The Gift and Duty of Intercessory Prayer- Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 32– Purity 1004
Purity 1004 03/30/2023 Purity 1004 POdcast
Purity 1004 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a blue and cumulus cloud filled sky above an unknown road cutting through a summer harvest scene, with a cross like utility to boot, comes to us from my phone’s photo archive as I decided to look back to see what we could find for today and was pleasantly surprise from beauty that I took somewhere in Delanson NY back on July 20, 2020.
Well, It’s Thursday and as is my habit, I am sharing this photo, of a highway path way that just happens to have a rather “cross like” utility pole as if the Lord Himself was showing us that that this is “The Way” to go, as an encouragement to get on or to stay on the path of Christian Discipleship, the path where you follow God rather than man and the road that is paved with meaning and purpose.
Well, I am rejoicing this morning as last night’s freedom appointment was a success as the participant didn’t change his past but was able to walk free from it through confession, renunciation, prayer and by the power of the Holy Spirit! Although a whole lot of confession had to be made and a whole lot of forgiveness had to be given that indicated a rough road of a turbulent past, a peaceful quiet mind and spirit was to be found at the end of the Steps to Freedom in Christ! This man decided to trust the Lord to help Him and he laid all of his sin and bitterness behind and left with a new level of victory and freedom in Christ!
These freedom appointments can be a heavy process and it is a great relief when you can see that it all was for a purpose when peace is found and the pain of the past can be seen in a new light as it is now something that has been overcome rather than something that keeps us stuck.
But before we break our arms patting ourselves on the back, let’s be clear here that Jesus is the One who saves us, the Holy Spirit is the One who brings repentance and it is the Lord who gives us life and peace. In our selves we can do nothing, but with faith in Jesus and trust in God, we can know true joy and peace and become the people that God made us to be.
So let’s be “all that we can be” by following the Lord into the abundant life that He has prepared for us. And today we take one step closer to that destiny as we enter into the 32nd day of Lent and the 32nd day of our current series, the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
As a reminder, and as we will say each day of this journey, we take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation of the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, we will not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord will use it to change us too.
You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog ((https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/40-Day-Journey-Dietrich-Bonhoeffer/today)) .
“Intercessory prayer is also a daily service Christians owe to God and one another. Those who deny their neighbors prayers of intercession deny them a service Christians are called to perform. Furthermore, it is clear that intercessory prayer is not something general and vague, but something very concrete. It is interested in specific persons and specific difficulties and therefore specific requests. The more concrete my intercessory prayer becomes the more promising it is…
All this proves that intercessory prayer is a gift of God’s grace for every Christian community and for every Christian. Because God has made us such an immeasurably great offer here, we should accept it joyfully. The very time we give to intercession will turn out to be a daily source of new joy in God and in the Christian congregation.”
“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you.” 1 Samuel 12:23
Questions to Ponder
- Is it a contradiction to say that intercessory prayer is both a “daily service Christians owe to God and one another” and “a gift of God’s grace for every Christian community and for every Christian”? Why, or why not?
M.T. Clark: No, I don’t believe it is a contradiction, it’s a paradox! A paradox is a “a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true:” The Christian faith has lots of paradoxes because let’s face it God’s ways are higher than our ways. But in terms of this one, intercessory prayer is a duty as the epistles encourage Christians to pray for one another. I am sharing openbible.info’s link (https://www.openbible.info/topics/pray_for_one_another) – that will give you 64 verses that indicate that is what Christian should do – pray for one another. So it’s a duty. But Intercessory prayer is also a gift. As our previous studies of the last two days have shown, we end up being blessed in the process of praying for others. Praying for others causes us to see them as God sees them. Through God’s grace we have compassion for others and realize the we are equally humbled and blessed at the foot of the cross. To experience a little bit of what it is like to give grace to others like God and to have a deeper appreciation of God’s grace for us is a gift. So intercessory prayer is both a gift and a duty that we should be happy to give, receive, and perform.
- Could the lack of joy evident in many Christians and in many Christian communities be a sign of a lack of specific, concrete, intercessory prayer? Explain.
M.T. Clark: A lack of joy certainly could be a result of not having a life that includes specific, concrete intercessory prayers. As Christians, we have to get our hands dirty. We have to meet and try to help people where they are. We have to know them personally and pray for them specifically. We may have some joy being hyper spiritual and isolating ourselves from the world and making general prayers for the well being of “all sentient beings” but that is not what Jesus did. He literally got his hands dirty washing the disciples’ feet! He went into the masses, laid hands on people, and prayed for their specific situations, personally, and great things happened. So we may lack joy in our lives because we are not following the example of Christ.
Also, when we are not engaged with others and praying for them, we tend to pretty self-focused and may be dwelling on our own problems to the point of distraction or depression, or may be focusing on all the things that have gone wrong or of those things we don’t have. Simply, being too self-focused can take away our joy. Jesus commanded us to Love God and People and while we can be positively delighted over who we are in Christ, our purpose is not fully meant if we just focus on ourselves. So pray for others and be specific, the joy that is received just may come to you too as you follow the Lord’s commands and example with the way you live your life.
all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you. Psalm 5:11
- Write about how you feel when praying for others in your community of faith.
