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Materials for Daily Intercessory Prayer (PDF)

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Materials for Daily Intercessory Prayer
Robert Wodrow, Esq., of Glasgow (1679-1734)

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Materials for Daily Intercessory Prayer
Robert Wodrow, Esq., of Glasgow (1679-1734)

Introduction.

SEEING it is a fundamental truth that believers are one with Christ, and in him with one another, he being the Head and they the members, 1 Cor. 12:12, Eph. 4:25; seeing that through him they are all possessed of the selfsame Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:13; and that by this one Spirit they have access to the Father, Eph. 2:18; it must needs follow, that as there is thus a community of privilege established among Christians, so there ought to be a community of feeling and of aim in the exercise of the privilege.

The great design of God in constituting the Church, and calling a people unto himself out of the world, is the glorifying of his own name, Isa. 43:21, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.” Hence the comprehensive doxology of the apostle, Eph. 3:20, 21, which should find a ready response in the heart of every Christian—”Unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us; unto him be glory in the Church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

There are three leading ways in which the saints are made use of for glorifying God:—1. As being, in themselves, subjects of grace. 2. As being specimens of grace to others, whether angels or men. 3. As being channels or instruments whereby grace actually flows out to their fellow-men. Eph. 1:12; 1 Tim. 1:16; Eph. 3:10; Ps. 87:7.

In respect of their active agency, they are appointed in and under Christ to deal with men on behalf of God, and to deal with God on behalf of men. Acts 1:8; 1 Tim. 2:1.

It is to the latter of these functions that the attention of the people of God is now called—an office the most honourable that can be conceived, that of being the Lord’s remembrancers, Isa. 62:6 (margin). Yet, honourable as it is, it is to be feared that the duty to which it points is by many greatly neglected: for while there are some who, like Daniel, may be denominated “men of desires,” Dan. 10:11 (margin), there are multitudes of whom it may literally be said, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name,” John 16:24.

The three leading petitions of the Lord’s prayer—Hallowed be thy name, —thy kingdom come, —thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven—as they are exceedingly large in their import, so they ought to constitute the model and the substance of the prayers presented by the people of God in concert.

It is impossible to give, in an address of this kind, anything beyond a few hints in regard to the subjects with which the glory of Jehovah’s name may be considered as more especially connected. The following outline is submitted, leaving it to God’s people, by the help of the Word and the promised Spirit of grace, to fill it up and enlarge it.

I.

Second Coming of Christ.

CHRIST and his people being one, the Church being his body, the fulness of Him who filleth all in all, Eph. 1:23, it is manifest that till every child of God has been called to the fellowship of his Son, something must be wanting both to the full manifestation of the glory of the Divine Head, and to the complete blessedness of the mystical body. To this consummation all things tend. For this end the whole framework of Providence has been arranged, and all the ordinances of grace appointed, 2 Pet. 3:7-9; 1 Cor. 11:26; Matt. 24:14. When all the living stones composing the holy temple destined to be an habitation of God through the Spirit, Eph. 2:22, have been built upon the precious cornerstone laid in Zion, 1 Pet. 2:5, 6, the temporary scaffolding shall be taken down, and the head-stone brought forth with shoutings of Grace, grace, unto it, Zech. 4:7.

Surely, then, it becomes us to have continually in our eye this day of the Lord, when Christ shall appear in his own glory, Matt. 25:31, and in the glory of his Father, 16:27, attended by the holy angels—the day of the manifestation of the sons of God, Rom. 8:19, when the Lord Jesus shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, 2 Thess. 1:10; when for the first time the divine character and government shall be fully vindicated, Jude 14, 15; when the people of Christ, seeing him as he is, shall (oh, blessed consummation!) be altogether like him, 1 John 3:2—the entire Church thoroughly sanctified and cleansed—presented to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish, Eph. 5:26, 27, and every individual member made perfect both in soul and body, Phil. 3:20, 21—completely blessed in serving and enjoying God to all eternity, 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 21:1-7, 10, 11, 22; 22:1-7.

