Moses was a man of intercessory prayer.
“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Cut two stone tablets like the first ones and make a wooden Box to put them in. Come up to me on the mountain, and I will write on those tablets what I wrote on the tablets that you broke, and then you are to put them in the Box.’
“So I made a Box of acacia wood and cut two stone tablets like the first ones and took them up the mountain. Then the Lord wrote on those tablets the same words that he had written the first time, the Ten Commandments that he gave you when he spoke from the fire on the day you were gathered at the mountain. The Lord gave me the tablets, and I turned and went down the mountain. Then, just as the Lord had commanded, I put them in the Box that I had made—and they have been there ever since.”
“I stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time. The Lord listened to me once more and agreed not to destroy you. Then he told me to go and lead you, so that you could take possession of the land that he had promised to give to your ancestors. – Deuteronomy 10:1-5, 10-11 GNT
What I love about this is how God, the same God whom Israel had offended, was the One who gave them Moses to lead them, it was He who taught Moses how to pray and it was He who sustained his pleading power.
What I might fail to realize is that the very same God who guards Law by the holiest sanctions, has also provided for the efficacy of interceding prayer. He would much rather turn from His anger because He delights in mercy.
It is in his mediating that Moses illustrates the working of this law – that God desires to be approached by His saints in prayer on behalf of others. Paul illustrated so many times in his letters how much he depended on the prayers of the saints as a model of this same point.
So when I read a Psalm like Psalm 94 – a prayer for vengeance – it is done as an expression of anticipation for the very thing that God has promised to do.
Hezekiah’s prayer asking God to deliver him from a deadly illness is such a prayer. God hears his prayer and sends Isaiah to tell him so.
In many ways his prayer looks more like a psalm and even has a lament (vv.10-16) in it and includes a portion of thanks (vv.17-20) being given for his recovery. He even states how death cannot praise God (v. 18), a cry many of the psalms declare.
Then the Lord commanded Isaiah to go back to Hezekiah and say to him, “I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will let you live fifteen years longer. – Isaiah 38:4-5 GNT
God does respond to my prayers, He hears them and He answers them. Prayer really matters. When I pray, I am praying to my God who knows what is best. He is the one I trust, knows much better than I what is for my good and He wants to be gloried and accomplish His ultimate purpose in my world.
Revelation has much to say about the prayers of the saints as they are described as the burning of incense.
Another angel, who had a gold incense container, came and stood at the altar. He was given a lot of incense to add to the prayers of all God’s people and to offer it on the gold altar that stands before the throne. The smoke of the burning incense went up with the prayers of God’s people from the hands of the angel standing before God. – Revelation 8:3-4 GNT
I know that I have sometimes seen my prayers hitting a brass ceiling or have been balloons that are trapped by my ceiling – the truth is they are faithful prayers that ascend to heaven and are heard. As a side note, it looks like there is an angel involved here as well.
What an encouraging thought to meditate on especially when I do not find it easy to pray.
I can see two reasons why my prayers involve God’s mercy and why I need to remember the absolute importance of prayer.
First, this is the age of salvation and a right prayer with a right heart will ask for God’s will to be done.
Secondly, that age of salvation is now. I believe one day it will be too late, but for now, it is God’s will that all will be offered salvation. It is my prayers, joined with many others, that will see this happen in our lifetime.
We must now examine this question. How do we receive those benefits which the Father bestowed on his only-begotten Son—not for Christ’s own private use, but that he might enrich poor and needy men? First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us. Therefore, to share with us what he has received from the Father, he had to become ours and to dwell within us. For this reason, he is called “our Head” [Eph. 4:15], and “the first-born among many brethren” [Rom. 8:29]. We also, in turn, are said to be “engrafted into him” [Rom. 11:17], and to “put on Christ” [Gal. 3:27]; for, as I have said, all that he possesses is nothing to us until we grow into one body with him. It is true that we obtain this by faith. Yet since we see that not all indiscriminately embrace that communion with Christ which is offered through the gospel, reason itself teaches us to climb higher and to examine into the secret energy of the Spirit, by which we come to enjoy Christ and all his benefits… the Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ effectually unites us to himself. – John Calvin