M.T. Clark: I feel good when I pray for others in my community of faith! Intecessory prayer not only performs a duty that we should perform but it also brings us closer to God as we petition Him for His help and it brings us closer to the other people because we are expressing our care and concern for them. We are loving them and God through these prayers and its not surprising for us to feel it too when we advocate for others through prayer.
- Is intercessory prayer “a daily source of new joy in God and in the Christian congregation” for you? Why, or why not?
M.T. Clark: I pray every day and I would say that it is a daily source of new joy in God and in the Christian congregation. Our prayers remind us of our new life in Christ and all that God has given us -that’s joy! And our prayers for those in our congregation, remind us that we are a part of something that is bigger than ourselves – the church – where we are accepted because we all belong to God as members of His family of faith. So yes, I have new joy each morning when I pray and am reminded of these things.
Pray that your community of faith in particular, and all communities of faith in general, would experience the joy in God and in each other that comes from the service of daily prayer on behalf of their members.
I pray for my community of faith, Starpoint church, and all the Bible believing Christian churches in general, that they would experience the joy in the Lord and in each other that comes from daily prayer on behalf of each other. Lord encourage and teach us to pray as we ought. Teach us to pray for one another.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer for Today
Holy God, thank you for the joy of bringing people into your presence this day and every day.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)
***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.***
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
THE VALUE OF THIS DOCTRINE
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
And is profitable for doctrine,
For reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect,
Throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). “Doctrine” means “teaching,” and it is by doctrine or teaching that the great realities of God and of our relation to Him—of Christ, the Spirit, salvation, grace, glory—are made known to us. It is by doctrine (through the power of the Spirit) that believers are nourished and edified, and where doctrine is neglected growth in grace and effective witnessing for Christ necessarily cease. How sad then that doctrine is now decried as “unpractical” when, in fact, doctrine is the very base of the practical life. There is an inseparable connection between belief and practice: “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). The relation between Divine truth and Christian character is that of cause to effect: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32)—free from ignorance, free from prejudice, free from error, free from the wiles of Satan, free from the power of evil; and if the truth is not “known” then such freedom will not be enjoyed. Observe the order of mention in the passage with which we have opened. All Scripture is profitable first for “doctrine”! The same order is observed throughout the Epistles, particularly in the great doctrinal treatises of the apostle Paul. Read the Epistle of “Romans” and it will be found that there is not a single admonition in the first five chapters. In the Epistle of “Ephesians” there are no exhortations till the fourth chapter is reached. The order is first doctrinal exposition and then admonition or exhortation for the regulation of the daily walk.
The substitution of so-called “practical” preaching for the doctrinal exposition which it has supplanted is the root cause of many of the evil maladies which now afflict the Church of God. The reason why there is so little depth, so little intelligence, so little grasp of the fundamental verities of Christianity is because so few believers have been established in the faith through hearing expounded and through their own personal study of the doctrines of grace. While their soul is unestablished in the doctrine of the Divine Inspiration of the Scripture, their full and verbal inspiration, there can be no firm foundation for faith to rest upon. While the soul is ignorant of the doctrine of Justification there can be no real and intelligent assurance of its acceptance in the Beloved. While the soul is unacquainted with the teaching of the Word upon Sanctification it is open to receive all the crudities and errors of the Perfectionists or “Holiness” people. While the soul knows not what Scripture has to say upon the doctrine of the New Birth there can be no proper grasp of the two natures in the believer, and ignorance here inevitably results in the loss of peace and joy. And so we might go on right through the list of Christian doctrine. It is ignorance of doctrine that has rendered the professing church helpless to cope with the rising tide of infidelity. It is ignorance of doctrine which is mainly responsible for thousands of professing Christians being captivated by the numerous false isms of the day. It is because the time has now arrived when the bulk of our churches “will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:3) that they so readily receive false doctrines. Of course it is true that doctrine, like anything else in Scripture, may be studied from a merely cold intellectual viewpoint, and thus approached, doctrinal teaching and doctrinal study will leave the heart untouched, and will naturally be “dry” and profitless. But, doctrine properly received, doctrine studied with an exercised heart, will ever lead into a deeper knowledge of God and of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The doctrine of God’s sovereignty then is no mere metaphysical dogma which is devoid of practical value, but is one that is calculated to produce a powerful effect upon Christian character and the daily walk. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty lies at the foundation of Christian theology, and in importance is perhaps second only to the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures. It is the center of gravity in the system of Christian truth: the sun around which all the lesser orbs are grouped. It is the golden milestone to which every highway of knowledge leads and from which they all radiate. It is the cord upon which all other doctrines are strung like so many pearls, holding them in place and giving them unity. It is the plumbline by which every creed needs to be measured, the balance in which every human dogma must be weighed. It is designed as the sheet-anchor for our souls amid the storms of life. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is a Divine cordial to refresh our spirits. It is designed and adapted to mould the affections of the heart and to give a right direction to conduct. It produces gratitude in prosperity and patience in adversity. It affords comfort for the present and a sense of security respecting the unknown future. It is, and it does all, and much more than we have just said because it ascribes to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the glory which is His due, and places the creature in his proper place before Him—in the dust.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 223–225.