Devotional Week 40 Wednesday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
A Song of Ascents
“Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!
Lord, hear my voice.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I hope”
Psalm 130: 1, 5
A Psalm of David
To Bring to Remembrance
“I am bowed down and brought low
that I go mourning all the day long.
I am numbed and stricken to the ground,
I cry aloud in the yearning of my heart.”
Psalm 38: 6, 8
“No matter how low we have fallen, God is beneath us, a bedrock underlying everything. We can never fall out of His care.”
Prayer in the Shadows
A Psalm of David
“David spoke these words to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies.”
“I love thee, O Lord my strength,
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress,
and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.
In my distress I called upon the Lord,
to my God I cried for help.”
Psalm 18: 1, 2, 6
“…When we are beaten down and lie flat with our mouths in the dust, hoping for hope…then we become aware that the whole meaning of our life is a poverty and emptiness, which, far from being a defeat, are really the pledge of all the great super-natural gifts…
Freedom is found in dependence upon God…For God’s love is like a river springing up in the depth and flowing endlessly through His creation, filling all things with life and goodness and strength.”
“Today’s Study Text:
“I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.”
Esther 4: 16 -17
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“The Gift of Intercession” Part 30 Section B
“Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men (and women).”
As I have interceded on behalf of others needs, what affect has it had on my own life?
“An intercessor means one who is in such vital contact with God and with his fellowmen that he is like a live wire closing the gap between the saving power of God and the sinful men who have been cut off from that power.”
Have I chosen to make intercession on behalf of others a part of my prayer life?
In what specific ways?
“I have benefited by praying for others; for by making an errand to God for them I have gotten something for myself.”
“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
Job 42: 10
“Do not let us fail one another in interest, care, and practical help; but supremely we must not fail one another in prayer.”
“Please help us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks for the blessings we receive in answer to all the prayers.”
II Corinthians 1: 11
“To make intercession for men and women is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.”
The last two texts in Esther, Chapter 4, contain a wealth of information for us today. Yesterday, we undertook the study of the word “fasting”. Today, I want to look at another word which while it doesn’t appear in Esther 4: 16, 17, it is evident by the request Queen Esther made of her cousin Mordecai. When she instructed Mordecai to ask all the Jews throughout the land of Medo-Persia to not only fast, in an act of humbling themselves before God, she also, in a closely linked activity to fasting wanted the Jews to intercede before God not only in support of one another, but also to intercede in the interest of Esther who would be breaking the law of Medo-Persia by going before King Ahasuerus without being called for.
All of you who are part of our Garden family will not be strangers to the act of intercession. Often, several times each week, our global family lifts to heaven the names of individuals who we may never know personally on earth, but whose prayer needs are part of our lives as we go before the throne of grace, laying out to our Father in heaven, the specific needs which in many cases are hindering the forward movement of lives on this earth.
When Transformation Garden began nearly 10 years ago, I could never have imagined how important a role intercessory prayer would have here in the Garden. And I want to add another observation, early on in the life of Transformation Garden, I did not comprehend how vital intercessory prayer would be in my own life. Frankly, before the Garden, my prayers were – simply put – rather selfish. Often my prayers focused on my own perceived needs. But as time passed, I realized that as I prayed for others, my needs didn’t seem as critical. What’s more, as I continued to pray for others, an unbreakable link began to form between myself and Dee or Myrt or Doreen or Nina Ruth or thousands of others, both women and men. When a terrible hurricane hit the island of Jamaica a number of years ago, my first thoughts and prayers were for the members of our Garden family, many of whom faced devastating loses.
It’s more than true that you can’t help but love someone when you are praying for them. And I just have an idea that this thought may well have some of the wisdom which Mordecai implanted in the young heart of his precious cousin Esther. Interestingly, we find that in Esther 4: 16, not only does Queen Esther ask Mordecai to rally all the Jews scattered throughout the land to pray for her, but she also informs him that “I also and my maidens will fast likewise.” Scholars point out that at this time in history, Esther would have been queen for approximately 5 years. Obviously, during this time, those serving her must have learned about her heritage as a Jew. As author Margaret Hess points out, “Esther said she and her maidens would likewise fast. How could she speak for the seven special maidens chosen for her? They were Persian maidens, no doubt, and high in rank. In those five years she must have conveyed to them something of her own personal faith in the Hebrew God. Esther, even in a pagan king’s harem, could make a choice and act for God.”
As we consider the power of intercessory prayer throughout the Bible, my thoughts can’t help but turn to the words found at the end of the book of Job. I like the way this particular passage reads in The Message Bible: “After Job had interceded for his friends, God restored his fortune” (Job 42: 10). It isn’t the restoration of wealth that strikes me as the key to this passage. Instead, it is the fact that even though Job’s friends weren’t the best people in the world with all their accusations against Job, he chose to pray for them. And as he prayed, even though he couldn’t see what God was doing, things in his own life began to change. What’s more, I truly believe Job changed for when we are praying for others, God recognizes the spirit of love and concern that prompts our prayers and thus the fertile ground of love that is being cultivated becomes prime territory for the seeds He wants to sow within our lives.
In one of my favorite New Testament passages, the Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians in Rome, encourages them with these words:
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Romans 8: 26, 27
What a passage of confidence. As we intercede on behalf of the needs of those we pray for, the Spirit intercedes as well, taking our humble words, and as the Greek translation instructs us, “entreats” with groanings in favor of your needs and mine and lays our requests at the Father’s throne. Then Paul continues in Romans 8: 28, by assuring us that because our needs have been heard in the heavenly courts, we can know with total confidence that “all things (in our lives) will work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.”
How blessed it is to know that as we intercede for those whose lives touch ours, the Spirit, is with groanings, taking our words before the throne of grace where we can trust that every answer will be within the will of the Father for our particular lives. Praise God for His gift of intercessory prayer. Prayer that unites our hearts in love. Prayer that brings us as a group closer in touch with heaven. In the words of Augustus Strong: “The impulse to pray, within our hearts, is evidence that Christ is urging our claims in heaven.”
The Unseen Bridge
“There is a bridge, whereof the span
Is rooted in the heart of man,
And reaches, without pile or rod,
Unto the Great White Throne of God.
Its traffic is in human sighs
Fervently wafted to the skies;
‘Tis the one pathway from despair;
And it is called the Bridge of Prayer.”
The Prayer Perfect
“Dear Lord! Kind Lord!
Gracious Lord! I pray
Thou wilt look on all I love,
Weed their hearts of weariness;
Scatter every care
Down a wake of angel-wings
Winnowing the air.
Bring unto the sorrowing
All release from pain;
Let the lips of laughter
And with all the needy
O divide, I pray,
This vast measure of content
That is mine today!”
James Whitcomb Riley
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus