Intercessory prayer of the saints

Intercessory-prayer

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

 

 

 

 

Prayer for spiritual needs are answered

Kisongo Trek Resource

Another great Psalm that leads us to prayer is Psalm 79. It starts with lament, moves into supplication and then there is prayer for vindication, forgiveness and reprisal and finally ending in praise for God responding.

Lord, will you be angry with us forever?
    Will your anger continue to burn like fire? – Psalm 79:5 GNT

I love that the writer did not ask why there was trouble but rather the question of how long must they suffer. It is the question that moved them from lament to prayer.

Turn your anger on the nations that do not worship you,
    on the people who do not pray to you. – Psalm 79:6 GNT

Doesn’t this make sense – why pick on me? Why not the ones who are really out of line? Hear us the prayerful, and mess around with the prayerless.

Do not punish us for the sins of our ancestors.
    Have mercy on us now;
    we have lost all hope. – Psalm 79:8 GNT

The urgency of the prayer was the acknowledgment that there were generational sins involved. I need to make this my prayer and make it a continual prayer. 

The concept of former iniquities suggests a principle. “Sins accumulate against nations. Generations lay up stores of transgressions to be visited upon their successors; hence this urgent prayer.” – Spurgeon

The Book of Common Prayer has this verse sounding like this –

O remember not our old sins, but have mercy upon us, and that soon; for we are come to great misery.”

I have never called on God in regards to His honour, but I like it when I read this prayer here. One day I might have too.

Help us, O God, and save us;
    rescue us and forgive our sins
    for the sake of your own honor. – Psalm 79:9 GNT

I will try to wisely use it understanding it will be my greatest weapon when I am in battle with the evil one. In fact, is not the name and honour of God the mightiest weapon I have when it comes to prayer?

“Prayer is therefore here made by the faithful, that God, not to gratify any vindictive spirit of theirs, but to vindicate his own attributes, would break the teeth of the oppressor, and work a public and glorious salvation for his chosen.” – Horne

There is something about God watching over me that gives me joy in the midst of my troubles.

I watch over it and water it continually. I guard it night and day so that no one will harm it. – Isaiah 27:3 GNT

In fact this idea comes from Jesus teaching on delivering me from evil and I know He hears for His is the power. For this reason I have courage when I pray today.

We have courage in God’s presence, because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. He hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him. – 1 John 5:14-15 GNT

My courage comes from the assurance of eternal life. I am not sure that one could pray according to the will of God except that they would be in a place where they have already prayed asking God to save them from their sins.

THE PROMISE: WHEN WE PRAY, GOD HEARS US AND WE HAVE THE REQUESTS THAT WE ASK OF HIM

Isn’t this why prayer is not optional – it is absolutely essential for if I do not pray then I am not living by faith in God. And if I do not pray, I am trusting in myself, which is no difference to what the world is doing.

  • This promise means I can have courage when I approach God in prayer
  • This promise means I come into His presence when I pray
  • This promise means I can ask anything according to His will and He will hear me
  • This promise means that I know He hears me and I will receive from Him the requests that I have asked from Him

Here is a truth I know to be real – I must ask according to God’s will. Only when I do not know God am I not seeking God’s will in prayer. Prayer is not talking God into giving me what I want, it is rather me submitting my will to His.

Maybe the big question is, how do I determine what God’s will is? And the next difficulty to overcome is how can I pray according to God’s will when His ways are not even my ways – I am thinking in ways that make sense to me. Ask John when it came to the death of his brother James. James died, yet Peter was rescued from the same fate. Notice Jesus did not pray that Peter would be able to resist the evil one’s attack, as I would have, He prayed rather that Peter’s faith would not fail and that he would be restored.

Prayer is what I do even when I do not understand God’s will or ways. I should be praying for God to give life to whose who are separated from Him.

If you see a believer commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray to God, who will give that person life. This applies to those whose sins do not lead to death. But there is sin which leads to death, and I do not say that you should pray to God about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which does not lead to death. – 1 John 5:16-17 GNT

Prayer is essential in the restoration process.

…thou must in thy meditation quicken thy own heart. Enter into a serious debate with it. Plead with it in the most moving and affecting language, and urge it with the most powerful and weighty arguments. It is what holy men of God have practiced in all ages. Thus David: ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.’ And again; ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul! and forget not all his benefits!’ This soliloquy is to be made use of according to the several affections of the soul, and according to its several necessities. It is a preaching to one’s self; for as every good master or father of a family is a good preacher to his own family, so every good Christian is a good preacher to his own soul. – Richard Baxter