"I sought for a man among them who would build up the hedge and stand in the gap before Me for the land so that I would not destroy it, but I found no one" (Ezek. 22:30).
Ezekiel 22:30 is one on the most tragic declarations of God in the entirety of Scripture. Here we can feel the displeasure and even pain in the heart of God as He declares that no one was willing to stand as an intercessor during this season of Israel's dark and sinful history.
This story brings to remembrance God's willingness to spare Sodom and Gomorrah at the request of Abraham if intercessors could be found in the city. The result as in Ezekiel is that no one was found, and the Lord actually destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
In similar fashion, the tragic outcome that we read about in Ezekiel 22:31 is that God poured out His wrath and recompensed their actions upon their own heads. This story in Ezekiel comes as a result of Israel's wicked leaders including priests, prophets and kings. To say that this nation was in a mess during this season would be an understatement.
However, what stands out to me is that the Lord "sought" for someone (a single person) to intercede on behalf of Israel. This amazing reality shows just how important and necessary prayer and intercession really is.
The fact that God calls us into such an important function with Him that impacts the way history is fashioned not only humbles me, but it also strikes a necessary fear of God in my heart that helps keep me focused in my overall approach to life and ministry.
The resounding truth is that the history of the church is rooted in those who bore God's heart and walked in prophetic enlightenment through incessant prayer. Faithful intercessors have shouldered the purposes of God throughout history, even as the priests shouldered the ark of the covenant in the Old Testament.
Every generation since the first century has had need of those who refused to let the purposes of God's kingdom completely dissipate. Even in spiritual dullness there have always been a few who fastened themselves to the eternal purposes of God and refused to recant or compromise in the area of prayer and intercession.
This dynamic of prophetic intercession among God's people has been and continues to be the force that illuminates God's purposes in the midst of every church age. It reveals God's divine agenda and releases His eternal purposes with deep apostolic strategy. It resounds with the fact that prayer is a driving force in God's ultimate purposes. What an amazing honor to be called as His people to this glorious ministry!
Below are 17 points regarding the power and necessity of prayer.
- Prayer creates a divine disturbance (discomfort) among the people of God.
- Prayer reveals a dimension beyond normal church life and learned Christian behavior (eternity comes into view).
- Prayer upsets the tables of man-made ministry expressions and demands God's divine assistance in the midst of His church, while revealing the motivations of hearts.
- Prayer will alter human aspirations/dreams while replacing them with God's eternal agendas.
- Prayer will illuminate the holiness of Jesus and polarize sin in our midst (see Isa. 6).
- Prayer will and always has preceded outpouring and divine visitation.
- Prayer will take the church from human exasperation to great anticipation and expectancy.
- Prayer is deeper than desire and false hope; it brings flesh upon the bones of dry, barren places (see Ezek. 37).
- Prayer brings tangibility to the purposes of God. It goes beyond mere blueprints and delivers the supernatural materials to build and establish God's kingdom purposes in our midst.
- Prayer plants the seeds of expectancy regarding great harvest! There is purpose, potential, passion and provision within prophetic intercession!
- Prayer removes the scales of religion from our eyes and creates a burning in our hearts because we see the Lord among us.
- Prayer brings an ultimate death to our impulse to act and react. It strips us of performance-based ministry and learned behavior patterns.
- Prayer brings a sobriety of mission, coupled with eternal joy, due to the completion of God's will through our willingness to enter into intercession.
- Prayer develops humility and meekness by what we see and prepares us to rightly carry God's glory among men.
- Prayer unclogs ancient, needed wells and repairs the altar in our midst.
- Prayer launches apostolic missions with prophetic clarity and power. (Consider Paul's Macedonian call and his desire for prayers from the saints).
- Prayer unleashes the spirit of prophecy in the church.
May all of us experience a fresh call and conviction to establish a life of prayer and intercession during this time of history. This is the great need for the church and the world, and nothing happens effectively without this priestly ministry being intact.
E.M. Bounds once said, "The wrestling quality of importunate prayer does not spring from physical vehemence or fleshly energy. It is not an impulse of energy, not a mere earnestness of soul; it is an inwrought force, a faculty implanted and aroused by the Holy Spirit. Virtually, it is the intercession of the Spirit of God, in us."
And as David Brainerd said, "In prayer I was exceedingly enlarged, and my soul was as much drawn out as ever I remember it to have been in my life. I was in such anguish and pleaded with so much earnestness and importunity that when I rose from my knees, I felt extremely weak and overcome, I could scarcely walk straight. My joints were loosed, the sweat ran down my face and body, and nature seemed as if it would dissolve in my fervent supplications for the poor Indians. I knew they met together to worship demons and not God. This made me cry earnestly that God would now appear and help me. My soul pleaded long!"
For more on the power of prayer, listen to the full episode of Maintain the Flame on the Charisma Podcast Network here.
Keith Collins is the founder of Generation Impact Ministries and Impact Global Fellowship. He is actively involved in itinerant ministry, teaching and writing. In recent years, Keith served as the president of the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry and as the director of FIRE School of Ministry, which were both born out of the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida. His recent book, Samuels Arising: Waking Up to God's Prophetic Call, is now available on Amazon, and his podcast, titled Maintain the Flame, can be heard on iTunes and at cpnshows.com. You can contact Keith via his websites at keith-collins.org or impactgf.org.
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