The truth is: any moment spent in the presence of God is NEVER a waste!
If I’m honest, I have questions about praying. What is praying doing? Is it making a difference? Does it really matter if I pray? Maybe you’ve had these questions as well. Maybe you haven’t and I’m alone in this thought process. I’m in a season where it’s hard to get alone and pray as I homeschool my five-year-old and have a three-year-old, and quiet time is scarce, but yet I pray to the Lord all day. Maybe you can relate. “Lord, help me!” This is my daily, consistent prayer. Sometimes that’s really all I can get out. My mindset changed after the Holy Spirit revealed the answer to these questions. I want to share what He revealed, hoping His Words offer you as much encouragement on this topic as they did to me.
Look up Exodus 32-1:14 if you have time. If you don’t, I’ll give you a quick summation. Moses was up on the mountain with God for 40 days. The Israelites were growing impatient. They came up with their own idea of what they could worship and ran the idea by Aaron, second in command, who affirmed it. They took all their gold jewelry and made a golden calf out of it. This is what they worshipped. They even had a party, but not a fun one, one that actually mocked the Lord. God relays to Moses on the mountain what is taking place and tells him He is going to pour out His wrath on the Israelites. Even if you don’t know what the word wrath means, you don’t have to look it up to know that it just doesn’t sound too appealing. Enter Moses who pleads and intercedes on their behalf.
This is what I want to look at, Moses interceding on the behalf of the people. God so graciously allowed Moses to intercede on their behalf, which He has given Christians the same opportunity to intercede for others now. He withheld from pouring out His wrath. Now, did God change His mind? God’s character and His view on sin will never change. “But He can and does change how He responds to individuals or nations based upon prayer, repentance of the people, and compassion. (Amos 7:1-6; Jonah 3:9-10; Judges 2:18)” (Steve Gaines)
This may sound familiar. There was another Man who interceded on our behalf on the cross; Jesus. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (John 23:34). The difference: Jesus took the wrath upon himself. God’s wrath did eventually have to be poured out for all of mankind, and the One who knew no sin became a sin offering for us (2 Cor. 5:21). He consumed all the wrath, the wrath that we so deserve. But this was one prayer. ONE.
Moses’ prayer was prayed on behalf of the Israelites. What would have happened had Moses not interceded on their behalf? Better yet, what would have happened had Jesus not interceded on our behalf?
We are very much like the Israelites. We get tired of waiting, so we take things into our own hands and create our own idea, our own plan. We want a quick fix for right here and right now. But that doesn’t really work out too well does it? They made a mockery of the Lord while doing this, and so do we. When Jesus was on the cross, guess what the people were doing. They were mocking him. And yet, he still interceded on our behalf.
In a season where I questioned prayer, the Holy Spirit so graciously showed that ONE prayer made a difference. Don’t think your prayers are in vain, or empty words. You never know what your prayers could do for someone else. Who are you praying for? What are you praying for? Praying for others is hard work. Paul used the words laboring fervently, or wrestling to describe praying in Colossians 4:12. It’s not our words, but the drawing of the Holy Spirit to lead us to pray, and Jesus still interceding on our behalf in heaven (Romans 8:34).
“You will only live a life as bold as your prayers.” (Beth Moore)
Pray BOLD prayers! You have not because you ask not (James 4:2).