Is it not to be feared that many Christians in the present day are too little in the habit of looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God? 2 Pet. 3:12, 13; and does not this argue a deficiency in the grace of faith, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11:1, giving them, however distant they may be in respect of time, a present reality and subsistence in the mind; and a deficiency in the grace of love, which should make us desire the full manifestation of the Redeemer’s glory, and our perfect enjoyment of his love to us? Certain it is, that in the New Testament we find this great event, the coming of the Lord, continually referred to as a grand motive to holiness and comfort; and therefore we should seek to stir up ourselves and one another, that we may be put into that attitude of mind which answers the calls of the word in this respect; so that, with an eye to the full meaning of the petition, we may be able to pray, “Thy kingdom come,” (comp. 1 Cor. 15:24), and to respond to the solemn announcement, “Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him,” with our Even so, Amen. See Heb. 9:28; 10:37; 11:16; 12:28; 13:14; James 5:8; Acts 1:11; 1 Pet. 1:3-9; 2 Pet. 3:10-14; 1 John 2:28; 4:17; Rev. 1:7; Jude 14, 15; Rev. 2:25-29; 3:11; 20:11-15; 22:20; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-4; 2 Thess. 2:1; 1 Tim. 6:13, 14; 2 Tim. 1:18; 4:7, 8; Titus 2:13; Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 16:22; 15 throughout; 6:2; Rom. 14:7-12; Matt. 25:31-46.

II.

Glory of the Latter Day—Conversion of Israel.

HABITUALLY desiring the coming of the Lord, we shall be naturally led to abound in prayer for the accomplishment of those objects which, we have every reason from the word to believe, must be fulfilled before that great final event takes place. Glorious things are spoken of the state of the Church in the latter day. It will be a time of universal enjoyment of the blessings of Messiah’s kingdom. The figures by which it is described are often manifestly taken from the heavenly state itself, as the figures which describe those awful judgments whereby the millennial rest is to be introduced are frequently taken from the terrible accompaniments of the judgment day, according to the usual way of prophetic description.

For the glory of God, the exaltation of Christ, and the salvation of men, we ought greatly to long and pray for the coming of this time. Earth will then, in a great measure, resemble heaven. All nations shall be blessed in Jesus, Ps. 72:17. All families of the earth shall be blessed in him, Gen. 12:3. The whole earth shall be filled with his glory, Ps. 72:19. The number of believers shall be so great as to be like the grass which covers the face of nature with its verdure (verse 16), or like the dew-drops of the morning which reflect the rays of the sun; so shall Messiah’s people be in that day of his power, Ps. 110:3.

Who would not with his whole heart desire this blessed time? In that day the Lord shall have bound up the breach of his ancient Israel, and healed the stroke of their wound, Isa. 30:26. Their conversion is to be made a principal link in the chain of divine providences, whereby the world is to be made alive unto God. It is to be life from the dead to the rest of the world, Rom. 11:15. It will be a season of extraordinary manifestation of the divine glory, Ps. 102:16; of the richest outpouring of the divine Spirit, compare Rom. 11:26, Isa. 59:20, 21, Ezek. 39:29; of unparalleled light, Isa. 30:26; of deepest mourning for sin, personal, domestic, and national, Zech. 12:10-14; yet of holy, spiritual rejoicing and thanksgiving of the most elevated kind, Isa. 12, compared with 11:11. The whole circumstances connected with the restoration of Israel will be such as to arrest the attention of the unconverted nations, Ezek. 36:36, 37:28; and thereby to magnify the word of God in the eyes of mankind. See Rev. 20:4-6; Isa. 59:20, 21; 60 throughout; 66:5-24; Jer. 30, 31, 33; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4 throughout; 7:15-17; Zeph. 3:14 to end; Zech. 2:10-13; 8:18-23; 10:6-12; 12:9-14; 14:16-21; Isa. 2:1–5; 11, 12; Ezek. 36, 37; Dan. 2:44; 7:27; Joel 3:18-21.

III.

Present State of the World.

