- LIFE INTERCESSION
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
Mercy and truth go before your face.
Psalm 89:14 NKJV
Life intercession involves Spirit-led action. It’s what we do, other than prayer, to extend the boundaries of the Kingdom of God within our sphere of influence.
It’s involvement at a practical and loving level that will change our society gradually yet profoundly. Along with our prayer and fasting, it’s what real intercession is all about. It will help keep our cities from exploding and give our witness credibility. It is right and righteous and we need to get involved quickly.
The Bible says, “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their trouble, and refuse to let the world corrupt us” ((James 1:27 NLT).
Jesus said that at the judgment he will separate the people according to whether they have shown mercy to the poor and needy. (see Matthew 25:31-46). He said, “When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing to help me” (v. 45 TLB). Judgment will be meted out accordingly. We don’t know what this does to your doctrine, but it certainly shows what is important to the heart of God.
Justice and Mercy: God’s Other Prescription for National Healing
Most Christians today are aware of God’s gracious promise, in 2 Chronicles 7:14, of the
healing of a land in answer to self-humbling, prayer, seeking God’s face and repentance. But we
need to understand another vital Scripture as well.
In Isaiah 58: 6-12 (greatly condensed and paraphrased) God says to Israel, “You’ve been
praying and fasting, and you wonder why I haven’t been answering.” He continues, “If you want
me to hear you, you must do these things:
o Put away quarreling and pointing the finger (of division,)
o Break every yoke (of injustice and oppression,)
o Feed the hungry,
o House the homeless,
o Clothe the naked.”
Does that sound like a word to the modern Church? And do our failures in this regard hinder the hearing of our prayers and the healing of our land?
God goes on to say, “Then—when you do these things—you will call, and I will say,
‘Here I am!’ And your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear.
And you will raise up the foundations of many generations and rebuild your walls and cities.”
For too long one part of the Church has said, “The gospel is concerned only with
individual salvation,” while deriding another for “the social gospel.” Could it be that the Holy
Spirit is saying, “God is concerned with both?”
Instead of saying to a poor mother worried about feeding her children, “God loves you; be warmed and filled,” (while handing her a tract) isn’t it better to say, “God loves you, and he has sent us in Jesus’ name to help you and to bring you good news”? Isn’t it better to support those ministries that minister to AIDS victims and AIDS orphans than to pretend the problem doesn’t exist?
God calls us not only to mercy but to justice as well: “Speak up for those who cannot
speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend
the rights of the poor and needy”(Proverbs 31:8,9 NIV) .
That first line: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” could also be a mandate for us to speak up for the most defenseless of all—the pre-born.
Pastor Rick Warren sent an open letter to President Bush in 2006, saying, “I deeply believe that if we as evangelicals remain silent and do not speak up in defense of the poor, we lose our credibility and our right to witness about God’s love for the world.”
Billy Graham and John Stott endorsed the letter, which was sent to more than 150,000 evangelicals nationwide. The National Association of Evangelicals urged members to begin addressing global poverty and all its related ills.
Many may be surprised to read that the sins that caused God to destroy Sodom were more
than just the one sin that takes its name from that city:
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen” (Ezekiel 16:49-50 NIV).
Can’t the affluent suburban church come alongside the inner-city ministries and together be
about the business of healing and winning our society? Can’t we help them help the needy,
defend the weak, bind up the wounded, and by doing this, present the gospel to people who might not otherwise receive from us? As together we become “God’s love in the flesh,” we fulfill his
conditions given in Isaiah 58.
Then we will cry, and our fasting and prayers will be heard. Then we will see renewal in the church, awakening in our society, and the healing of our land.