A Call For Intercessors
By Lois J. Stucky
Reading the Old Testament books of First and Second Kings and First and Second Chronicles which tell of the years when Israel and Judah were under the rule of kings, is somewhat like viewing mountain peaks and valleys. What a peak it is to read of those rulers who "did what was right in the sight of the Lord." Their reigns were accompanied with God’s blessing and prosperity. How fortunate were those who lived in such a reign!
One king who did what "was right" was Hezekiah (2 Chron. 29:2).The king preceding Hezekiah had made images and altars for other gods, and sacrificed to them, closing up the doors of the house of the Lord. Many of the people of Judah were carried away captive as a resulting judgment of God upon the land. In 2 Chronicles chapter 29, we read that when Hezekiah became king, in the very first year of his reign he opened the doors of the temple and repaired them. He called in the priests and Levites and had them carry out the rubbish from the holy place. He told them: "It is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that His fierce wrath may turn away from us…do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him…" (2 Chron. 29:10-11).
After the temple was cleansed, sacrifices were made as an atonement for all the people. Hezekiah sent out runners to the remnant of Judah and Israel who had not been carried away captive, urging them to gather in Jerusalem to hold a Passover. One had not been observed properly for many years. Some of the people only laughed at the invitation, but others humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Very many people assembled. Hezekiah provided thousands of animals for sacrifices. He prayed for the people: "The good Lord pardon everyone that prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers…" (2 Chron. 30:18-19). It was a time of great joy, of singing and trumpets. There had not been such a time in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon.
Here are the makings of revival – a humbling of hearts, repentance from sin, prayer for forgiveness, God granting forgiveness, obedience to His Word, followed by restoration and great joy. Note Hezekiah’s intercessions. His prayers and his efforts were aimed to obtain pardon for his people and restoration to God’s favor. What a difference for a whole nation one intercessor can make!
None of us has the position of prominence that Hezekiah had, but each of us can strive to swell the number of humble and often hidden-away intercessors. And who knows what waves of salvation, blessing, deliverance, etc., God, who sees in secret, will send openly! Hezekiah was in a position of authority and was able to do much to bring about visible results to his intercessions. Intercessors are involved in action also, but it will be more in the unseen world.
This battle in the spiritual realm can be stiff. First of all is the weakness of the flesh to contend with, and in addition, Satan and his hosts strongly oppose. To even enter the battle we must resist things like interruptions and distractions of a physical nature, a wandering mind, sleepiness, etc. As the battle intensifies we may struggle with such as hopelessness rather than vibrant faith, with half-heartedness rather than fervency, with lack of strength of purpose to persevere in the battle, etc. Ah, how impossible is victory in the strength of the flesh! "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6). Andrew Murray’s article above is helpful along this line.
Turning to Second Chronicles 15:7, we find an encouraging word from God to the good King Asa of an earlier reign, who also worked at clearing away the worship of idols: "Be strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak [another translation is ‘do not give up’]: for your work will be rewarded" (2 Chron. 15:7). Verse 17 of that chapter speaks of the heart of King Asa as being "perfect." That is expressed elsewhere as having a heart "fully committed to the Lord." The prayer battle challenges us to the very core of our being, but God is calling willing, committed people to be the good soldiers He is looking for through whom He can win the victory in this solemn hour!