Sermon – June 10, 2018
When we pray, we often do not just pray for ourselves. Part of being a Christian is recognizing the great needs of those around you. When we pray for others, our prayers are called intercessory prayers. While there are many ways to pray for others, today we look closely at how Moses interceded for the Israelites before God and attempt to think through how his prayer ought to be imitated by us.
1. Know the point of intercession
One can read the plight of the Israelites in a sympathetic way. All they had known was polytheism and idolatry, they needed a leader, they needed comfort, they needed strength. All of these are good things to have, but they are not what the Israelites needed the most. None of those things would matter if God’s wrath destroyed them. Moses does not waste his efforts – he prays for what they need the most: God’s undeserved mercy and kindness. We should do the same! While the other good things are important, and can be prayed for, let us make sure we make the most important point the heart of our prayer for others.
2. Know the people of intercession
Moses also refused to pray for the people on the basis of who they were. He did not try to find a silver lining in their actions, he did not try to make them seem better in the eyes of God. He did not extol the list of their accomplishments or of their potential. He did not do these things, because he understood the people in the light of God. Friends, we must be careful that we don’t pray for people based on their characteristics or attributes, as though these are things more likely to secure God’s favor for them. Such prayers are dangerous; they lead us slowly down a path of earned grace, instead of the unmerited mercy of God.
3. Know the power of intercession
So, Moses prays, not on his own power, nor on the merits of the people, but rather on the character of God. God has spoken about his glory and he has given his word; Moses reminds him of this that he might not turn against his great promises. Let us pray like this! We have great promises in the NT: Christ has come to save sinners, he is powerful to do so, and he will do so from every tribe, tongue, language, nation. Let us beseech God with these great promises!
Let us pray for the salvation of the world, not because they deserve it, but because we desire for God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven.