In 1787, prayer helped determine the future of our country in a significant way. The Constitutional Convention was on the verge of total failure over the issue of whether small states should have the same representation as large states. In this hopeless situation, 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin offered a suggestion. He was convinced Scripture is right when it states, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1), so he said: “Gentlemen, I have lived a long time and am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? I move that prayer imploring the assistance of Heaven to be held every morning before we proceed to business.” p 1046 The motion carried. From then on prayer was offered each morning. The change after prayer was introduced was so dramatic that in a short while a compromise was reached which is still in effect today. 1 Successfully praying for the President and our nation’s leaders have several key elements. We begin to examine these elements in today’s Light on Life podcast.
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Accept the Challenge
Each week’s podcast contains a call to action. The Word of God will not produce in your life unless you put into operation.
This week’s call is:
Adjustments must be made in our ‘prayer thinking’ when praying for the leaders of our nation. The Lord must be allowed to ‘build the house’ as the psalmists said. That means waiting and listening to what the Spirit of God has to say about God’s plan.
Join the Conversation
Each week’s podcast also contains a question designed to encourage testimony. Testimony is vital to a believer’s life. We overcome by it (Rev. 12:11).
This week’s question is:
Question: Please share your personal testimony of an adjustment you made which lead to an increase in the Presence of God in your life. Please share your comments, in the comments section below.
You can find additional information on the Presence of God in the resources listed below.
- #S1-049: How to Cultivate Gods Presence In Your Life [Podcast]
- #S1-050: More How to Cultivate Gods Presence In Your Life [Podcast]
- # S3:025: How Timely Adjustments Unlock The Presence of God [Podcast]
Emery committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ over 40 years ago and has served as both a full-time pastor and an itinerant minister. Both he and his wife Sharon of 35 years emphasize personal growth and development through the Word of God. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is both the focus and the hallmark of their mission. Read more about them here.
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Except the Lord Builds the House
Psalm 127:1 (NKJV) 1 Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.
- The word build is a verb, and it means to make something by combining materials and parts.
- The word build is a verb, an action word.
- But, who’s doing the action?
- The Lord is.
- If you desire to be Spirit-led, you are going to have to wait for His action.
- Wait for Him to energize you.
- If you want to live a Holy Ghost empowered life, get used to the concept of waiting.
- They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) 31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
- The next word you need to get is the word ‘vain’.
- The word ‘vain’ means worthlessness. It is the quality of being valueless or futile.
- So laboring without the Lord doing His part, is not just a little bit bad.
- It’s a complete and absolute worthless endeavor. You are wasting your time.
- The third word you need to get is the word labor.
- The word labor means to work hard.
- So, you can have the right intention, you can be like the watchman, staying awake all night, but unless the Lord is building, unless the Lord is directing you in your endeavors all you have is pile of valueless effort.
- Valueless stuff is only good for firewood.
- Burn the pile.
1 Corinthians 3:12–13 (NKJV) 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
- Do you see the word ‘build’ again?
- Unless the Lord builds the house unless you build on the right foundation.
- Did you notice, the words wood, hay, and stubble?
- How do you get wood, hay, and stubble?
- Hard work. Someone has to cut down the tree for the wood. Till, plant and harvest the hay and straw.
- How do you get gold, silver, and precious stones?
- You get them the same way, hard work.
- Someone has to mine out the gold and silver. Someone has to dig out the precious stones.
- The issue is not hard work. The issue is God leading you?
- How do you build on God’s foundation?
- You let the Lord do it through you.
- You let the Spirit of God tell you where to put your shovel.
- You let Him tell you what kind of shovel or tool to use.
- Leave nothing to chance.
- Leave nothing to the way you think it should go.
- In the area of prayer, notice these verses.
Mark These Powerful Prayer Verses
Romans 8:26 (NKJV) 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Ephesians 6:17–18 (NKJV) 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
Praying for Your Enemies
Matthew 5:43–48 (ESV) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- Mark these verses. Don’t let them get away from you.
- Matthew 5:44 says, ‘Pray for those who persecute you.’
- Do you really have a concept of what persecution is?
- In America, we experience persecution on a minor level.
- To us, it’s praying for those who do mean or cross things to us.
- In many other parts of the world believer’s experience persecution to the point of imprisonment or death.
- However, if people are persecuting at any level because you are a Christian, they do so not because they are your enemies but because they are enemies of Jesus.
- Any friend of Jesus is your friend.
- Any enemy of Jesus is your enemy.
- Jesus certainly looks at you that way.
Acts 26:14 (ESV) 14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’
- Jesus considered the persecution of believers by the hand of Saul a direct persecution of Himself.
- There are many enemies of Jesus alive and well on 21st-century planet earth.
- The same spirit which drove the 1st-century man to exterminate the Son of God is still alive and well on planet earth today.
- If Jesus would have come now in the 21st century as opposed to the 1st century, the end result would be the same – they would crucify Him all over again.
- I used to wonder about the total evangelization of the world.
- We have so much more technology today to hear about Jesus that was absent in the 1st century.
- What about all those people who did not hear of Jesus in the 1st century?
- I was meditating about the fairness of all this when the Spirit of God said these words in my Spirit.
“Those that have hated me would have hated me no matter what generation they lived in. And those that have loved me would have loved me no matter when they lived.”
- It doesn’t matter when you were born.
- If you love Jesus today, you would have loved Him in the first century, or any century you lived in.
- The same is true of those who say they hate him today.
- They would have hated him no matter when they lived.
- That’s why there’s an eternal hell.
