Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“When I cry unto Thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.”
King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
King James Version
“Why I Believe In Prayer” Part 3
“Talking to men (or women) for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men (and women) is greater still.”
E. M. Bounds
What does it mean to me to intercede on behalf of another person?
Who am I interceding with God on behalf of at this time?
“To make intercession for men (and women) is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.”
Definition of Intercession: To intervene on behalf of another. An entreaty in favor of another person.
Definition of Intercession in the Hebrew in the Old Testament: To cause to entreat. (Entreaty: to make an earnest request or petition.)
Definition of Intercession in the Greek in the New Testament: To confer with. To entreat exceedingly, abundantly. To go beyond and above on the part of the one we are offering petitions for.
“For we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man (or woman) seeth, why doth he (or she) yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
King James Version
I am sharing with you this week just a few of the important reasons I believe in prayer, beginning with the fact that while I live on planet earth, prayer is the greatest communion I can have with my heavenly Father and on behalf of other individuals around me – not just the people I know, but as I shared with you yesterday, prayer gives me an open heart for every person in this world – and I know it has done the same for many of you, too. As William Law correctly expressed, “There is nothing that makes us love a man (or woman) so much as praying for them.”
This is why I want to take time today to study about what it means to “intercede” on behalf of another person in our life.
Our study text for today is taken from the final chapter in the book of Job. After living a life of honor before God, as well as following his Father’s heavenly purpose, we find that this man whom the Bible calls, “perfect and upright…and who feared God and eschewed evil,” was attacked by Satan in the most heart-rending manner possible. Not only were all of Job’s children killed but he also had every material possession stripped away. To add to the burden, he was struck with boils from head toe. Yet, following calamity after calamity piled on Job, we are told in Job 1: 20, 21 (K.J.V.), that this man of God, upon hearing the bitter news that his children were tragically killed and that his flocks and herds were destroyed, Job “rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and – worshipped,” or as the Hebrew translation tells us, Job paid reverence to God by saying, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Then there is this very notable phrase, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
As I studied Job 1: 22, the Hebrew translation gives us this glimpse into this marvelous verse. Here’s how the sentence reads when expanded by the Hebrew meaning: “In everything, the whole debacle and tragedy, not in any manner did Job blame or condemn God, nor was he led astray. Nor did he forfeit his hold on his Father. Furthermore, Job did not ascribe or bestow the responsibility or fault of any of the terrible things that happened to him on God, even in a frivolous way. It would have been absurdly ruinous to do so and shown a lack of understanding or foresight on Job’s part to come to such a conclusion.”
From this text in Job 1: 22, I want to go to the last chapter in Job where we find our study text for today in Job 42: 9, 10, which reads in The Message Bible, “And God accepted Job’s prayer. After Job had interceded for his friends, God restored his fortune – and then doubled it.”
Now I’m not using this particular text of Scripture as a promise that if you pray for others your wealth will double. But from personal experience, I can tell you that interceding on behalf of others in our lives, makes majestic changes in our own lives. It did in Job’s and we are going to study more about this tomorrow. There is a Yiddish Proverb which states, “If you pray for another, you will be helped yourself.” Over and over again I have found this to be true. In fact, in a recent article I read regarding depression, one psychologist suggested that prayerful attention to the needs of others has been found to be helpful in lifting the moods of those who find themselves downcast over difficult circumstances in their own lives. I love the words of Michael Baughen who encourages us, “Do not let us fail one another in interest, care, and practical help, but supremely we must not fail one another in prayer.”
As one person observed, when we pray for one another, it is as though the power of prayer links us, as we hold hands walking the slippery path of life.
I wish there was a way, with words, to properly convey to you the blessing I have received praying for the requests that come to Transformation Garden, many from individuals whom I may never meet. What has surprised me most is the closeness I feel with so many of you as we have shared the most personal needs that tear at our hearts, knowing that while we as humans don’t know what the perfect solution is to every problem, we can give each trial and heartache to our Father who does know exactly what we need and when we need the blessing that is for our best. As Samuel Rutherford shared many years ago, “I have benefited by praying for others; for by making an errand to God for them I have gotten something for myself.”
And this thought is what led me to Romans 8: 24-28 which I placed at the beginning of this section of today’s devotional.
Sometimes I think I have found myself perplexed by what it means to “intercede” on behalf of another person. But as Francis McConnell notes, “The prayer that we find hardest to comprehend, namely, the intercessory (prayer), Jesus took most easily and naturally for granted.” Frequently in the life of Jesus, His prayers focused on the needs of others around Himself, even those who called Him an enemy, and yet Jesus prayed for everyone. As we found out last week, just in one chapter in the Gospels, John 17, Jesus prayed for us 50 times!
As the Apostle Paul so touchingly shared with his friends in Rome, we are promised that the “Spirit” makes intercession for us and as one of my “prayer heroes,” Oswald Chambers, very clearly details: “Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men (and women).”
As you consider, in your own life each day, the joy that is before each of us as we pray for one another, I hope this inspiring thought by Robert McCheyne will fill your heart with an expanded love for interceding for others as Christ intercedes for each of us: “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me!”
“An intercessor means one who is in such vital contact with God and with his fellowmen that he (she) is like a live wire closing the gap between the saving power of God and the sinful men (and women) who have been cut off from that power.”
A Prayer for Our Neighbor’s Needs
“Guide us that we may be more sensitive to our neighbor’s needs.
We pray for awareness of those needs:
the need of the old to know they are wanted,
the need of the young to feel they are listened to,
the need of all people to know the yare of value.
Lord, keep us aware.”
Women of New Zealand
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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