WHEN THEN we descend in our contemplation from the heights of Zion, Jer. 31:12, and turn to things as they now are, O how changed is the scene presented to us! The world still lieth in wickedness, 1 John 5:19. Satan, its god, holds men in bondage, 2 Cor. 4:4. The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty, Ps. 74:20. Hundreds of millions of the human race are still in a state of heathenism. Of those who are called by the Christian name, the vast majority belong to churches that are corrupt. Antichrist survives, and is still a mighty power in the earth. Infidelity and iniquity abound—sabbath-breaking, profanity, intemperance, covetousness, fraud, licentiousness; and the love of many waxes cold.

But are we, on account of these things, to despond? No, verily. The worm Jacob will yet thrash the mountains, Isa. 41:14-16. It is the property of faith to say, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, Job 13:15. Faith renounces all confidences save the word of God, the arm of God, the love of God. Faith, with a divine promise in its hand, laughs at impossibilities. It can remove mountains and cast them into the sea; because, venting itself in prayer, it moves the hand that moves the world. Stirring up ourselves to take hold on God, Isa. 64:7, let us pray that he would make bare his arm in the sight of the nations; pour his Spirit upon all flesh; stand by and bless all faithful missionaries, in home and foreign fields, among Gentiles and Jews—going up as “the breaker” before them; giving testimony to the gospel they preach; removing the mightiest barriers (as of late so wonderfully in China); giving to the Churches a spirit of large-hearted, self-sacrificing liberality as to the requisite pecuniary means; every way fulfilling that prayer, Ps. 45:3, 4, “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty; and in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.” See Gen. 3:14, 15; Rev. 20:1-3, 10; Rom. 16:20; 1 John 3:8; Luke 10:17-22; Eph. 6:10-20; Joel 2:28; Isa. 32:13, 15-17; Rev. 12:11; Dan. 7:9-14; 8:13, 14; 12:1; Rev. 19:11-21; Rev. 8:3-5; Ezek. 37:1-10; Ps. 74:11-20.

IV.

The Children of God everywhere.

HOW earnest should the people of God be for one another, seeing that on them, instrumentally, are suspended results so momentous. They are Christ’s witnesses, Rev. 11:3. Let us pray for one another that we may fulfil this high calling. They are the Lord’s remembrancers, Isa. 62:6, 7. Let us pray that we may never hold our peace, day nor night, and may give him no rest till he establish and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. They are the epistles of Christ. Let us pray that we may be manifestly declared to be so by our resemblance to Christ, 2 Cor. 3:2, 3.
Nothing can exceed the encouragements which we have to pray for the Lord’s people. They are his chosen ones, John 10:29; the purchase of his blood, 1 Cor. 6:20; the workmanship of his Spirit, Eph. 2:10; the objects of the everlasting love of the Father, the redeeming work of the Son, and the saving grace of the Holy Spirit, 1 Pet. 1:2. In praying for them, we pray for the carrying out of that great design for which the Son of God became incarnate, Matt. 1:21; on which his heart is set, Isa. 49:16; and to which everything in creation and providence is subordinate, Rom. 8:28, Deut. 32:8; we pray for those for whom he intercedes, John 17; in whose welfare he delights, John 15:8-11; in whose salvation he is glorified, Isa. 43:21, Eph. 2:7. They are the jewels which compose his crown, Mal. 3:17; the inheritance which he claims as peculiarly his own, Ps. 135:4, Deut. 32:9. They are God’s husbandry—they are God’s building, 1 Cor. 3:9. They are not merely servants, but sons, Gal. 4:7; and if children, then heirs—heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, Rom. 8:17.

