Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 139

Prayers of the Old Testament
The prayer of Abraham continued...

As long as you live, and as long as the sinner for which you are praying still breathes and has not come to stand before the judgment seat of Christ, keep praying, and keep interceding. There is still hope.

The word of God teaches us that Abraham stood in the gap; he interceded for Sodom though Sodom did not know anyone was interceding on their behalf.

A prayer of intercession, whether for an individual or a nation, is essentially standing in the gap, standing in the breach, and pleading with God to relent from His predetermined judgments.

Psalm 106:23, “Therefore He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach, to turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them.”

This is an instance when intercession bore fruit. Moses interceded on behalf of Israel, whom God, in His wrath, had purposed to destroy, and because he stood in the breach, God turned away His wrath and did not destroy them.

It took one man to save a nation from destruction. It took one true servant such as Moses, to stand in the breach and plead on behalf of the people of Israel, and God relented, and His wrath was turned away because one man prayed.

If you’ve ever wanted to know the true power of prayer, this is it!

One man prayed, and the wrath of God was turned away. One man prayed, and an entire nation was spared destruction.

Jeremiah 18:19-20, “Give heed to me, O Lord, and listen to the voice of those who contend with me! Shall evil be repaid for good? For they have dug a pit for my life. Remember that I stood before You to speak good for them, and to turn away Your wrath from them.”

We find Jeremiah praying to God, reminding Him of his intercession on behalf of the selfsame people who were contending with him, and who had dug a pit for his life. Jeremiah had prayed for his people, he had stood before God and spoke well of them, that God’s wrath might be turned away, and the people repaid him by trying to take his life.

Yes, often times good is repaid with evil, and those for which we pray despise us all the more earnestly. Yes, often times the only recompense for having spent hours on end in prayer on behalf of someone will be their disdain, but God remembers our prayers, He sees our hearts, and gives to each one according to their works.

We cannot grow cold, disheartened, or indifferent just because those for which we are praying are persecuting us or treating us as though we were a reproach to them. When the day comes that they see the light, receive truth, and are transformed by the grace of Christ, those selfsame individuals who are now defaming and denigrating you, will thank God for your prayers, and thank you for never giving up on them.

Even so, it is not about the thanks you might one day receive from those for whom you interceded, it is about the fact that God seeks a man who will stand in the gap before Him on behalf of the land.

Ezekiel 22:30, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

To this day God is looking for intercessors. He is looking for those who would consider others before themselves, and pray on behalf of others instead of praying for themselves. God honors such hearts, and lends His ear to their pleas. God is looking for one who would intercede, who would make a wall, and stand in the gap, and pray for the land that God would not destroy it. Will He find someone, or will it be as it was?

Ezekiel 33:7-8, “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.”

If we who know the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, and the heart of God will not intercede, stand in the gap and make a wall, who will?

Abraham interceded on behalf of the vilest city of his time, and asked that God spare it due to the handful of righteous souls therein. Warn the wicked…it is your duty. Warn the wicked that their blood might not be required of your hand.

Abraham did his duty before God, and God blessed him for it. Abraham prayed, he interceded, he petitioned God repeatedly and persistently, and God gave in to his petitions time and again.

Have we done all we can to intercede on behalf of the lost? Have we petitioned God ardently and fervently on behalf of those we might not even know, except that they need salvation?

These are questions only we can answer upon searching our hearts diligently. We behold the men and women of the Bible, we see their lives of prayer and humility, and we realize that they were human just as we are human, and yet they were able to have the ear of God, and through their prayers compel God to withhold His wrath and relent in judging.

God has not changed, and His heart is still tender toward the intercessors among us. God still sees, God still hears, and God still answers. May we intercede as Abraham interceded so we may know the presence and power of God as Abraham did!

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Mrs. Pugh said...

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I would ask for prayer in regards to this very topic.

I have a friend who has always claimed to be a Christian. However, in the past month it has become very clear that she is taking a stand against God's very clear word. I pray for her, I am pleased to stand in the gap, but I also need to confront her and I'm fearful that it will go badly.

Please pray that God's grace will be on us both as this conversation takes place. That my words will only speak God's truth and that her heart will be receptive.

Thanks, Mrs. Pugh