Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. (Psalm 25:16-20)
I remember seeing a movie years ago about a priest who fell in love with a nun. The discovery of their love led to both being excommunicated by the Church. They were two broken people who did not know where to turn. In need of healing and compassion, but found none. They did not find grace but judgment and accusation and the end for both was tragic: One life ending in death and the other to mental, emotional and spiritual torment.
Satan gets joy out of every soul he can capture, but he seems to take even greater delight in the souls he can capture that were once secure in Christ. He is truly as Peter stated; “A roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8)
It is painful to see good people fall. It’s painful to see God’s people fall into sin and the clutches of the devil. And we should cry with and for them and not judge them, not shut the door on them, not criticize them; but seek to help them in any way we can. Christ came as a restorer of souls; something that perplexed the church(?)! They questioned His motives and authority. They did not understand why he forgave what they themselves would have judged? Remember the woman caught in adultery?
The Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”(John 8:3-5)
But Isaiah prophesied how Christ would handle brokenness and sin;
Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench (Isaiah 42:1-4).
Much to the dismay of the Accuser Jesus does not kill, does not cry out against, does not put to death, but brings renewed life! Just as the Intercessor does not stand with the accuser, does not join in with gossipers, ridiculers, or haters, but prays fervently for their brother or sister gone astray: knowing in their heart of hearts; “There for the grace of God, go I!”
When the people of Israel sinned greatly God was ready to destroy them but Moses pleaded for them instead:
And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them…I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.” but Moses implored the LORD his god and sais; O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? (Exodus 32:7-8,9-11)
In Psalm 1 David reveals;
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers…(Ps. 1:1-2)
In Psalm 25 (above) David pleads for forgiveness for all his sin. The sin he could do nothing about: sinful as a state of being (from birth) and transgressions (sinful acts of the will). He knew it was only God’s grace that could save and deliver him because the enemies that wanted to see his destruction and downfall were truly many!
If you continue in prayer the Holy Spirit will add to your concerns those who have fallen into the clutches of Satan and his followers.
The Word of God gives us many passages to pray for our friends, neighbors, loved ones, brothers and sisters in community who are in the dire straits of sin. And we can do more than X them off our prayer list, we can even go further than praying for their strength: We can storm the strong man’s house and ties up his spoils and reclaim them for God’s purposes:
When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger that he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Luke 11:22-23)
Can you see how God has chosen and appointed the intercessor to be the Stronger man; to be a collector of the devil’s spoils? One who can enter the devil’s domain, tread on his territory, plunder his house, take possession of his spoils and release them for good and God-purposes?
Our strong and fervent prayers can bring some back from the dead. Can release the captive and snatch some from the fires of hell. We can declare (spiritual) war through prayer and Satan does not stand a chance against the saints of God in prayer because the prayers of the righteous do not fail! James put it this way;
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is (sin) sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working…my brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:15-16, 19-20)
How do we pray for the broken, those held captive and captivated by the world, the flesh, Satan and his band, those in danger of losing their soul?
- We can take out the Word of God which is always our weapon of mass destruction against sin, the world and the devil.
- We can mark and pray the promise of God for these broken and endangered lives.
- We can fast and pray for the hard and difficult cases.
- We can pray without ceasing.
- We can intercede just as Moses did for the people of Israel and appeal to God’s longsuffering, mercy and grace
- We can believe the Word and promises of God are stronger than the lies of Satan.
- We can pray and wait patiently.
- We can love
- We can call the devil who he really is when he attacks or accuses our prayers as ineffective and weak
- We can dismiss him with the same power Christ sent him away in the wilderness
- We can hope and trust in the power of God to save
- We can pray them through, pray till enlightenment, pray till truth penetrates, pray till Satan’s hands are pried off, pray till victory, pray till they fall upward and forward into heaven’s grace and Go’s forgiveness!
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