We are sure, then, that we are doing what is agreeable to the mind of God, when we abound much in earnest supplication, prayer, and thanksgiving on behalf of all saints. It is not needful that we should know who and where they are, for whether we know them or not, the Lord knoweth them that are his, 2 Tim. 2:19. Let us seek the highest blessings for them as well as for ourselves, as we find the holy apostle doing, Eph. 3:14-21. Let us pray, as he elsewhere does, that they may increase and abound more and more in knowledge, faith, love, hope, and every grace, Col. 1:9-12; 2:1, 2; Phil. 1:9-11; Eph. 1:15-23; 1 Thess. 1:2-4; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:4; Rom. 1:9; Eph. 4:13-16; Rom. 15:13. Let us desire that they may come behind in no gift, 1 Cor. 1:7, seeking that their joy may be full, 1 John 1:4, and giving thanks for the grace of God already bestowed upon them, Rom. 1:8; Phil. 1:3-6.

We should seek to remember the people of God at the throne of grace, according to the various cases and circumstances, outward and inward, in which they may be placed—that the feeble-minded may be comforted, 1 Thess. 5:14; that the bowed down may be raised up, Ps. 146:8; that those who are in darkness may obtain light, Micah 7:8; that those who are bound by Satan may be loosed, Luke 13:16; that such precious promises as these may be fulfilled, Isa. 51:3; that those who are but babes in Christ may be strengthened to the full exercise of their spiritual senses, Heb. 5:12-14; the little children growing to the maturity of manhood, and the fathers glorifying God and edifying others by their knowledge of Him who is from the beginning, 1 John 2:13, 14; comp. 1:1-4, 5:13; see 1 Cor. 12 throughout; Rom. 12:4-8. We should also desire sanctified health and prosperity to one another, 3 John 2; and seek that chastisements may be blessed, Heb. 12:1-13; that death may be gain, Phil. 1:21; and that such as may be passing through the dark valley may have Jehovah’s presence with them, Ps. 23:4; and an entrance ministered to them abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:11. We should pray that while in the world, being members of various communities, they may be enabled therein to glorify Him who has called them out of darkness into his marvellous light, 1 Pet. 2:9, 25; 3:1-9; so that others may take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus, Acts 4:13; and whether as superiors, inferiors, or equals, they may be blessed and made a blessing. See Gen. 30:27; 39:5, 21-23; 18:17-33; Jer. 5:1; Matt. 5:13; 1 Cor. 7:16; Acts 28:23, 24; 2 Sam. 23:3, 4; Ezek. 24:26; Ps. 67.

V.

Means of Grace—The Ministry—Effusion of the Spirit—Revival.

ABOUNDING in prayer for the people of God, we will seek that the means of grace, and especially the gospel ministry, may be greatly blessed for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Eph. 4:11, 12, as also for the turning of sinners from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, Acts 26:17, 18. We will plead for the presence of Christ in his ordinances, according to his promise, Matt. 28:19, 20; Exod. 20:24. We will desire that he may be exalted and extolled, and made very high in a preached word, Isa. 52:13. We will be ready to say like Moses, Exod. 33:15, “If thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence.” We will desire that He who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, Rev. 1:13, may show us his glory, Exod. 33:18. We will, if rightly exercised, never be satisfied with ordinances, however purely administered, unless we and other believers find Him whom our souls love, Song 3:1–4.

For this end we will plead for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the revealer of Jesus, the converter of souls, John 16:7-11; Acts 1:4; Luke 11:13; Ezek. 36:25-27, 37; 37:9; Song 4:16; 5:1. We will desire that the Lord’s servants in the ministry may enjoy a double portion of the Spirit—that they may be skilful in the word of righteousness, Matt. 13:52; Heb. 5:13; that they may preach, not themselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, 2 Cor. 4:5; as ambassadors for Christ, sent to beseech men in his name to be reconciled to God, 2 Cor. 5:20. We will seek that they may be enabled to declare all the counsel of God, Acts 20:27; that they may feed the Church of God purchased with his own blood; that out of love to Christ they may feed his sheep—may feed his lambs, John 21:15-17; that they may be instant in season, out of season, able to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine, 2 Tim. 4:1, 2. We will earnestly desire the increase of faithful ministers, and an abundant blessing to rest upon their labours, 1 Cor. 3:7; 1:21–24; 2:2. We will fervently plead that the Lord of the harvest may send forth many such into his harvest, Luke 10:1, 2; as also sustain and bless abundantly the varied agencies now at work, more especially in connection with the Press, for the advancement of pure and undefiled religion.

