February 24, 2001 – March 2, 2001
“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11.
Study Help: In Heavenly Places, 93; That I May Know Him, 271.
“A truly Christian life will cost us thoughtfulness, searching of the Scriptures, and most earnest, persevering prayer. It will not be prayer without point and purpose, but it will be the intercession of a heart burdened for poor sinners out of Christ. It will be a heart longing to do service for Jesus in personal effort for the saving of souls of men.” Pastoral Ministry, 151.
“I Pray for Them”
1 At the crisis of His life, what example of intercessory prayer did Jesus reveal? John 17:9–19.
note: “Christ declared He sanctified Himself, that we also might be sanctified. He took upon Himself our nature, and became a faultless pattern for men. He made no mistake, that we also might become victors, and enter into His kingdom as overcomers. He prayed that we might be sanctified through the truth. What is truth? He declared, ‘Thy word is truth.’ His disciples were to be sanctified through obedience to the truth.” Review and Herald, July 2, 1889.
2 How are we also included in Christ’s intercessory prayer? John 17:20–24.
note: “He says, ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.’ That prayer was for us; we have believed in the testimony of the disciples of Christ. He prays that His disciples may be one, even as He and the Father are one; and this unity of believers is to be as testimony to the world that He has sent us, and that we bear the evidence of His grace.” Review and Herald, July 2, 1889.
3 What command did Jesus give to His followers? John 13:34. Compare John 15:12, 17; 1 John 4:7.
note: “‘I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them’ (John 17:9, 10). Mark the words. It is Jesus Christ that is praying to His Father, ‘and all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.’ Is it truth? Are we Bible believers? Is Christ glorified in us? I want you to consider this. He is speaking of the oneness and that unity that shall exist with Christ and His disciples. In that unity, in that oneness, Christ is glorified in us. Now I would have you consider how very light a matter many of us make of seeking to preserve this unity. Why, this unity with believers in and through Christ is the great strength of the church! The oneness, the love which through their faith and unity exists with God’s people through faith in Christ, is a power. How earnest, how decided, how determined should be our efforts to answer the prayer of Christ that we may have that harmony one with another for which Christ died to perfect; that we may be one with Christ; for, unless we are constantly laboring for this harmony and this unity, we shall certainly fail of answering the prayer of being one with Christ as He was one with the Father.” Sermons and Talks vol. 1, 194.
“If Not, Blot Me Thee, Out of Thy Book”
4 How did Moses express his love for his people? Exodus 32:31, 32.
note: “Moses manifested his great love for the people in his entreaty to the Lord to forgive their sin, or blot his name out of the book which He had written. His intercessions here illustrate Christ’s love and mediation for the sinful race. The Lord refused to let Moses suffer for the sins of his backsliding people. He declared to him that those who had sinned against Him He would blot out of His book which He had written; for the righteous should not suffer for the guilt of the sinner. The book here referred to is the book of records in Heaven, where every name is recorded, and their acts, their sins, and obedience, are faithfully written. When any one commits sins which are too grievous for the Lord to pardon, their names are erased from the book, and they are devoted to destruction. Although Moses realized the dreadful fate of those whose names should be dropped from the book of God, yet he plainly declared before God that if the names of his erring Israel should be blotted out, and be no more remembered by Him for good, he wished his name to be blotted out with theirs; for he could never endure to see the fullness of His wrath come upon the people for whom He had wrought such wonders.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 252, 253.
5 How did the Lord reveal to Moses His character of mercy and steadfast love? Exodus 33:19, 20; Exodus 34:6, 7.
note: “Now, indeed, we would expect the prophet to cease pleading; but no, emboldened by his success, he ventures to come still nearer to God, with a holy familiarity which is almost beyond our comprehension. He now makes a request which no human being ever made before: ‘I beseech thee, show me thy glory.’ What a petition to come from finite, mortal man! But is he repulsed? Does God reprove him for presumption? No; we hear the gracious words: ‘I will make all my goodness pass before thee.’ In the history of Moses we may see what intimate communion with God it is man’s privilege to enjoy.” Conflict and Courage, 99.
