Sunday, June 25, 2006

Praying for friends

This weekend I'm reading Joy Dawson, Intercession: Thrilling and Fulfilling

A notable quotation from chapter 3 on praying for your friends:

"Moses, interceding for Aaron, his brother and partner in leadership, is another illustration. Aaron had made the golden calf for the people to worship and God had pronounced the judgment of death on him: 'And the Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, but at that time I prayed for Aaron too' (Deuteronomy 9:20). As a result, Aaron's life was spared. We must never underestimate the possibility of a reversal of God's judgment through our intercession for a leader or a friend. I know of no more awesome role. It happened in the Word of God, and it has happened since, numbers of times.

"I have often wondered what would have happened if Joshua or Caleb had interceded for Moses after God had pronounced judgment on him (Deuteronomy 3:26; 32:50-51). We have no record of anyone playing the role of an intercessor for Moses, as he had done for others. That's sad.

"Job learned the importance of praying for his friends after they had misjudged him and failed to pray for him. He had to forgive them and intercede for God's mercy to be released to them. When he did, God gave him twice as much as he had possessed before he had lost everything.
. . . .
"Three of Job's friends failed Job in his darkest and most distressing hours. 'When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.' (Job 2:11-13).

"These friends' strange reaction wouldn't have helped Job one iota. If they had interceded for Job during his trials, they would have been in a position to receive understanding from God and to know twhether they were to give Job counsel and, if so, of what nature. This would have kept them from giving the wrong counsel. Instead, they said that the cause of Job's problems was undealt-with sin, thereby judging him wrongly and adding to his distress.

"If these friends had interceded, God's purposes for Job's life could have been accelerated. Obedience to the command, 'Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:2 NKJV) means involvement, starting with intercession" (excerpted from pp. 30-32).