Standing in the Gap

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Synopsis of Standing in the Gap       (Intercession for our leaders))

We’re about to slice a piece of the bread of life, the word of God. And today’s slice comes from: 2nd. Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and seek my face , and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attend unto the prayer that is made in this place.

The title of today’s message, Standing in the Gap, is about intercession for our leaders.

I want to fit in to that pattern – but, confess to you that I do so out of the kind of sense that D.T. Niles said when he described evangelism. He said, “One beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”

None of us are experts in prayer, the more we pray, the more we realize that we are limited, and that we are not tapping into all the resources of power that prayer has for us.

I want to now share a “Peanuts” cartoon with you. Lucy is the meanest character of all the peanut characters. She‘s the one that is always taunting Charlie Brown and Linus. In fact, she is the one that is always pulling tricks on everybody. In one cartoon, the artist, Charles Schultz, has Lucy kneeling beside her bed praying: “I would pray for greater patience and understanding, but I’m afraid I might get is.”

That’s the way it is with me sometimes. I know there are needs in my life, attitude changes, lack of faith, strained relationships …. things that need to change. I know that if is stay on my knees long enough they’ll change. So my confession is, I don’t stay on my knees long enough. Therefore, as I preach today, see me as “One beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”

I recently received a sermon by Maxie Dunnam who painted a picture for me. I’s like to let him plant a picture in your mind that will be a backdrop for my sharing today about the work of intercession. So here is his picture:

I first went to the Soviet Union in 1981 and came away frustrated and confused. I experienced pain to see beautiful churches turned into warehouses, factories and communist meeting halls. For a long time after that the picture I had of Russian church was old women, grandmothers, they are called “Babuskas,” wrapped in their head scarves, clad in heavy sweaters and coats, sitting in the dark corners for the two or three churches we visited, sometimes dusting and polishing the altar and furniture of the churches that were no longer places of worship, praying before the icons.

But, I kept asking myself, what can these grandmothers do? How can they keep alive the faith of the church? Where are the young people, and how are the young people going to receive the Christian witness?

A few years after that, at the celebration of 1000 years of the Church in Russia, someone asked a Russian Priest whether it was healthy for the church to be composed of so many aged mothers. He replied with a story:

In the early days of communism, many churches were blown up and the Priest, Monks, and Nuns were executed. (It was estimated that during the Lenin – Stalin regime, over 40 millions died.) Lenin argued that once grandmothers died, nobody would remember shat there had been a church in Russia. But now… the Priest said, Lenin is long dead, and the church is still full of grandmothers who were children when he was alive

He concluded: “As long as the Russian Church has it’s grandmothers, it will survive.”

Friends…. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the crumbling of the atheistic system of government and economics we have heard a similar work. It was the grandmothers – the praying grandmothers – who kept the faith alive in all of those countries.

WOW …. That is a vivid picture of the standing in the gap. And I hope you will keep that picture in your mind, remembering the word of the priest…. “One beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”

Prayer mean that no one of us can ever say THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO.

Let me repeat:

Prayer mean that no one of us can ever say THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO.

Now, I am going to say something that some of you may think is blasphemous.               God, the all-powerful, the sovereign Lord of the universe, …… needs us.

Yes, He needs us, and with that I am not questioning His power, or His sovereignty.

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