“When He Prayed for His Friends”
6 What was the turning point in Job’s experience? Job 42:10. Compare Job 16:2.
note: “The Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed, not only for himself, but for those who were opposing him. When he felt earnestly desirous that the souls that had trespassed against him might be helped, he himself received help. Let us pray, not only for ourselves, but for those who have hurt us, and are continuing to hurt us. Pray, pray, especially in your mind. Give not the Lord rest; for His ears are open to hear sincere, importunate prayers, when the soul is humbled before Him.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1141.
7 How did Jesus express this important aspect of prayer? Luke 6:28.
note: “When the believer, in view of all his transgressions, exercises faith in God, believes that he is pardoned because Christ has died as his sacrifice, he will be so filled with gratitude to God that his tender sympathy will be reaching out to those who, like himself, have sinned and have need of pardon. Pride will find no place in his heart. Such faith as this will be a death blow to a revengeful spirit. How is it possible for one who finds forgiveness, and who is daily dependent upon the grace of Christ, to turn away in coldness from those who have been overtaken in a fault, and to display to the sinner an unforgiving spirit? Everyone who has real faith in God will crush pride under his feet.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, 198.
8 How did Christ manifest this spirit of sympathy towards His enemies? Luke 23:34. Compare Acts 7:59, 60.
note: “While the soldiers were doing their fearful work, Jesus prayed for His enemies, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ His mind passed from His own suffering to the sin of His persecutors, and the terrible retribution that would be theirs. No curses were called down upon the soldiers who were handling Him so roughly. No vengeance was invoked upon the priests and rulers, who were gloating over the accomplishment of their purpose. Christ pitied them in their ignorance and guilt. He breathed only a plea for their forgiveness,—‘for they know not what they do.’” The Desire of Ages, 744.
“We Have Sinned”
9 What example of intercession may be seen in the life of Daniel? Daniel 9:3–19.
note: “The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification. His long life was filled up with noble service for his Master. He was a man ‘greatly beloved’ (Daniel 10:11) of Heaven. Yet instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel as he pleaded before God in behalf of his people: ‘We do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies.’ ‘We have sinned, we have done wickedly.’ He declares: ‘I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people.’” The Great Controversy, 470.
10 How did Nehemiah also manifest this humble spirit of intercession? Nehemiah 1:6–11.
note: “…he turned in his affliction to the sure Helper. ‘I prayed,’ says he, ‘before the God of Heaven.’ He knew that all this ruin had come because of the transgressions of Israel; and in deep humiliation he came before God for pardon of sin and a renewal of the divine favor. He addressed his petitions to the God of Heaven, ‘the great and terrible God;’ for such the Lord had shown Himself to be in the fearful judgements brought upon Israel. But with a gleam of hope, Nehemiah continues, ‘that keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and observe His commandments.’ For repentant and believing Israel there was still mercy. Faithfully the man of God makes confession of his sins and the sins of his people.” Signs of the Times, November 29, 1883.
“In their work, Ezra and Nehemiah humbled themselves before God, confessing their sins and the sins of their people, and entreating pardon as if they themselves were the offenders.” Prophets and Kings, 675.
“That Ye May Be Healed”
11 For what especially may we pray? James 5:16.
note: “…the offering of such prayer is a most solemn act, and should not be entered upon without careful consideration. . . .To those who desire prayer for their restoration to health, it should be made plain that the violation of God’s law, either natural or spiritual, is sin, and that in order for them to receive His blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken. . . .We know that God hears us if we ask according to His will. But to press our petitions without a submissive spirit is not right; our prayers must take the form, not of command, but of intercession.” The Faith I Live By, 315.
12 How is such prayer for healing to be done? James 5:14, 15.
note: “In prayer for the sick it should be remembered that ‘we know not what we should pray for as we ought.’ Romans 8:26. We do not know whether the blessing we desire will be best or not. Therefore our prayers should include this thought: ‘Lord, Thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons. Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. His love for them is greater than ours can possibly be. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they may be restored, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings.’” Ministry of Healing, 229.
“Many have expected that God would keep them from sickness merely because they have asked Him to do so. But God did not regard their prayers, because their faith was not made perfect by works. God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health and make no efforts to prevent disease. When we do all we can on our part to have health, then may we expect that the blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health. He will then answer our prayer, if His name can be glorified thereby. But let all understand that they have a work to do. God will not work in a miraculous manner to preserve the health of persons who are taking a sure course to make themselves sick, by their careless inattention to the laws of health.” Medical Ministry, 13.