Author Topic: SDA Sabbath Sch Lesson 4--3rd Qtr 2020--Prayer Power: Interceding for Others  (Read 536 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 4 July 18-24





Prayer Power: Interceding  for Others





Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon



So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Rev. 12:7-9, Eph. 6:12, Heb. 7:25, Eph. 1:15-21, Dan. 10:10-14, 1 John 5:14-16.

Memory Text: “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

The New Testament church members felt their need of prayer. “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31, NKJV). Notice, the disciples prayed. They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and then they spoke the Word of God with boldness or confidence.

There was a direct relationship between their prayers, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and powerfully proclaiming God’s Word. “The disciples … did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely. They were weighted with the burden of the salvation of souls. They realized that the gospel was to be carried to the world, and they claimed the power that Christ had promised”. — Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 37.

When we seek God and intercede for others, God works in our own hearts to draw us closer to Him and gives us divine wisdom to reach them for His kingdom (James 1:5). He also works powerfully in their lives in ways we cannot see or even fully understand to draw them to Himself (1 John 5:14-17).

Amen! But, we must first die to self if we want God to hear our prayers for others.


Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, July 25.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Sunday        July 19

A Cosmic Struggle


Compare Revelation 12:7-9, Ephesians 6:12, and 2 Corinthians 10:4. How do these passages influence our understanding of intercessory prayer?

The Bible lifts the veil between the seen and the unseen world. There is a struggle between good and evil, between the forces of righteousness and the forces of darkness, between Christ and Satan. In this cosmic conflict, God respects human freedom. He will never manipulate the will or coerce the conscience. He sends His Holy Spirit to convict men and women of divine truth (John 16:7, 8 ).

Convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment.


Heavenly angels enter the battle to influence people for eternity (Heb. 1:14). God also arranges providential events in people’s lives to lead them to Him.

What God will not do is coerce the conscience. Force is contrary to the kingdom of God. Coercion is alien to the principle of love, which is the foundation of His government. Here is where prayer is so significant. Although God is doing everything He can to reach people before we pray, our prayers unleash the mighty power of God. He respects our freedom of choice in praying for another, and He can do more, in the light of the controversy between good and evil, when we pray than if we did not.

Amen! Our prayers allow God to do that which He would not have done if we had not prayed. When by God's grace we get to heaven there will be many tears because we shall see that if we had prayed more for some, they might have been saved. Prayer works!


Consider this statement carefully, “It is a part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask”. — Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 525. In the great controversy between good and evil, prayer makes a difference. When we pray for someone who does not know Christ, it opens channels of divine blessing to flow into their lives. God honors our choice to pray for them and works even more powerfully in their behalf.

Intercessory prayer does not work if we are not in a converted state.


In dealing with the subject of intercessory prayer, we should humbly acknowledge that we do not understand God’s workings fully, but this should not keep us from continually entering into the blessings prayer offers for ourselves and for others.

Why do you think God works more powerfully when we pray than when we neglect prayer? Even if we don’t fully understand how it all works, why should the Bible admonition to pray for others impel us to do just that?

If we are fully converted, we shall make the saving of souls our highest priority. We understand it is God who converts the soul, not man. Prayer works. We shall see this most pointedly when we see the saved we prayed for and the lost whom we should have prayed for. Yes, there will great sorrow in heaven in the thousand years before the resurrection of the wicked.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Monday         July 20

Jesus: The Mighty Intercessor


Read Luke 3:21, Luke 5:16, and Luke 9:18.

 3:21   Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 
 5:16   And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. 
 9:18   And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? 


What do these texts tell you about the relationship between Jesus’ prayer life and His effectiveness in ministry?

Jesus maintained a connection with His Father so that He could receive help for us.


Jesus’ life was one of constant divine communion with His Father. At the time of His baptism when He launched His Messianic ministry, He prayed for divine power to accomplish heaven’s purpose. The Holy Spirit empowered Him to do the Father’s will and accomplish the task before Him. Whether it was at the feeding of the five thousand, the healing of the leper, or the deliverance of the demoniacs, Jesus recognized that, in the battle between good and evil, prayer is a mighty weapon to beat back the forces of hell. Prayer is a heaven-ordained way of combining our helplessness and weaknesses with God’s omnipotent power. It’s a means of having ourselves lifted up toward God, who alone can touch the hearts of those for whom we pray.

Read Luke 22:31-34 and Hebrews 7:25.

 22:31   And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat: 
 22:32   But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 
 22:33   And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 
 22:34   And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. 

 7:25   Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 


What assurance did Jesus give to Peter to prepare him for the temptations he would face in the near future?

He told him that He prayed for him and if he would come to Jesus He would save Him.


 What assurance does He give to each one of us as we face temptations?

He does not give to each of us assurance without conditions. He has promised to all who will be found abiding in Christ (truly converted) that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]." 1 Cor. 10:13.

Effective soul winners are men and women of prayer. Jesus prayed for Peter by name. He reassured Peter that at the time of his greatest temptation, He would be praying for him. Satan understood quite well Peter’s potential for the advancement of the kingdom of God. He planned to do everything possible to destroy Peter’s positive influence in the Christian church. But through all of his temptations, Jesus was praying for Peter, and the Master’s prayers were answered. What a thrilling reality to recognize that the Savior is praying for us, too. He invites us to join Him in this work of intercessory prayer and lift up others by name before His throne.

Our persistence in prayer acknowledges that we recognize our total, absolute dependence on God to reach the individual for whom we are praying.

Amen! God only answers our prayers for others when we are fully surrendered to Him.


Whom are you praying for now? Why is it so important never to give up, no matter how difficult the situation appears?

Who are we to say God will not hear our prayers because He does not answer them immediately?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Tuesday        July 21

Paul’s Intercessory Prayers


Intercessory prayer is biblical. Throughout his ministry, Paul prayed for the new converts in the churches that he established through his evangelistic ministry. Paul believed that something happened when he prayed that would not happen if he did not pray. Although he was separated from those he loved, he recognized that they could be united in heart as they prayed for each other.

Read Ephesians 1:15-21.

 1:15   Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 
 1:16   Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 
 1:17   That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 
 1:18   The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 
 1:19   And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 
 1:20   Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], 
 1:21   Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:


On the lines below, list the different requests Paul made to God for the Ephesians. What did he specifically ask God to give them?

Most importantly " the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." We must intimately know God in order to trust Him with all we are and all we have. It is fundamental to being born again of the Spirit. "The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. This is the knowledge that works transformation of character. Received into the life, it will re-create the soul in the image of Christ. This is the knowledge that God invites His children to receive, beside which all else is vanity and nothingness." Acts of the Apostles, pg 475.


Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers is remarkable. He prayed that God would give them wisdom and spiritual discernment, that He would enlighten their minds with divine truth and give them the hope of eternal life. He also prayed that they would experience the mighty working of God’s power in their lives. This God is so powerful, so mighty, that He raised Jesus from the dead, an event that forms the foundation of their hope of eternal life in Him. His prayer concludes by reminding them of the “riches of Christ’s glory” and “His inheritance”. The Ephesian Christians must have been filled with encouragement, knowing that Paul was praying for them and knowing what he was praying about.

Read Philippians 1:3-11 and note the tone of Paul’s prayer.

 1:3   I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 
 1:4   Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 
 1:5   For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 
 1:6   Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ: 
 1:7   Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. 
 1:8   For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. 
 1:9   And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment; 
 1:10   That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 
 1:11   Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 


 If you were a Philippian church member and received a letter like this from Paul, sharing with you not only that he was praying for you but the content of his prayer, how would you feel, and why? What promises are found in its words? At the same time, what admonitions are there, as well?

That we all would receive such a letter!!  Paul in blessing the church also explains that if God's love is received, they will be filled with the fruits of righteousness which will glorify and praise God.


These are some of the most uplifting and encouraging words in the Bible, filled with promises, as well as calls to be filled with the love and knowledge and discernment that comes from knowing Jesus so that we can be all that God intends us to be in Him.

Amen!

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Wednesday        July 22

Unseen Powers at Work


Intercessory prayer is a mighty weapon in this battle between good and evil that we call “the great controversy”. One of the clearest revelations of this struggle is in Daniel 10.

You will recall that the prophet Jeremiah predicted that the Jews would be in bondage to the Babylonians for seventy years. At the end of Daniel’s life, this prophetic period of the Jewish captivity was coming to an end. Daniel was concerned. He saw little evidence of the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s words. His people were still in bondage.

Babylon was overcome by the Medes and Persians, but the Jews still remained in bondage. Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks. He earnestly interceded for his people. At the end of the three weeks, a glorious angelic being appeared to him.

Read Daniel 10:10-14.

 10:10   And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and [upon] the palms of my hands. 
 10:11   And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. 
 10:12   Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 
 10:13   But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. 
 10:14   Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision [is] for [many] days. 


When were Daniel’s prayers heard, and what temporarily hindered them?

When he first prayed, but the answer was delayed for 21 days by the "prince of the kingdom of Persia" until Christ joined the battle.


This is a fascinating passage. To understand it fully, let’s identify some of the characters. Who is the prince of the kingdom of Persia? Certainly not Cyrus. He is the king of the Persian Empire. It is most likely that the expression “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” represents Satan. Jesus called him “the prince of this world” or “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31, John 14:30). Paul labeled him, “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). If the prince of Persia represents Satan, then who is Michael? The term Michael is used five times in the Bible (Rev. 12:7; Jude 9; Dan. 10:13, 21; and Dan. 12:1). A careful study of these passages reveals that Michael (which means “Who is like God”) is another term to describe Jesus as the Commander of all the angels in direct combat with Satan. Christ is the eternal, pre-existent, all-powerful divine Son of God. One of His functions as Commander of all of the angels is to defeat and eventually destroy Satan.

