Today I encourage you to pray for your local church … the congregation of believers with whom you gather to worship and fellowship. These brothers and sisters often face trials we know nothing about. Together as a community of faith we desire to lift up the name of the Lord all around us. One of the great intercessors of the Scriptures is the familiar figure of Moses. Our text for prayer today is Exodus 32.
Moses was a great intercessor for his ‘church’ … the children of Israel. While he was on Mt. Sinai for longer than they expected, they began to engage in idol worship. The Lord revealed to Moses what was going on and his plans to destroy them. Notice how Moses pleads on their behalf…
But Moses interceded with the Lord his God: “Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people You brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He brought them out with an evil intent to kill them in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from Your great anger and relent concerning this disaster planned for Your people. Remember Your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel—You swore to them by Your very self and declared, ‘I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and will give your offspring all this land that I have promised, and they will inherit it forever.’” So the Lord relented concerning the disaster He said He would bring on His people. (32:11-14)
Moses went back down the mountain and confronted their sinful behavior in some pretty spectacular ways. Later in the chapter Moses intercedes yet again…
“Oh, these people have committed a grave sin; they have made a god of gold for themselves. Now if You would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book You have written.” The Lord replied to Moses: “I will erase whoever has sinned against Me from My book. Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about; see, My angel will go before you. But on the day I settle accounts, I will hold them accountable for their sin.” (32:31-34)
What an amazing intercession … Moses requests that God accept him as an offering to keep the wrath of God from going out upon the people. Though God did not accept this offer, it tells us that Moses truly loved the people. He was willing to die for them. He was a true leader.
Moses lived near God, and had the freest and most unhindered and boldest access to God, but this, instead of abating the necessity of prayer, made it more necessary, obvious and powerful. Familiarity and closeness to God gives relish, frequency, point and potency to prayer. Those who know God the best are the richest and most powerful in prayer. ~E. M. Bounds, Prayer and Praying Men
As you pray for your congregation today, pray from the perspective of love and sacrifice. Pray for their redemption and rescue. And as we enter a new year in just a few weeks, what can we think of to pray and ask God to help us with? If Moses were a member of your congregation, for what would he be praying?