Sliding to Disaster
Indeed prayer does change the world, but even more so it changes me!
A real prayer warrior is one who is willing to forsake his own interests and is able to love those he prays for with sacrificial compassion.
One of the earliest examples of such intercessory prayer can be found in the person of Moses.
Israel had sinned greatly against God by making a golden calf and worshipping it. Moses was coming down Sinai with the Ten Commandments in his arms, broken before he was able to deliver them to the Israelites. How wishy-washy any of us can truly be!
Then Moses heard God say: “Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” (Ex 32:10 NIV)
For some reason, Moses’ heart melted at those words. Although a great promise was given to him, with God promising to make a “great nation” from his descendants, a promise anyone of us would jump at, he set his self-interest aside. In all modesty he focused on the rebellious people in front of him who had forsaken the God who had so miraculously rescued them from Egypt.
For forty days and forty nights he pleaded with God for their sake. 40 days and 40 nights! Would we even last one day? He truly loved those people in front of him! He didn’t want them destroyed, though at times he sure got impatient with them!
“I lay prostrate before the LORD those forty days and forty nights because the LORD had said he would destroy you. I prayed to the LORD and said, ‘O Sovereign LORD, do not destroy your people, your own inheritance that you redeemed by your great power and brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overlook the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin.’” (Deut 9:25-27 NIV)
Moses had a heart for God, a heart all of us should have, if we truly want to experience God fully like he did. He was reflecting the love that He had encountered in God himself, a love way beyond our understanding.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39 NIV)
He was so filled with God’s love that he was willing to sacrifice himself to save these rebellious people: “Perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” (Ex 32:30 NIV)
“Now, please forgive their sin – but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” (Ex 32:32 NIV)
Only one other person I know of in the Bible was willing to sacrifice himself in favor of erring children: the apostle Paul!
“For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” (Rom 9:3-4 NIV)
These two pioneers knew about intercessory prayer and were willing to sacrifice their own lives for those they prayed for. They are the ones who fully demonstrated the love Jesus encourages us all to cultivate: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13 NIV)
Their prayers changed the world, and it changed them as well.
If we can pray with fervor for personal needs and see God in action, imagine how much more we would experience Him if we prayed with sacrificial love for others! No mountain would be too big to be removed!
Like the time when I was facing black ice on the road during the winter two years ago. The thing with black ice is that it is not visible, therefore, I was unaware that I was heading for disaster. I was approaching a stop sign of a busy intersection. My anti-lock brakes engaged, vibrating as they always do, but the distance to the stop sign was too short for the brakes to be effective on ice. I was sliding straight into the intersection, where heavy traffic was zooming by, and none of them were paying any attention to my predicament. There was no way to avoid being hit!
The anti-lock brakes were still vibrating when I cried out, “Lord, help me!” Barely were these words out of my mouth when I felt a force act against the advancing van, and we stopped right at the stop sign. Not one inch further. I couldn’t resist thanking God profusely.
Imagine if we interceded with that same fervor for the needs of others! That is what dedicated prayer warriors do. God is still looking for Moseses and Pauls who, by relying only on our loving God, will revolutionize the world with their passionate prayers. Will you be one of them?