Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 41

Prayers of Intercession continued...

Even when it comes to sifting the saints, Satan must ask permission of God. ‘Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.’ Satan asks to sift the saints, and often times our prayers of intercession on behalf of the brethren, either strengthens the saints in the midst of their sifting, or compels God to answer Satan in the negative.

The enemy is always looking for permission to sift us, he is always looking for a weakness he can exploit, he is always looking for a chink in our armor, or a situation in which we are not prayed up. The enemy is never far from a true believer, and he waits patiently, biding his time, looking for his opportunity to strike.

One of the most frequent prayers of intercession I find myself praying is for those who hear the word of God to understand it, and for God not to allow the enemy to snatch it away. This is also the reason I often belabor a point, trying to bring it across as clearly and completely as possible, so that the words are understood, and the seed that was sown might take root.

Matthew 13:19, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.”

We cannot underestimate our enemy, his resolve, or the depths of his desire to see us shackled in sin once more. Many a soul has been thoroughly neutralized from being useful to the kingdom of God because they underestimated the enemy they faced, and did not remain watchful and on guard.

Anyone that has ever gone through the sifting knows that it is not an easy thing to go through. Most if not all mature believers I know have gone through a season of sifting, whether long or short, and they knew what it was for the enemy to come at them with everything he had, and still remain standing in God.

I fear we have so thoroughly redefined what it is to live a life in Christ, and what it means to be wholly surrendered to God, that for most believers today the sifting is an unexpected thing, something they had not prepared for, nor had been warned was likely to occur in their spiritual journey.

Because the spiritual leaders of the day know less of God than a layman would have fifty years ago, whenever the sifting occurs in the life of an individual, or member of their congregation, they scratch their heads, act befuddled, but don’t really know what answer to give to those whose faith is being tested.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing sometimes, and this is especially true of those dealing with spiritual issues, or are overseers of the spiritual wellbeing of others. Just because you know how to take a good offering, and get people excited about opening their wallets does not qualify you for being a preacher, elder, pastor, or bishop. Just saying!

Yes, this is a sensitive issue with me, because I’ve had countless people write me, or come up to me after a service, distraught because their pastor told them they were under judgment, when what was happening to them, was that they were having their faith tested. They were being sifted, not judged.

Mentally, and even spiritually, one acts and reacts differently when they know that they are being sifted, when they know that their faith is being tested, and when they believe they have come under the judgment of God.

When someone in spiritual authority starts telling you you’re under judgment, you automatically start weighing your life, judging yourself, to see where it was that you disobeyed God, or offended Him. Seeing as it’s not judgment but testing, one begins to grow exceedingly frustrated when they don’t find anything in their life they know they ought to have repented of, when they don’t discover anything deserving of judgment, yet their situation has not improved or changed.

It is a dangerous thing to misinterpret certain events in an individual’s life, just as it’s a dangerous thing for a doctor to misdiagnose your disease.

If you’ve got diabetes but the doctor tells you it’s a vitamin deficiency, what you take, or keep from taking, might cause you to get worse, or even die.

When someone is going through a trial, when someone is going through a hardship, rather than attempt to diagnose it, intercede on their behalf, and ask God to strengthen them, and keep them, an comfort them, and cover them through it.

Unless God specifically speaks to you, and tells you to tell them that it’s a test, or that it’s judgment, keep silent. Silence ought to be a man’s best friend, and many a heartache could have been spared, many a deception stillborn, if men had just held their tongue and remained silent.

Rather than being more like Jesus, we have the tendency to be more like Job’s friends when we see a brother or a sister going through a trial or a sifting. Rather than offer comfort, rather than pray with them, and for them, and be there in their time of need, we point the finger and imperiously declare that surely they must have offended God somehow, that surely they must have sinned, for only an offense in the sight of God could bring about such monumental setbacks.

Unless God reveals to you what the situation is, you don’t know what the situation is, but it is your duty first and foremost to weep with those who weep, and intercede on behalf of those who can no longer intercede or pray for themselves. May God give us wisdom, and ears to hear.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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