Friday, March 30, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 30

Prayers of Intercession continued...

There are countless examples of intercession throughout the word of God. While some are prayers of intercession, others are individuals interceding on behalf of others, demonstrating both their character, and their friendship towards those for whom they interceded.

1 Samuel 19:4-6, ‘Now Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, ‘Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you. For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?’ So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, ‘as the Lord lives, he shall not be killed.’”

Saul’s heart had been set on murder. He had even gone so far as to speak to Jonathan, his son, and all his servants that they should kill David. Since David could not plead his case before Saul, Jonathan decided to intercede on behalf of David, and speak well of him.

Although by the end of his discourse Saul swore to Jonathan that David would not be killed, it could have ended very differently if he had not been persuaded. There was a risk in what Jonathan did on behalf of David, because Saul’s anger could just as readily have been kindled against Jonathan as it had been against David. Jonathan however, being a man of character and valuing his friendship with David, saw no choice but to intercede on his friend’s behalf, and compel Saul not to seek his destruction.

Not all the men of the Bible are as noble as Jonathan however, and there are instances wherein men pled with others to intercede on their behalf, and they refused to do so.

After refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife, and being framed for something he didn’t do, Joseph found himself incarcerated in the prison where the king’s prisoners were confined. Some time after his incarceration, the king’s butler and baker offended their lord, and were sent to the same prison Joseph had been confined to.

Both the baker and the butler had dreams which Joseph interpreted, telling one that he would be restored to his former office, and telling the other that within three days Pharaoh would order he be hanged from a tree.

Since Joseph knew that the butler would be restored to his office as Pharaoh’s cup bearer, he asked him to intercede on his behalf before Pharaoh, and put in a good word for him.

Genesis 40:14-15, “But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away from the land of the Hebrews; and also I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon.”

Just as Joseph had interpreted, on the third day the baker was hanged and the butler was restored to his former office.

Genesis 40:23, “Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”

Three days had passed since Joseph asked the butler to remember him, show him kindness, and mention him to Pharaoh. It wasn’t a year, it wasn’t six months, it was three days, but once the chief butler was restored to his station, he did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

We can choose to have the character of Jonathan, and intercede on behalf of those we know require our intercession, or the absence of character the butler exhibited, by forgetting those who plead with us to show them kindness, and remember them before the throne of grace.

We can exhibit selfishness or selflessness, we can remember others who are in difficulty when it is well with us, or forget about everyone else but ourselves.

If it is well with you, remember those for whom it isn’t, and intercede on their behalf before God. Remember that life has many twists and turns, and although it may be well with you today, it may not be tomorrow, and when it is no longer well with you, you will cherish and treasure the prayers of the saints on your behalf.

In recent years the household of faith has fostered an unhealthy attitude when it comes to praying for others, and interceding on their behalf. We have become so consumed with the self, with our own wellbeing, with our own prosperity, with our own blessing, that the notion of taking the time to pray for others seems anathema to us.

‘Why would I take time out of my busy schedule to pray for someone else, when I have an entire laundry list of things I need to ask God for?’

It has become all about us, what we need, what we want, and current doctrinal trends continue to fan the flame of this unbiblical hedonism. It’s all about living your best life, achieving your dreams, grasping that brass ring, and living up to your potential. In essence, it’s all about idolizing the self, being consumed with the self, and being wholly indifferent to the hurts, the trials, the setbacks, the tragedies, and the needs of those around us.

Strive to have a tender heart, strive to have a gentle spirit, strive to intercede on behalf of those who no longer have the strength to intercede or pray for themselves. Strive to be like Jesus, who with his final breaths interceded not only for His disciples, but even those who had nailed Him to the tree, and watched as His life ebbed away.

Prayers of intercession on behalf of others are precious in the sight of God, for when we pray such prayers we are exhibiting the nature of His Son Jesus. Do you want to be more like Jesus? Then begin by interceding on behalf of others every time you pray.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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