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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 42

Prayers of Intercession continued...

Depending on how we perceive it, the sifting can be, and often is, a good thing for our spiritual walk. When we are sifted, we are essentially cleansed of impurities, of chaff, or everything that ought not to be mixed in with the wheat, so what remains might be pure.

Difficult as it might seem at the time, we must be thankful to God for the seasons of sifting we go through, knowing that we are being prepared for His granary. Only grain that has been threshed and sifted is put into a granary.

The sifting process, as well as the threshing process is intended to separate the kernel from the dross, the wheat from the chaff, and in our seasons of sifting and threshing this is the utmost thing we must remember.

No matter how difficult the sifting, no matter how uncomfortable or protracted the threshing, if we are wheat, we know with certainty that no evil will befall us. Jesus our intercessor prayed our faith would not fail, and we know the Father answers the Son’s prayers.

God knows both the length and intensity of sifting required of every individual. Sifting is not a one size fits all proposition, it is an individual experience custom tailored to our specific natures. God knows how much sifting I can withstand, and He will not allow me to endure beyond what He knows I am able to endure.

1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Although it may seem like it at the time, the trial, the sifting, and the threshing you are going through is not superhuman, rather it is common to man. Yes, I realize it’s easy to talk about the fiery furnace of trial and sifting, and quite another to be in it, go through it, and experience it for yourself, but I assure you I’ve had my fair share of sifting and threshing, and trials and hardships, and I can still attest to the veracity of Paul’s assertion, that no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.

Within this same verse, we also see a promise which many tend to overlook, but which is priceless in its implication.

No matter the trial, temptation, sifting or threshing, the word of God promises us that He is faithful, and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able. Not only will God not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, He will also make a way of escape with every temptation, that we might bear it.

Jesus prayed. He interceded for His disciples repeatedly, fervently, and passionately. If we desire to be Christ like, then prayers of intercession on behalf of the brethren must be a continual practice in our spiritual lives.

Prayers of intercession highlight the interdependency of the Body of Christ, and show us how many members make up the whole. I do not pray for myself as often as I pray for others, because I know in my heart that others are interceding on my behalf as fervently and passionately as I am interceding on behalf of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

The knowledge that we are one Body, lifting one another up in prayer, and interceding on behalf of each other, eradicates the tendency for selfishness when it comes to our prayer lives. I don’t pray for myself as often, because I know others are praying for me, and as such I can use my time of prayer to pray for others whom I know are in need of prayer.

Hebrews 2:17-18, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”

Jesus aids those who are tempted, not as one who has never experienced temptation, but as one who has Himself suffered and was tempted. Whatever the situation might be, if someone attempting to aid you has likewise gone through what you are going through, they are better able to understand, and help where you need it most.

Whether it’s an expectant mother asking someone who has already had children what it is she can expect, or someone who was once heavy giving weight loss advice to someone attempting to shed a few pounds, whenever an individual has gone through a similar experience, they are better able to assists, support, and aid us.

Jesus Himself endured temptation, and He overcame it, and as such He is able to aid those who are likewise tempted.

As a side note, if Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail, then logic would conclude it is possible for our faith to fail. Jesus would not have prayed an unnecessary prayer, nor would He have asked the Father for something needless.

Yes, if we stop guarding our hearts, if we stop being watchful, if we cease having prayer lives, faith can get shipwrecked, and it can even fail. Contrary to certain denominations, the Bible proves this out. As such, may we live lives of obedience, humility, prayer, and watchfulness, that when trials come, when the sifting commences we might stand and remain grounded in the truth that is Christ Jesus our Lord.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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