Daniel 10 draws the curtain aside and reveals this struggle between good and evil. As Daniel prays, Michael, the almighty Jesus, descends from heaven to beat back the forces of hell. Although we may not see it, Jesus is at work to answer our prayers of intercession, as well. He is a mighty Savior. Not one of our prayers goes unnoticed.

How do you see the reality of the great controversy playing out in your own life? What should the reality of this battle tell you about the kind of choices you need to make?

Each day we ought to spend time contemplating the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes. Why?

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Thursday         July 23

Prayer Focus


Throughout the Bible, there is an emphasis on specificity in prayer. Prayer is not some vague longing of the soul. It presents God with specific requests. Jesus prayed specifically for His disciples. The apostle Paul prayed very specifically for the Ephesian, Philippian, and Colossian Christians. He prayed for his young colleagues such as Timothy, Titus, and John Mark.

Read 1 Samuel 12:22-24 and Job 16:21. What do these two passages have in common? What do they tell us about intercessory prayer?

Both Samuel and Job emphasize the need for earnest, heartfelt, specific intercession. Samuel’s words are quite strong. He cries out, “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you.” (1 Sam. 12:23). We can almost hear the echo of Samuel’s prayer in Job’s words, “Oh, that one might plead for a man with God” (Job 16:21, NJKV). Pleading with God for men and women who do not know Christ is our work.

Read 1 John 5:14-16.

 5:14   And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 
 5:15   And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 
 5:16   If any man see his brother sin a sin [which is] not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 


What happens when we intercede for others?

God is allowed to do what He would not do unless we had prayed. Verse l6 needs to be understood. What kind of sin can we intercede for, and what sins are we told to not pray for forgiveness for?


When we pray for others, we become a channel of God’s blessing to them. He pours out the river of the water of life from heaven’s throne through us to them. Satan’s whole host trembles at the sound of earnest intercession. Ellen G. White describes the power of prayer in these significant words: “Satan cannot endure to have his powerful rival appealed to, for he fears and trembles before His strength and majesty. At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan’s whole host trembles”. — Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 346. Prayer connects us with the Source of divine power in the battle for the souls of lost men and women.

Read Matthew 18:18, 19.

 18:18   Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 
 18:19   Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 


What relationship does this passage have to intercessory prayer, and how is this passage an encouragement to pray with others for the salvation of those who don’t know the Lord?

If we ask for salvation for a sinner, will God always answer our prayer? How then are we to pray for sinners?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Friday        July 24

Further Thought:

Read Ellen G. White, “The Privilege of Prayer”, pp. 93-104, in Steps to Christ; “Work for Church Members”, pp. 19-24, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7.

When we pray for others, God honors our commitment to Him and our dependence on His power by employing all of the resources of heaven to transform human lives. As our prayers ascend to His throne, angelic beings spring into action at His command. “Ministering angels are waiting about the throne to instantly obey the mandate of Jesus Christ to answer every prayer offered in earnest, living faith”. — Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 2, p. 377. We have the assurance that not one prayer is lost, not one is forgotten by God. They are stored up in heaven to be answered at the time and place that He knows best. “The prayer of faith is never lost; but to claim that it will be always answered in the very way and for the particular thing we have expected, is presumption”. — Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 231. What encouragement this gives us as we intercede for our spouses, our sons and daughters, relatives, friends, and working associates that do not know Christ. Not one sincere prayer is ever lost. We may not always see immediate answers in those we pray for, but God is moving upon their hearts in ways we will know only in eternity.

Discussion Questions:


    Read Philippians 1:19; Colossians 4:2, 3; and 2 Thessalonians 3:1, 2.

 1:19   For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 
 4:2   Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 
 4:3   Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
 3:1   Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have [free] course, and be glorified, even as [it is] with you: 
 3:2   And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all [men] have not faith. 


During his imprisonment, what assurance did Paul have because of the Philippians’ prayers? What did he ask the Colossians and Thessalonians to pray for in his behalf? What relationship do these intercessory prayer requests have to soul-winning? 

That he would be saved and receive the Holy Spirit. That God would open the hearts others and that the Word would have power, and that he would be delivered from wicked men.  It is the Holy Spirit that both leads the giver and opens the mind of the receiver to the truth.


    Dwell on the reality of the great controversy and that it forms the grand narrative behind the world that we live in. How does your knowledge of this controversy help you realize the importance of prayer? Yes, Jesus won the war, and we know that His side wins in the end. But in the meantime, why is it so important that we be praying and seeking to do all that we can to stay faithful to Him and to work for the salvation of others?

    What are some of the hindrances to a more effective life of intercessory prayer? What kind of excuses do you use (if you do) to get out of praying more for others who need it?

By God's grace, when we get to heaven, we will see many were lost whom we could have prayed more earnestly for. Why will we weep? Because prayer works. God hears our prayers and answers them the very best way He can. When He does answer them, what thoughts go through your mind? Yes, He hears them and answers them at times immediately! 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.