As I am reading through the Old Testament I see that the prophets of old would repent for the people even when they themselves were walking in the ways of the Lord. I read about Moses who throws himself before the mercy of the Lord and begs for mercy for the people and tells the Lord that if he is going to kill the people then to kill him, Moses, as well.
This past week there was an issue that was happening in our church that was waking me up at night. I was worried about the people who were being caught up and because I am female or maybe just because I am me, I was over-thinking the situation. I felt helpless.
Then I remembered the prophets of the old testament and their love for God as well as their love for the people. They would repent to the Lord for other’s sin. So I began to pray on their behalf. Isn’t that what intercession is about? Sure, I could say it’s not my problem, but my prayer is that in those areas where I am weak there are people who are praying for me as well.
Often, I think we come to the Lord with our personal petitions and the petitions of our family and close friends. We throw in some prayers for our internet friends and we move on about our day. Only our maturity in Christ should lead us to pray for the well being of our nation and the nations of our world. It should be prompting us to pray for injustice and also for mercy. I believe that often our own selfishness shines through in the moments of our daily prayer and we miss the opportunity to intercede.
I was reading in Jeremiah where at one point the Lord’s anger is so incensed upon his people that he says to Jeremiah;
Jeremiah 7:16 “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
I thought wow, first off, I never want to be “those people” with the Lord. There was something there that struck me as well. The fact that the relationship with Jeremiah and the Lord was so close that the Lord is venting to His friend about what is going on. Notice, that Jeremiah was pestering the Lord not for his own petition, but in the Lord’s own words, Jeremiah was weeping, praying, and begging the Lord to help them. Jeremiah was in good standing with God, yet he took on the problems of his people.
Let’s begin to take on the problems of our people. Not in a personal way as I sometimes do. Sometimes I try to go and fix problems that are none of my business in my own human understanding. Rather, let’s take on the problems in a way that beseeches the Lord for an answer. After all, if we are the body, the right response is not it’s not my problem but rather, I can take it to the Lord in prayer.