The Gift of the Standard-Bearer and The Intercessor: Praying for Pastors and Leaders
David and Kathy Andrade
Isaiah 59:15 paraphrased:
And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: thereby His arm brought salvation unto him (to the standard bearer); and his righteousness is sustained by him.
While most believers understand Jesus as our Intercessor, and that the Holy Spirit makes intercession on our behalf, there remains questions concerning those that specifically hold Intercessory prayer as their ministry gift to the Body of Christ.
Still, the scriptures points to those that positioned themselves to seek the face of God on behalf of His people; to intervene by relentless fervent prayer when the people of God found themselves under the hand of great oppression and persecution; unjust laws or the judgment of God, until the Lord relented and granted a way of escape and blessing.
Ezekiel says it in this way, 22:30;
I looked for someone among them who would;
1. build up the wall,
2. and stand before me in the gap,
3. on behalf of the land,
4. so I would not destroy it,
but I found no-one.
All cry of the Lord amidst the chaos:
And her prophets have mixed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus says the Lord God, when the Lord has not spoken. (29) The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yes, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
The Lord apparently sought out a prophet or voice among the leaders in (verse 28) that would address the people of God concerning the Lord’s pleading indictment, that would lead the people back to Him and teach them His word and the difference between the holy and the unholy.
(verse 30). One willing to place their own life on the line and stand in the gap in intercession to the Lord for His people.
- Not all Intercessors are prophets but all true prophets are Intercessors.
- A prophet is one that pleads God’s case before the people of God and may in this text be referred to as a (standard bearer).
- An Intercessor is one that pleads the people’s case before the Lord.
Some other intercessors found in scriptures include, Moses, (Exodus 10:17 & 32:32) Daniel, (Daniel 9:3) Anna (Luke 2:36-37), & Amos 7:3-6 &7
In the New Testament church, the Apostle Paul addressed the need concerning the ministry of prayer and encouraged the employing (if you will) widows that met the criteria to be set aside to pray for the church night and day.
1 Timothy 5:5,
Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.
Biblical Review of the Intercessor:
The text that best characterizes the ministry of intercession is found in Isaiah 59 pertaining to the “PAGA” and addressed by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians, Chapter 6: putting on the armour of God and standing firm in a defensive posture on behalf of saints against the on-slots of the enemy.
Because of the inference here concerning position, it remains ideal to clarify the parallels pertaining to some of the history implied by the use of the word, Intercessor in Isaiah 59:15 and later by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:
The TEXTUAL Usage & Hebrew Definition
1. Intercessor – a third party who advocates, negotiates or mediates between two opposing parties:
2. One who sits as judge to settle a case between two opposing sides.
3. One standing as an advocate before a judge who carries the authority to overturn an unjust decree.
4. An appeal by one standing for another who is unable to defend themselves.
5. Intervene – One who bears the wrath on behalf of another. As used in the words, justified – justice has already been served or propitiation – one bearing the judgment of another.
6. An ambassador – One who stands in the position of high authority to represent the best interest of their nation before the authority of another nation especially under adverse circumstances.
The historical record; Isaiah 59:15-18 and Ephesians 6:10-21
Both of these text may refer to a defensive posture of warfare once adopted by the Assyrians during the time of the prophet, Isaiah. The Assyrians, unlike armies that pre-planned every detail concerning their battle strategy, leaving little room for error or unpredicted changes, the Assyrians employed ensigns called Standard Bearers to direct the battle from a high ground.
The Assyrians placed their commanders along with the standard bearer in a high place overlooking the battlefield with the tactical view of both armies. From this vantage, the standard bearer was able to view the enemies weakness then by the use of flags, reposition their ranks as the need arose. They were also able to view hidden traps laid for them by their enemy.
Though flags were used in a variety of ways, the Assyrians employed ensigns (called Standard-Bearer) that utilized banners to communicate to their different ranks, changes as they continued to unfold, then inturn repositioning their forces to strengthen their offences and their defenses.
The advantage was the ability to adapt as the battle progressed, closing up weaknesses, direct their footmen, cavalry, bowmen, spearman, horsemen, chariots, large war machinery while protecting their flank then using this ability to the disadvantage of their enemy.
Picture if you will,
1. the Holy Spirit as our commander giving instruction to His Shepherds, His Standard Bearers.
2. that inturn convey this information to the strategic commanders,
3. who in turn relay the battle instructions to His church.
It must also be understood that the Standard-Bearer did not bear a weapon, rather he bore the standard. So the bravery and skill of those that surrounded the standard bearer, (the Intercessors) from the enemies assaults was the last line of protection for the Standard Bearer because if the Standard Bearer went down, their entire army was in confusion.
Ephesians 6:19 (my paraphrase)
The Apostle Paul’s prayer,
– “That utterance may be given to me (from The Holy Spirit) that I, (as the Standard Bearer of the Lord)
– may be able to open (my mouth boldly, without hindrance) to make known the mystery of the Gospel
– (to the Church).
