What is the difference between being a prayer warrior and being an intercessor, if there is one?
Thanks for your very valid question. Often intercessors are called prayer warriors. But technically intercessory prayer is a subset of the broader category of prayer.
Prayer in the broad sense is asking. The old English “I pray you” meant “I ask you.” Intercession, as a particular subset of prayer, involves at least three aspects. Obviously, this is just a summary of a glorious subject.
First, intercession involves identification. Jesus, the great Intercessor, became a man identifying with those He came to set free. The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, identifies with man not only dwelling among men, but by dwelling within men. Obviously, we are not deity, but we can see the importance of identifying with those we are burdened to pray for regarding particular burdens. We can only do this through the supernatural enabling of the Holy Spirit,
Second, intercession involves compassion, or entering into someone else’s burden, feeling it by the help of the Spirit. This is the natural result of real identification with someone else’s need. Jesus did this when he came to Mary and Martha after Lazarus had died, and seeing their distress, “Jesus wept.” The focus of identifying with someone’s need allows for your compassion to be stirred.
Third, intercession involves authority. Jesus finished His work at the cross gaining the victory, and then ascended to the throne where that victory might be accessed and applied. As believers, not only is Christ in us, but we are in Christ. Since Christ sits at the throne, this reality involves a “throne seat.” Intercessory prayer comes boldly to the throne of grace. Although this aspect may involve some time as the Spirit purifies and clarifies, there comes a moment in intercession where the intercessor, who is praying in the Spirit, comes to a place of confident faith based on Christ’s authority. This occurs as the Spirit gives the word of the Lord regarding the burden. While the intercessor is always weak, the Lord and His word are always great.
Much more could be said, and principles could be laid out differently, but these are some of the basic distinctions regarding intercession.