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Types of Prayer 4

Types of Prayer Part 4 We have been looking at types of prayer mentioned in the Bible. Today we will examine the prayer of intercession. Although some prayers may seem to overlap, it is good to have a basic understanding of the distinct characteristics of each. Often when we approach our Father in prayer, we incorporate more than one type of these methods or ways. This is normal and we usually do it unconsciously. The word intercession in Webster's Dictionary means: 1: the act of interceding 2: prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another This is one of the most powerful prayers we can pray, and I believe it thrills the Fathers heart to see us stand in the gap for others. This is what our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, does for us continually. Praise God! As always, let’s look at scriptural examples. These will build us up in the faith and help us to come boldly before the Throne of God on behalf of others. These should also encourage us to partner with the Lord Jesus in His ongoing ministry for the His Church and those who are turning to Him for salvation. Our first examples of intercession are found in the Old Testament. There are many to choose from, but these should give us a clear understanding of how powerful this type of prayer is, especially when we see how it brought God’s mercy into play on behalf of rebellious and disobedient people. Abraham Intercedes for Sodom Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes." Then Abraham answered and said, "Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?" So He said, "If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it." And he spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose there should be forty found there?" So He said, "I will not do it for the sake of forty." Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." And he said, "Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty." Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of ten." So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place. Genesis 18:22-33 This is quite a long passage, but it shows God’s willingness to have mercy on a nation or people when someone intercedes. Our next Old Testament examples show God’s willingness to even forego judging wicked leaders when someone intercedes for them. This does not mean these leaders will not be judged eventually, if they refuse to repent, but it does show God’s willingness to withhold judgement and to give them space to turn and do what’s right. A Man of God Confronts Jeroboam And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar! Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burned on you.' " And he gave a sign the same day, saying, "This is the sign which the LORD has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out." So it came to pass when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, who cried out against the altar in Bethel, that he stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, "Arrest him!" Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself. The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. Then the king answered and said to the man of God, "Please entreat the favor of the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me." So the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king's hand was restored to him, and became as before. 1Kings 13:1-6 This story amazes me, first of all, because the man of God was willing to pray for this wicked king, and secondly, because God answered his prayer and restored the king’s hand. What would happen if we all began to use this type of prayer more often as the Holy Spirit leads. It must have been this type of prayer that resulted in Saul of Tarsus’ conversion (Acts 9). Moses Intercedes for Israel And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread." So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. Numbers 21:5-9 This is another amazing passage of scripture. Obviously, the people of Israel were rebelling against God and His chosen leader and were justly being punished for their sin and insurrection. So, when the judgement fell upon them, the people quickly realized the man they condemned was the only one who could beg for God’s mercy on their behalf, which, thankfully, Moses did. The result was an instruction from the Lord on how the people could be saved and healed. It still required cooperation on their part, but it beat dying in the wilderness from snake bites. As you meditate upon these Old Testament examples they will become revelation in your own heart, as to how God waits for someone to intercede. He is a just God, but full of mercy and compassion when we earnestly seen Him. Next time we will look at New Testament examples of intercession. Until then, may our God and Heavenly Father richly bless and keep you. James Brown 01/01/2023
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