One of the areas that I believe is least understood by Christians is the partnership that God has called us to with Himself in the area of prayer. God, in His wisdom and sovereign power, has chosen to accomplish His will on this planet through the prayers of His people. God has decided not to arbitrarily move in and out of situations on earth, even though He is able to do just that. Instead, He waits on His people to pray and then pours out His power in response to those prayers.
Ezekiel 22:30 is a passage of Scripture that illustrates this principle of how the Lord works. “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” God uses the illustration of a walled city to demonstrate His commitment to prayer. The walls protect a city from enemy attack. But through neglect (sin), the walls can begin to crumble and a gap or opening in the wall can create a dangerous situation where the enemy can come in. God said of Israel in Ezekiel’s day, that they had allowed such a situation to develop. It was going to result in the destruction of the land, unless someone stood before the Lord in the gap on behalf of the land. This is a clear picture of God’s desire for us to engage in intercessory prayer.
What is absolutely heartbreaking is that God Himself was looking for an intercessor. He was looking for someone who would stand before Him in prayer on behalf of Israel so that He would not have to destroy her because of sin and rebellion. God’s desire is made clear here. He did not want to destroy Israel. He was waiting for an intercessor so He wouldn’t have to. God had chosen to reserve His power to save the nation of Israel for those who prayed. But no intercessor was to be found. Israel was defeated by the Babylonians and her people were in exile for 70 years.
Gracious God, how often have I failed to stand in the gap when You have urged me to intercede? Holy Spirit, You have prompted me and I have let my heart and mind drift to other pursuits instead of the holy endeavors of intercession. Forgive me, and strengthen my resolve to listen and obey when you call me into the gap!
–Adapted from the article Partnering with God in Prayer by Dave Butts, author of the book Desperate for Change: Forty Days of Prayer for America. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise Jesus, who is the gate of salvation (Jn. 10:7-10). Thank him for bringing you through that gate and for the security you find inside. Confess those times when you seek security in something other than Jesus. Commit yourself to being a doorkeeper in the house of God rather than dwelling in the tents of wickedness (Ps. 84:10). Ask God to use you to attract those outside of Christ to enter into a saving relationship with him.
Pray that your church will march triumphantly against the hosts of Satan, with the assurance that the gates of hell cannot prevail against God’s church (Mt. 16:18).
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:6-7
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