So the church needs to understand the importance of covering prayer pertaining to the work of the Gospel.
All of you pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.
When the church labors together, each doing their part: weather it be the workers, leaders, or God’s people, and all are committed to united work to cover those that labor in the harvest fields by intercession and prayer, the work of God is increased, blessed and continues to flourish without hindrance.
And not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, is (nourished and knit together) through its joints and ligaments supplies, (grows with increase that comes from God.)
The Pursuing Army Sought to Take Down the Standard-Bearer.
The last portion of Isaiah 10:18 AV reads “And they shall be as when the Standard-Bearer faints” The point of the verse, while vaguely understood suggests the importance of the unhindered work of the Standard-Bearer if final victory was to be achieved and the consequence of defeat should the standard-bearer be taken out:
The earliest Septuagint Greek to English version by Charles Thomson in 1808 translates (ba·sar – kim·sos) as a sick man. Isaiah 10:18. The older English versions and some newer versions continue to translate the word as Standard Bearer.
Isaiah 59:15 reads
“So truth fail and he who stands against evil (becomes a prey).” Then the Lord saw it, He was displeased that there was none (an Intercessor)
Ephesians 6: to withstand the firey darts of the enemy on behalf of the (Standard Bearer).
“Paga” Who are they?
The term Intercessor in this text may pertain to the special force of defensive warriors whose sole job was to protect the standard-bearer.
Should a breach occur that endangered the life of the standard-bearer, these special elite warriors were to stand fast, not move forward or backward and surround the standard bearer even at the cost of their own life and fight off the enemies assaults.
When kingdom leaders are under the enemies attack and do not maintain a strategic (intercessory cover) they may become vulnerable. It is easy at times to be overcome with church and family responsibilities or other personal issues that may deem our leaders ineffective or take them out all together.
Don’t believe for a moment that our Sheperds do not go through battles.
So, the non praying Church may need to rethink the value of it’s people of prayer and intercessors.
The Word Watchful & Perseverance in Ephesians 6:18.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all (perseverance) and supplication for all saints;
At the root of the word (perseverance) is the word preserve.
The Apostle Paul Continues Concerning His Missionary Journey into Asia.
2 Corinthians 1:8-10
For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: (9) But we carried the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in our ability, but in God which raises the dead: (10) Who delivered us from so great a death, and even now continues to deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet again deliver us;
The Apostle Paul Praised the Corinthian Church For Their Diligent Partnership while on his missionary journey to Asia by their fervent covering prayer.
2 Corinthians 1:11
You also (helping together) by prayer for us, that by the (saving gift of deliverance) bestowed upon us by the means of many, that many may together give thanks on our behalf.
By Your partnership, under the cover of those laboring for us through prayer.
The Word Helping in verse 11 SC#4943 GRK NT. SUN UPO UREGO
– Sun (soon) A partnership an attachment (closer than a brother. ( A bond of knowing.)
A experiential knowing; knowing sense of feeling pain, danger or suffering.
though we are separated by distance. I in Asia, you at Corinth.
– UPO (hupo) Under the cover of
– Urego (ergon) Your work, your toil, your labor. Paul is saying, Though we were separated by great distance, You are my gift of safety, before the Lord as you partner with me in my work though the labor of your prayers.
(The Hebrew counter-part (paga) those laboring in prayer, so that I am able to preach the gospel and continue to reveal the mysteries of God to the church without hindrance.
Continued Comparison Pertaining to Isaiah 59 and Ephesians 6
1. Paul’s message is: there is coming an evil day. So be ready, to be on guard by fervent prayer, not only for me, but also for all the saints of God.
2. So put on your full spiritual armor then stand fast against every strategy of the enemy for the saints when the evil day arrives.
3. Prepare to protect the Kingdom and those that stand for righteousness as the Standard-Bearers of the Lord.
4. Withstand all the ranks of spiritual demonic forces in an unmovable defensive posture. Repel the enemies advances boldly with every kind of prayer, and in the Spirit, first of all for Paul and also for the saints that the gospel continue without hindrance.
Paul understood the spiritual reality concerning protecting the Kingdom through covering Intercessory prayer, and the help that Jesus and the Father provide in response to the prayers of the saints.
Similarities to Prophet Isaiah and the Apostle Paul.
A. – Isaiah 59: The Armor of God
17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
B. – Ephesian 6: The Armor of God
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Isaiah 59 The Defensive Posture and Stand
C. – 18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense.
D. – Ephesian 6:10-12
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
E. – In Covenant Partnership Promise between the Standard-bearer, the Intercessor and the Holy Spirit.
A three fold cord is not easily broken. A partnership of the Standard Bearer, the intercessor and the Holy Spirit.
F.- Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.
G. – The Covenant Intervention of the Holy Spirit. 19 continued:
H.- When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
I. – The Covenant and Intervention of Jesus
20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
J.- Covenant Promise to God’s Standard Bearers and Intercessors.
21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
K.- Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Love always in Christ.
David N Kathy Andrade.