“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 [of Israel] so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. 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” (Ezekiel 22:30-31; Also Read vv. 23-29).
Several years ago, I was making a determined effort to become a better intercessor. I tried to give it more time, cover more needs, and pray with greater intensity. For a while things went well. Soon, however, I found myself skipping these extended prayer times when it wasn’t convenient. But it bothered me that I could skip prayer so easily.
When I asked the Lord for insight on this, he helped me see that my problem was that I didn’t really believe intercession changed anything. It seemed that life went on normally around me whether I prayed or not.
Then God brought me to Ezekiel 22. He showed me that intercessors, who by means of their prayers “build up the wall and stand…in the gap,” are absolutely crucial to his government of the world. When I asked the question, “Would the history of Israel have been different if God had found an intercessor?” I had to answer “yes.” When I asked a further question, “Does the history of my family, church, or neighborhood depend on my intercession?” the answer again was “yes.”
God seeks intercessors not because he lacks the wisdom or power to govern the world without them but because he, in his sovereign good pleasure, has chosen to govern the world through the prayers of his people. Intercession is not optional. It is a necessary and important part of God’s way of working.
Things will happen when we pray that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t prayed. And things will not happen if we do not pray that would have happened if we had prayed.
In the New Testament era, God the Father always finds an intercessor to “build up the wall and stand before [him] in the gap.” The One he finds is Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make intercession (Hebrews 7:25). But Christ does not pray alone. Our intercessory prayers are coupled with his. And he, by means of his Spirit, prays through us.
No wonder the kingdom is advancing and the gospel is spreading to every nation in the world. It’s because of prayer. Are your prayers contributing to the worldwide purposes of the Father?
All-Powerful God, I praise You for the greatness of your might and the wisdom of Your choice to govern the world through the prayers of Your people. Thank You for the awesome and humbling privilege of ruling the world with You through my prayers of intercession. Give me the grace I need to be a consistently faithful intercessor intent on the purposes of Your heart.
–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God as the one who speaks “in your language.” Give thanks for God’s ongoing communication with you through his Word. Confess the fact that sometimes God speaks, but you disobediently choose not to listen. Commit yourself to the active obedience of young Samuel, who said, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:10). Ask God to give you ears to hear his message.
Pray that those close to you will also have the desire to listen to God and to obey his Word.
“An hour of prayer at the beginning of the [council] meeting actually shortens the overall meeting time by bringing a greater spirit of unity, by emphasizing spiritual priorities, and by opening people’s hearts to the Spirit’s guidance.” – Anonymous
Christmas Gift Idea:
Praying the Word of God for Your Church!
One of the most important things you can do to grow the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is to pray regularly for your church. Pray the Word for Your Church, by Ty King, includes 31 powerful Scripture-based prayers that will help you focus on the things that are on God’s heart for His Church. Far more than just written prayers, each prayer will stimulate you to go further into prayer. It also includes a 21-page “Praying for My Church Community Journal” that provides space to organize and record your own prayers for specific ministries and people in your church.
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