulfilling the mandate with a message.
Suzette Hattingh co-founded in 1997 Voice in the City, an international, interdenominational missions organization. The ministry engages in large evangelistic campaigns and similar smaller efforts in cities and local communities. From 1980 to 1996, she was part of Reinhard Bonnke’s Christ for all Nations ministry, heading up the intercession department and later becoming Bonnke’s associate evangelist.