In my previous article on the Hebrew word “paga,” translated intercession in the Old Testament, I discussed one of its primary meanings which is “making contact” with God.
This is what differentiates prayer and intercession. While prayer is one way communication — us talking to God, in intercession we make contact with God which leads to Him communicating with us.
In the Old Testament, “paga” has many usages which give us different understandings of intercession.
In this article, I want to look at the unusual way the word is used in Job 36:32.
Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible and would certainly offer one of the earliest meanings of the word. This passage also suffers a horrid chapter break, as the discussion continues into chapter 37:
32 “He covers His hands with the lightning,
And commands it to strike (paga) the mark …
2 “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice,
And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.
3 “Under the whole heaven He lets it loose,
And His lightning to the ends of the earth.
4 “After it, a voice roars;
He thunders with His majestic voice,
And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. (Job 36:32, 37:2-4 NASV)
The word is used in this verse to imply that God directs where the lightning will strike. God literally wants to command or control “paga.”
In 37:2, we are encouraged to “listen closely” to the thunder of God’s voice and if we do listen, His lightning strikes will not be restrained or held back (37:4).
Lightning is an interesting analogy for prayer. In its basic form, lightning is an energy transfer from heaven to the earth. This is similar to how Jesus encouraged us to pray: ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” (Mathew 6:10 NASV).
God desires to direct the prayers of the intercessor to make sure they hit the mark ensuring our prayers are answered.
My experience with directed prayer
I remember there was an important event going on one evening at our church. I showed up early to spend time praying over this single issue.
As time went on, I attacked it from all angles petitioning God in any way I could to have Him move on this situation.
I had prayed for a while, when an interesting thing happened — a phrase dropped into my spirit on how I was to pray. I believe at this moment, I moved from prayer to intercession — contact was made and God wanted to direct my “paga.”
It was as if God said, I will answer your prayer, but first you need to ask for the right thing. I had prayed, but not in a way that God could effectively deal with the situation, even if He answered my prayer.
As soon as I prayed it, an overwhelming peace came over me and I knew I had made contact with God and He had answered my prayer.
At that moment, I lost all sense of urgency to pray. I knew that any more prayer on the subject was a waste of time. It was a done deal, as the events that eventually unfolded revealed.
Does this invalidate my earlier prayers?
Those initial prayers were critical and God heard them and as the prayers built God moved in by His Holy Spirit to add the last brick that tipped the scale into answered prayer.
The Holy Spirit will guide our prayers
I believe, God has given Christians an important tool to guide their prayers — speaking in tongues. It is an important part of intercession because God uses this gift to guide our “paga” — to make sure our intercession strikes their mark.
Paul says on the gift of tongues:
“For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God: for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.” (1 Corinthians 14:2 NASV)
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and pray with the mind also.” (1 Corinthians 14:14, 15a NASV)
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weaknesses: for we don’t know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words… because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Roman 8:26, 27 NASV)
Through the gift of tongues, the Holy Spirit literally bypasses our minds and uses our mouths to pray. In the moments, when we don’t know what to pray, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us.
When we speak in tongues, we will have no idea what we are praying, but the Holy Spirit uses this gift to make sure the right requests are made — that we are praying according to the will of God.
At times I have spoken in tongues as I was praying about a particular situation, but after I sometimes wondered if the Holy Spirit directed my tongue towards a completely different issue.
It is a mystery, but by using this gift the Holy Spirit can pray into situations of His choosing, not ours.
The gift of tongues is an essential tool for an intercessor. I call it the guidance system that directs the prayer missile to its target. I know of one well-known intercessor who challenged people in his network to speak in tongues one full hour a day. The more tongues is used, the more the language is developed.
Read more in this series:
- Paga: The Intercessor
- Paga: Hitting the mark in intercession
- Paga: The intercessor as a warrior
- Paga: The intercessor claims territory for God
- Paga: The intercessor negotiates with God
- Paga: The intercessor carries a burden