The love of God makes you feel differently about others needs. Let it cost you something. Pray for others, for leaders, and for what God wants.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Oh, I trust so. This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you.
We are looking at 1 Timothy, chapter 2. Paul said, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; in order that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Now, he says, I “exhort.” That is a, a loving urgency. It’s not a command so much as it is a loving, urgent plea, and he said, “What we need to do, is to, is to come to God in supplication, prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving.”
Supplication first. Remember we talked about that? Come as a supplicant, come by way of the Cross, come by way of the, the bowed heart and the wet eyes. Vance Havner used to say, “We will have revival when Mr. Amen and Mr. Wet-Eyes meet, kneeling at the altar.” Then, prayer has to do with worship.
Intercession has to do with getting under the burden of the other person’s need. You don’t really intercede for somebody unless you feel his need and get under the burden of it and become vulnerable to it. I think the, the classic example of, of intercession would be found in the prayer of Moses as recorded for us in Exodus. Do you remember that?
I’m turning over to that passage now in the pages of my big Bible here, and I’ll read it for you. “God spoke to Moses and He said, ‘Let Me alone and I’ll make a new nation out of you. I will destroy all of them and I’ll make a nation out of you.’” Well, God said, “Oh, these people have sinned a great sin. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin -; but if not, blot Me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written.” This is Exodus chapter 32, verse 32. “If thou wilt forgive their sin -” (there’s a dash there) “and if not, blot Me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” “Show me if I’ve found grace in my sight. Show me now Thy way and that I may find grace and consider that this nation is Thy people. If Thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence.”
That’s intercession. He’s willing to lose his own salvation for someone else. That is just about as far as you can go. Paul the apostle did the same thing, as you recall. He said, “Brother, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved,” and he said – I’m turning in the pages over here to Romans, chapter 10 – he said, “I could wish myself accursed from God for my kinsmen according to the flesh, the Israelites.” See, “a great heaviness and sorrow in my heart, I could wish myself were accursed from Christ for my brother” – that’s Romans 9, verse 3. And then over to Romans 10, verse 1, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” See, the burden of another person’s need getting on your heart so heavily that you’re willing for it to cost you. That’s intercession.
Now, how do you go about this? Someone said to me one time, “Well, I don’t know. You can’t make yourself feel bad for somebody else can you?” The answer of course is no. Doesn’t work that way. But Paul says in Romans 5:5, “That the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us.” And Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10, “The love of Christ constrain us.” That means “really makes us feel how we feel and do what we do.” The love of Christ makes us feel the way we feel and do the things we do, so that this love of God that shed abroad in our hearts actually makes you feel differently about another person’s need than you would otherwise. So how do you then begin to learn how to intercede? You get alone with God yourself. You begin to worship God for yourself. That’s why supplication and worship came before intercession in this listing. You wait on God yourself, and then when you begin to mention the names and needs of other people, you’ll find yourself really empathizing with them, really getting under their burdens.
Now, he said, beside intercession there’s “giving of thanks.” Why did he mention this? Well, because no prayer life is complete without thankfulness, and a thankfulness – I may tell you – born of faith, not of just wishful thinking or pragmatic evaluation of the situation. “God did this for me, so I better be thankful.” To be thankful for what you’ve prayed for before you get it. “What things ye soever desire, when you pray, believe that ye receive them, and you shall have them,” said our Lord to His disciples. Faith is the substance of the evidence of things over the substance of things not seen. You thank God for what He’s doing even before you see it because you know He’s being true to His own wonderful Word. “Thankfulness,” he said. “Include thanksgiving in your praying and do that in relationship to all men.” All people. That word “men” is generic – doesn’t mean just male persons – it means all men and women. “People,” he said. Pray, including everybody. Intercede, including the needs of everybody that you know about. Be thankful, in terms of your relationships with everybody.
Now, you know there are some people for whom it is pretty hard to be thankful? I often say, “You know there’s a difference – some people when they come, you say, ‘Thank God they’ve come,’ and other people when they leave, you say, ‘Thank God they’ve gone.’”
Well, “giving of thanks.” Have you ever realized that, that there is something in every human relationship you sustain, something in every human relationship for which you need to be thankful to God? Thankful that God sent the person along, even though they may have been your critic or your adversary. Thankful for the Providence of God that is guiding your life and using every circumstance to fulfill His perfect, holy Will.
Well, he says, “made for everybody,” and then he designates certain classes of people. For kings, that’s supreme authority, and for all that are in authority, that’s delegated authority. How long has it been since you prayed for the heads of various countries in our world? You think about that. You say, “I don’t know them. They don’t know me.” It’s quite true. But somehow in the economy of God, you can pray and God answers your prayer half a world away. Now, you know that. I don’t have to argue that point with you do I? You know that it’s true that God answers prayer, and that time and distance mean nothing to Him, because He’s the God that’s already there. So that you and I, when we pray, do make a difference. If and since that is so, then we need to broaden the base of our praying to include far more than just our family and our friends and our church and our own survival. Yes, of course I’m talking to myself when I say this because my tendency, I think, like yours, is to pray about the immediate needs. Intercession knows no boundaries. Intercession can reach half a world away before breakfast.
Oh, let the Holy Spirit of God broaden and deepen your prayer life, beloved. See, it isn’t just, it isn’t just what happens to you that counts. It is rather what God is wanting to do in your world that counts. Yes, we need to pray for the leaders of the nations of this world. God said to Cyrus a heathen King, “I heard of thee though thou hast not known Me, Cyrus.” God does intervene in world history in answer to prayer. God does touch the hearts even of unbelieving or heathen leaders in answer to the prayer of His people. Yes, He does.
Then he says, “all who are an authority.” That’s delegated authority. Now, authority is delegated right down the line, from the supreme authority to the next, to the next, and the next, to the next. And you and I need to learn to pray for those whose authority may not be final, but is delegated to them, and that they are closer then to us in the scene where we live. Now, why? “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and honesty.” If you pray earnestly for the people who rule over you, you stand a greater chance of having a life that is untroubled – that is, peaceable – and that makes it possible for you to have, to have overt godliness and demonstrable honesty. You, you, you want to pray for the people who rule over you, so that the life you live makes it possible for you to be open about godliness and honesty. That’s what Paul was saying. That’s what he’s been talking about is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior.
God wants you to pray, number one. God wants you to intercede, number two. God wants you to be thankful, number three. God wants you to pray for supreme authorities and for delegated authorities. These are things God wants. He wants you to have a quiet and peaceable life. He wants you to be godly and honest. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God.
Well, if God wants it and I pray about it, it’s going to happen. That’s the answer. Adopt that as your way of thinking and living today. Pray on the basis of what God wants. We know if we ask anything according to His Will, “He heareth us, and if He hear us, we know we have the petition we desired of Him,” says John. So pray on the basis of what God wants, and see Him supply every need.
Father God today, make us good pray-ers and help us to live for Thee. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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