See the prequel to this article here
Using our Bibles, let’s make entreaties on behalf of all men, doing so without ceasing, until God says stop, do not pray for this people.
If you’d to choose someone to pray for you, who would you enlist? Does it make a difference? God’s messages through two major prophets indicate it would. Five men are singled out: Noah; Job; Moses; Samuel; Daniel; (Ezek. 14:14; Jer. 15:1) to which list we might add Elijah, who’s quoted as an example of effective praying in the New Testament. Furthermore, James 5:16 tells us that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. During the time of the sixteenth-century Scottish Reformation, the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, is reputed to have said, ‘I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.’ It’s those who know their God who do exploits (Dan. 11:32).
Moses was someone who knew God well, through God’s revelation of himself to him. Although others earlier in history had known God’s personal name (Yahweh, י ה ו ה), it was to Moses that God disclosed its significance (Ex. 6:2-8 and Ex. 34:6-7). How did this godly knowledge, as well as his empathy for his people, influence his intercession? In a word, significantly. Just read Exodus 32:11-13 when Moses intercedes with God on behalf of the disastrous start of his people, so soon after promising to be faithful. Daniel, also listed above, gives us another outstanding example of effective intercession rooted in a deep knowledge of God (Dan. 9:4-19). These biblical intercessors set out the big picture of God’s past faithful dealings and historical promises, acknowledging his character, while pleading his name (which refers to the specific attributes of his character).
Does it make a difference? God’s messages through two major prophets indicate it would.
It’s striking that the righteous Daniel says ‘we have sinned…’ (Dan. 9:5). And Moses goes as far as saying ‘blot me out…’ (Ex. 32:32). There’s full confession of dependence and weakness. These prayer warriors were bold, but also self-effacing. They identified with their people’s failure as they interceded without any personal self-righteousness (even although they weren’t complicit in the failings which were then exposing the people to God’s anger).
There’s a real sense from these Bible examples that God delights in praying like this which rehearses his past exploits, quotes back examples of his grace and patience, while holding him to his own promises in his Word, even as it pleads his own revealed character. Using our Bibles, let’s make ‘entreaties…on behalf of all men…’ (1 Tim. 2:1), doing so ‘without ceasing’ (1 Thes. 5:17), until God says stop, ‘do not pray for this people’ (Jer. 7:16).
Brian Johnston, The Church of God in Leigh