1 Sam. 12:23
“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin
against the LORD by failing to pray for you.”
Gen. 20:17 – “Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls. . .” 2 Chron. 30:20 – “The LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” Col. 1:9 – “Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. . .” 1 Thess. 5:25 – “Brothers, pray for us.” These are just a very few of the many passages in Scripture that deal with people praying for other people. Praying like that is just something that Christian do. On Wednesday evenings the men and women who gather for Transformation spend a portion of their time praying. They pray for individuals, they pray for the church, and they pray for our nation. In this weekly epistle I often encourage you to pray for your pastor and the other leaders in our local church.
The Scripture teaches us that we should pray for one another, and so we SHOULD make it a regular practice. But have you ever considered that the failure to do so is sin? “. . . far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” A couple of weeks ago I read that verse in 1 Samuel and it really jumped off the page. The idea goes against the prevailing concept that sin is doing things God objects to. You have to do bad things in order to sin, right? If I had read, “. . . far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by stealing your camel,” then I wouldn’t have been surprised. But sinning by failing to pray for people?!
OK, I can see how God would be upset with us if we just refuse to pray for our brothers and sisters. But you know what? Samuel was dealing with a bunch of people who had, for all practical purposes, rejected God. He was acknowledging that it would be sin not to pray for THEM! Actually, it makes sense, because it is those whose hearts are far from God - those who aren’t on “speaking terms” with God themselves - that you and I really NEED to pray for. Why? Because they will not – actually cannot – pray for themselves. To pray for them is the purest form of intercession. Just do it!
Pastor Keith Andrews