The term “intercessor” has become a special designation in the last few decades. Certainly it is a biblical word. It is especially used to describe our Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is also used to describe the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
However, it is not listed as one of the 19 spiritual gifts, and no believer in the New Testament is described in this way. So … why do we do it in the modern church? A glib reply would be to blame it on a few modern authors who have included it (without scriptural proof) as one of the spiritual gifts. But realistically it is more realistic to say that people who feel especially called to a life of prayer like to have a label or category that they can use to describe themselves. Nothing wrong with that, as long as we keep in mind that it is a category that none of the first century apostles would have recognized.
Instead, someone like Paul would most likely have challenged all believers that they had a role in the overall ministry of intercession and prayer. It wasn’t just for professional pray-ers, or those who felt a “call” to do it. Prayer was second nature. For everyone.
Since Jesus is the great Intercessor and the ministry of intercession is really an extension of Him, then I would argue that whatever gifting you have that gives you a place and a role in the Body, you use that gift as your way of participating in intercessory ministry.
Your gifting and personal uniqueness is going to influence the way you intercede.
For example … if you have a gift of mercy, then your prayers will often be for those whose plight has touched your heart of compassion. If you have a gift of evangelism, then you will find yourself motivated to pray for those you are trying to win to Christ. Etc. Etc.
Don’t misread what I am saying. I thank God every day for those who have a call on their life into a life of prayer. Here at NHOP we are surrounded by them! I don’t even mind calling them intercessors. But what I don’t think is helpful is to make a special elitist category for “those who do the praying.” Because that lets the rest of the Body of Christ off the hook and missing out on what should be a natural and primary part of their life as well.