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Intercessary Prayer Changes History

Intercessary Prayer Changes History

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Published by glennpease
By means of intercession every believer has the power to make a difference in history.
By means of intercession every believer has the power to make a difference in history.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 29, 2010
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12/31/2010

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ITERCESSARY PRAYER CHAGES HISTORYBy Glenn PeasePrayer by its very nature implies that we live in an open universe where natural law does governthe vast majority of what happens, but there is openness where man's choices make a difference.If I drop this pen, the law of gravity will take it down, but I still choose to drop it or not. It is not just law that is in operation here, but freedom of choice. We are free to ask God to providentiallyenter into the whole law of life reality and bring about things that would not be if we had notasked. James says you have not because you ask not. There are things that do not happen becausewe do not ask them to happen. On the other hand things happen that would not happen becausewe do ask. Prayer is a demonstration of the reality of freedom in a universe of law.The DifferenceI got up early one morningand rushed right into the day;I had so much to accomplishthat I didn't have time to pray.Problems just tumbled about me,and heavier came each task."Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered.He answered, "You didn't ask."I wanted to see joy and beauty,but the day toiled on, gray and bleak;I wondered why God didn't show me.He said, "But you didn't seek."I tried to come into God's presence;I used all my keys at the lock,God gently and lovingly chided,"My child, you didn't knock."I woke up early this morning,and paused before entereing the day;I had so much to accomplishthat I had to take time to pray.-- Alan GrantShout and your voice goes the length of a football field, but pray and your voice goes all the wayto heaven. The most powerful example of this, and the greatest reason we need to pray for ournation is found in Ezek. 22:30-31, "I looked for a man among them who would build up the walland stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I foundnone. 31 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing
 
down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD."God wanted to spare his own people. They deserved judgment, but he would have let his grace bea greater force if only there had been someone to intercede on behalf of his people. o one cameforward to do so, probably thinking that it was too late, and their flimsy defense would beworthless. The result was, because man did not pray and give God a reason for mercy, that hehad to go through with the judgment and pour out his wrath on his own people. God's will in thissituation was dependent upon human choices. He would be merciful or wrathful depending, not just on his own will, but on the will of a human intercessor. Everyone who did not pray for God tobe merciful brought the fiery wrath of God on his people, and they would be a part of that peoplewho suffered his wrath. They could have been a part of his people who experienced his mercifulgrace, but they blew it. They had the power through prayer to change history for the better, butthey said, "o thanks. I have other things to do."The end of Job gives us a real look into the importance that God places on intercession. "Afterthe Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My wrath iskindled against you and your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as myservant Job has. ow therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, andoffer for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept hisprayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right,as my servant Job has done." So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar theaamathite went and did what the Lord had told them; and the Lord accepted Job's prayer. Andthe Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Jobtwice as much as he had before." (Job 42:7-10)We know that God sometimes answers a prayer while it is being prayed, but here is a case wherehe answered it long before it was prayed. His forgiveness of these friends of Job he madedependent upon Job's prayer for them. They deserved judgment, for they were wrong and hadreally bad theology about suffering, but God was willing to forgive them because Job was willingto pray for their forgiveness. Had Job not been willing, they would also have to come under thewrath of God. Prayer does change God's attitude and response to people.What about the prayer of Jesus from the cross, "Father for give them for they know not whatthey do." That was an intercession that saved the lives of all the evil men who plotted to killJesus. They were spared for nearly 40 years because of that intercession. Most all of the adultswho had anything to do with the death of Jesus would have been dead by the time of the greatdestruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. The prayer of Jesus postponed that judgment that the onesresponsible for the cross deserved. They escaped by his grace and intercessory prayer.Heb. 7:25, "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, becausehe always lives to intercede for them." Jesus specializes in intercession, and there is no way toknow how much judgment is escaped because of this ministry of Jesus on behalf of men.Rom. 8:26, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we oughtto pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." TheHoly Spirit also specializes in intercession. We should learn from this fact that two of the threePersons of the Godhead are involved in intercession, that it should play a major role in our livesas believers.
 
Someone wrote, "There is an erroneous idea in contemporary Christianity that those who offerup intercessory prayers are a special class of “super-Christians,” called by God to a specificministry of intercession. The Bible is clear that all Christians are called to be intercessors. AllChristians have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and, just as He intercedes for us in accordancewith God’s will (Romans 8:26-27), we are to intercede for one another. This is not a privilegelimited to an exclusive Christian elite; this is the command to all. In fact, not to intercede forothers is sin. “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to prayfor you” (1 Samuel 12:23).James Hastings, "With such examples before us, we cannot afford to neglect intercession. Indeed,we may well ask whether we have given anything like an adequate place to this most blessed andwonderful gift from God. The Rev. J. R. Miller has in one of his books a chapter entitled " TheSin of ot Praying for Others," and he writes : " Perhaps we are not accustomed to think of praying for others in just this way as a duty, the omission of which is a sin against God. We think of it as a privilege, but scarcely as a part of love's solemn duty. We are in danger of narrowingour prayers to ourselves and our own wants. We think of our own sorrows and trials, our ownduties, our own work, our own spiritual growth, and too often do not look out of the windowupon our friend's rough path or sore struggle. But selfishness in praying is one of the worst formsof selfishness. If ever love reaches its best and purest, it ought to be when we are standing beforeGod." ot praying for others is a sin of omission which should be sincerely repented of, and of which no Christian should be guilty again.Prayer assumes that God does not always work by a rigid pattern of law, but he is a person andnot a machine, and can act spontaneously and do things because of request. I have a pattern alsobut if my grand kids came to the door asking for me to do something unusual, I would respond tothat request and break my pattern. God is confessing that he is changed by the intercession of man. It is not true that whatever will be will be, for what is going to be, namely wrath, did nothave to be. It could have been different had there been prayer. Prayer changes God's plans. Godgives man a role in determining history. It is not all predetermined as many Christians teach.There is freedom for man to make a difference.In Matt. 10:1-28 Jesus says, "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers." This would bea meaningless exercise if God had already determined who would go, but it was not determined.Man could by prayer make sure that more would go than would if no one prayed. Prayer is aforce in the world because God ordained that man would be his partner in determining some of what happens in history.S.D. Gordon says prayer is war communication. We are soldiers behind enemy linescommunicating to our general. This means we each have a role to play in history. God hasdetermined that there are things that will not happen unless men desire them to happen enoughto pray for them to happen. If men do not recognize the importance of certain things, they willnot receive those things. Jesus said the Father knows what you need before you ask. So He doesnot need to be informed, but He does need you to know you need it before He will grant it. Thisdoes not cover all things, for God in His providence gives us much that we never pray for.Parents will buy their children food and clothing without any request, but a bicycle will probablyonly be purchases when they desire it enough to ask for it. Here is another example of how

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