- They can never be let out.
- They will always hate him. Always.
- The Lake of Fire is a forever prison, not a rehabilitation center.
- “What are you saying?” I am saying that the spirit of the Jesus haters of the 1st century is still around.
- Since Jesus is the head of the body called the church, then any persecution of the body is persecution of the Head of the body.
- But, this also works vice-versa. Any enemy of Jesus is an enemy of the body.
- Even so, the Bible directive remains.
- Pray for your enemies.
Praying for Kings and Presidents
Genesis 20:1–4a (ESV) 1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not approached her…
- This is a verse ladies which should make you shout.
- At the time Abimelech took Sarah, she was ninety years old.
- Don’t tell me God can’t preserve you because this woman, Sarah had the stuff.
- Abimelech certainly thought so.
- He took her to himself thinking she was single.
- The words ‘took her’ means he added her as a wife or as another member of his harem.
- When God appeared to the king in a dream, and warned he was a dead man for taking Sarah, Abimelech told the Lord I have not approached her.
- ‘I have not approached her is figurative language’ for having sexual relations.’
- So you get the story.
- God warned Abimelech because he was getting ready to commit adultery with a ninety year old woman.
- Now, Abimelech was a Cannanite king.
- The term ‘Abimelech’ is a title not the name of king.
- It’s like the term ‘Pharaoh’.
- The name Abimelech means ‘father of a king’.
- Abimelech, in this case of mistaken identity, receives instructions from God, the last of which include Abraham ‘praying for’ him.
Genesis 20:4a-7 (ESV) 4b… So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”
- Isn’t this interesting?
- Abimelech is having a conversation with God yet God instructs Abimelech to have Abraham pray for him.
- Why did God tell Abimelech to have Abraham pray for him?
- Abimelech was already talking to God, why didn’t he just continue his conversation with God?
- Why does he have to go and get a third person involved?
- First, take a look at the Hebrew word pray used in verse seven in the phrase, ‘he will pray for you.’
- The word pray means to mediate, intervene, or intercede.
- God’s command was ‘return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet.’
- Prophet means Abraham had the anointing upon his life.
The Anointed Should Pray
- In the Old Testament, there were only three types of people who were anointed, prophets, priests, and kings.
- God wants the anointed man to rise up and pray.
- Moses was a prophet.
Deuteronomy 34:10 (NKJV) 10 But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
- Aaron got in trouble over the golden calf which he fashioned for the children of Israel when Moses went long visiting God.
- The Lord was ready to drop the hammer on Aaron.
- How did he get out of it?
Deuteronomy 9:20 (NKJV) 20 And the LORD was very angry with Aaron and would have destroyed him; so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time.
- Moses, the man with the anointing prayed for him.
- Samuel was a greatly anointed prophet of God.
1 Samuel 7:5 (NKJV) 5 And Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the LORD for you.”
1 Samuel 7:8 (NKJV) 8 So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
1 Samuel 12:19 (NKJV) 19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.”
1 Samuel 12:23 (NKJV) 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.
- Jeremiah was also a greatly anointed prophet of God.
- Here’s Jeremiah praying for the people.
Jeremiah 37:3 (NKJV) 3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Pray now to the Lord our God for us.”
Jeremiah 42:2 (NKJV) 2 and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please, let our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us to the Lord your God, for all this remnant (since we are left but a few of many, as you can see),
Jeremiah 42:4 (NKJV) 4 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard. Indeed, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your words, and it shall be, that whatever the Lord answers you, I will declare it to you. I will keep nothing back from you.”
- Now, there are way more scriptures which show the prophets praying for the people than there are the kings and priests.
- There’s a few but not many.
- We have David praying and interceding for the people over his own sin.
2 Samuel 24:17 (NKJV) 17 Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”
2 Chronicles 32:20 (NKJV) 20 Now because of this King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried out to heaven.
- So, God wanted the prophets to pray for the people.
- They said, woe if I don’t.
- Why the prophets?
- What about the rest of the anointed?
- The thing about the prophets that was so vital in the area of prayer is that they heard God.
- Now, they had spiritual gifts, revelation gifts, which helped them in their hearing; the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, the discerning of spirits.
- They didn’t hear God in their hearts.
- They heard him by gifts of the Spirit.
- The point is still the same.
Are You Hearing God?
- If you want to pray successfully, you have to hear God.
- Hearing is a part of praying.
- We do not know what to pray for as we ought and neither did the prophets until God showed them.
- The spirit of God would come upon these prophets and pronounce the Word of the Lord unto the people.
- When the people heard it, they said, “Wow, pray for us, we need it bad.” So, the prophets prayed.
- What adjustments do you need to make in your prayer life?
- Is active hearing part of your prayer discipline?
- If not, there’s only one way to classify this, religious not divinely spiritual.
- When we come to the New Testament, prayer is a whole, completely different, deal.
- The anointed are still praying, except for one thing, everyone is anointed.
1 John 2:27 (NKJV) 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
- The prophets are still hearing, except for one thing, so is everybody else.
2 Corinthians 6:16 (NKJV) 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”
- ‘And because I am walking in you’, God said…
Romans 8:14 (NKJV) 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
- Because God said, I am going to walk in you. I am going to live in you.
- Anointed folk, who hear God, need to rise up and pray for kings.
1 Timothy 2:1–2 (ESV) 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
- The authority to pray for kings rests with the anointed who hear.
- It rests with those called by God.
- But, adjustments have to be made.
- ‘The Bible Friend’, Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 1045–1046. ↩