Jul 1, 2014, 10:05 AM
“Carry each others’ burden, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
“I urge you then that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1)
Is praying for others – and I do not mean just members of your family - a habit with you? When our souls are touched to the extent that we cannot sit still, then we shall be ‘standing in the gap’ for those who are hurting inside; those who are going through hard times – the lost and the trodden-upon; those who are despised and the wretched-of-the earth.
There are a lot of people out there that need to be reached out to because God is looking out for someone to plead to Him on their behalf. (Ezekiel 22:30) To intercede for someone does require in the first instance a great deal of compassion; it means denying oneself for the interest and welfare of others - praying until God effects a change, or something happens.
Abraham had parted company with his nephew, Lot, who had settled in
Abraham pleaded with Him for clemency: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?” (Genesis 18:23) Abraham was down to ten but there still were not that many people to stop God from raining fire on the twin cities. In the end, only
In another instance, Moses, one of the great Old Testament prophets was compelled to intervene on behalf of the Children of Israel before God’s wrath fell upon them. Moses had been summoned by God on
When God saw the scene, He told Moses: “I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you a great nation.” (Exodus 32:9-10) “But Moses sought the favour of the Lord His God … Then the Lord relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.” (Exodus 32:11) We may be tempted to see ourselves too small, insignificant or sinful to refrain from interceding on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Remember God has the final say. As a God of mercy He will always lend a sympathetic ear.
The following day Moses said to his people: “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” (Exodus 32:30) Moses was adamant about obtaining God’s forgiveness. He even made it conditional. “But now please forgive their sin – but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” (verse 32) How far are we willing to go in our intercession? All the way like Moses did? A true intercessor must have a heart for saving souls. Again God relented because of His servant’s pleas for mercy, even though He only postponed the punishment.
God is attentive to the cry of His servants – particularly when they are standing in the gap. Job was an ardent intercessor for his children before the Lord. He intervened on their behalf lest their youthful exuberance would lead them into unrepentant sin.
We observe his concern for the kind of relationship his children had with their Maker and therefore his regular intercession for them, particularly when they were guilty of living a ‘happy-go-lucky’ life – taking turns feasting in their homes. Job very often “would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ ” (Job 1:5)
Perhaps our children are engaged in habits (that we are unaware of) - whether knowingly or unknowingly – that do not honour God. Perhaps they have links with the occult or are just simply going astray, and have offended God. We need to take some time out to intercede for them that God may have mercy. We need also to pray for the tides to turn.
God is delighted when His children who are born again and living the new kind of life come before Him with their requests and appeals. Even if they are not fulfilled, there is that inner relief that He has heard us. What great joy it would be for Him to provide answers to those multiple problems that constantly gnaw us! He entreats us: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)