I believe prayerlessness is the greatest sin in the church—and unfortunately some leaders are propagating this sin and discouraging those with prayer burdens from cooperating with the Spirit of God to bring His will to the earth.
I've seen for years how prayer is lacking in many churches. Even churches that do have prayer meetings often relegate intercessors to the back of the church lest their effectual fervent prayer offend the lukewarm saints. But a recent message I received on my Facebook page really took the proverbial cake.
A precious and confused saint wrote: "Can you please give us clarity. I hear pastors say God did not call intercessors and you can't find it in the bible. He said only Jesus can intercede. Thank you."
Of course, hundreds of people sounded off to refute this claim. Some pointed to 1 Timothy 2:1-3 where Paul instructed his spiritual son to "make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone." Others pointed to Acts 12:5, when the church "prayed to God without ceasing" for Peter when he was in prison. Still others pointed to James 5:14 where Christ's brother instructed the sick to "call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."
What's the Root of This?
Why on earth would a pastor—or anyone—try to convince their members to abandon the call to intercession? Technically, we're all called to be intercessors, though I believe some people have a stronger ministry mantle and anointing to intercede.
Abraham was an intercessor (Gen. 18; 19). Moses was an intercessor (Ex. 32:1-14; Ps. 106:23). Samuel was an intercessor (1 Sam. 7:3; 1 Sam.12:24). Hezekiah, Paul, Stephen, Amos, Solomon, Anna the prophetess, Ezra, Elijah, Daniel and Nehemiah all entered into strong intercession. Although intercessors are called to do more than occupy a prayer closet, believers are certainly called to intercede.
So what is the root of all this? Why would pastors say such a thing? It could be a lack of knowledge (see Hos. 4:6). It could be flat-out deception. It could be a controlling spirit. It could be fear that the intercessors will gain prophetic insight into the sin in their lives. It could be wrong teaching on the topic. It could be bad experiences with immature intercessors who overstepped their boundaries. No matter what the root is, it's dangerous.
Prayer Precedes Revival
Some people ask me why I bother praying and suggest that prayer rallies and solemn assemblies are a waste of time. I beg to differ. The only way we'll see a true transforming revival in this land is to pave the way for the King of glory to enter through our humble repentance, pursuit of the Lord in holiness, and desperate prayer.
Could it be possible that the enemy is trying to shut that down with all this nonsense about intercession not being in the Bible? The enemy hates prayer with a passion because he knows it's our lifeline to God. He knows that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person makes tremendous power available (see James 5:16). He knows that night and day prayer opens the door for justice (see Luke 18:1-8).
I would encourage you as the days grow darker to read the Bible for yourself. Most pastors are precious people, but no pastor is God. I've seen far too many people follow their beloved pastor into error in the name of loyalty. We all need a personal relationship with God and that doesn't happen without prayer. We all need to obey Scripture and that often requires intercession followed by faith-inspired action generated through intimacy with Him.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior news editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale and author of several books, including Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft, and The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.