The Call to be a Full-Time Intercessory Missionary
The Lord is calling people to a full-time ministry occupation that I refer to as an intercessory missionary. I define an intercessory missionary as one who does the work of the kingdom from the place of prayer and worship, while embracing a missionary lifestyle and focus. Others may define this term in a different way. At TBC, as a rule, we ask those who embrace this full-time occupation of “intercessory missionary” to commit to fifty hours per week, including being in the prayer room for at least four hours a day, six days a week.
People sometimes ask me what an intercessory missionary is and where it is in the Bible. In principle, this calling and occupation is found throughout the Bible. In this article, I will briefly mention where this calling is found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament—particularly in end-time prophecy—its presence throughout church history, and how it is being embraced today in contemporary ministries.
Though the New Testament gives only a few specific ministry titles and job descriptions, it does present intrinsic values, such as winning the lost, caring for people, helping the poor, and praying. “Apostle” is the title with the clearest job description in the New Testament. We don’t find the title of senior pastor, marriage counselor, youth pastor, children’s pastor, or outreach pastor, etc. My point is that most of the titles we use in the Church today are not specifically mentioned in the New Testament.
The Bible doesn’t give a comprehensive list of ministries that the Spirit has used to meet the specific needs of every culture in the different generations throughout church history. The Church has liberty to name specific ministry focuses in a way that applies to their generation and culture, as long as biblical values are upheld.
The Value of Night-and-Day Prayer in Heaven
Revelation 4–5 describes the worship order around God’s throne. Those nearest the throne magnify Him and agree with His purposes in 24/7 worship and intercession. The worthiness of God demands 24/7 worship—this value will be embraced and expressed forever.
The four living creatures . . . do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy…” (Rev. 4:8)
Jesus exhorted us to pray that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Mt. 6:10). One aspect of God’s kingdom being expressed on earth as it is in heaven involves worship. God’s desire to be worshiped on earth as He is in heaven has not changed. The Holy Spirit has not emphasized this globally through history, but is now emphasizing it to some in many nations. The value of the worship around the throne is timeless. The applications of it on earth have differed in each generation and culture.
Intercessory Missionaries in End-Time Prophecy
The Holy Spirit will establish the most powerful prayer and worship movement in history. The Scriptures give indications of the significance of prayer in the end times (Lk. 18:7–8; Rev. 5:8; 8:4; 22:17; cf. Isa. 24:14–16; 25:9; 26:8–9; 27:2–5, 13; 30:18–19; 42:10–13; 43:26; 51:11; 52:8; 62:6–7; Jer. 31:7). It is one of the major themes of end-time prophecy; the conflict at the end of the age will be between two global worship movements. The Antichrist will empower a worldwide, state-financed, false worship movement (Rev. 13:4, 8, 12, 15), but the global prayer movement led by Jesus will be far more powerful.
Isaiah prophesied concerning prayer ministries that would continue 24/7 until Jesus returns—this is when Jesus will restore Jerusalem as a praise in the earth. Isaiah was speaking of the watchmen-intercessors the Lord Himself would appoint and set in place who will not keep silent day or night.
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen [intercessors]; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isa. 62:6–7, NAS)