We will, with our whole hearts, desire the purity, the unity, the efficiency, the enlargement, the universal establishment of the Christian Church, pleading the fulfilment of such promises and declarations as these, Matt. 3:11, 12; John 2:13-17; 17:20-23; Matt. 24:14; 1 Cor. 12, 13; Isa. 54:2, 3; 52:1, 2; 2:1, 2, 4; Ps. 68:9-13, &c. We will give thanks for any revivals vouchsafed in former times, and for those blessed ones which have signalized these later years, in our own and other lands, praying for their diffusion on every side, Zech. 10:1; so that by the plentiful effusion of the Holy Spirit, Pentecostal days may be everywhere revived and surpassed, Acts 2:2, 17, 18, 36-47; 4:31-33; 6:7; 8:5, 8; 9:31; 11:21; 12:24; 13:48, 49; 14:3; 19:20; Ps. 104:30. We will mourn over our own sins and the sins of the Church, as having provoked the Lord to withhold his blessing, and seek that they may be pardoned and purged away—see Isa. 59:1, 2; Dan. 9; Ezra 9; Neh. 9; Isa. 4:2-6; Joel 3:21; and will earnestly desire that all things may be conformed to the mind of Christ as made known to the Church universal, Rev. 2, 3—the exhortations, warnings, encouragements, and reproofs contained in which passages should be taken home by each several Church, minister, and individual, according as they may apply.

VI.

The Family—The Young—Sabbath Schools.

CHRISTIANS should pray for those with whom they stand immediately connected, their families and kindred, that the Spirit of the Lord may be poured forth upon them—that so those who are unconverted among them may be converted, and those who are already in Christ may be confirmed. Domestic worship, instruction, and government, being eminently an ordinance of God, his people ought to unite in prayer, that it may everywhere be observed and blessed as a special means of maintaining, extending, and perpetuating the influence of true religion—Eph. 6:1-4; Gen. 18:17-19; Gen. 7:1; comp. Heb. 11:7; Ps. 145:4. That is a most remarkable prediction with which the Old Testament closes, Mal. 4:6; and, though uttered in the form of prophecy, it may be converted at the throne of grace into a promise.

How great a subject of daily prayer is the work of God among the young—the children of our families, and our sabbath schools! How urgent the need, and manifold the encouragement also, to plead that the Lord would give to parents and teachers, all needful wisdom, tenderness, zeal, patience, prayerfulness; and that, by the effusion of his Spirit, he would make their labours effectual in the conversion, and large ultimate usefulness and holiness of the young under their care! See Ps. 90:16; Isa. 44:3-5; Mark 10:13, 14, 16; Gal. 4:19; Prov. 22:6; 8:17; 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14, 15.

VII.

The Nation.

CHRISTIANS, wherever they are, being members of the commonwealth, or national family, ought to pray for those to whom they thus stand related. “I exhort,” says the apostle, “that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour,” 1 Tim. 2:1-3. Prayer ought to be constantly offered by us for our rulers, supreme and subordinate; for legislators and judges; for our army and navy. It is remarkable that even when Judah was carried captive to Babylon, they were commanded, Jer. 29:7, to seek the peace of the city whither they were carried captive, and to pray to the Lord for it. Civil government is an ordinance of God, and is to be honoured as such, Rom. 13:1-7. And seeing it is expressly predicted that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, Rev. 11:15; and that civil rulers shall favour Zion, Isa. 49:23, 60:10; and that the glorious Redeemer takes to himself the title of King of kings, Rev. 19:16, as well as King of the Church, Ps. 2:6, it must be the sacred duty of all who are concerned for the manifestation of the divine glory in this apostate world, to pray that the divinely appointed ordinance of civil government may be everywhere sanctified to the highest and best ends (comp. Zech. 14:9, 20); and that by the public maintenance of the law of God, the shunning of all aggressive and needless war, the removal of all slavery and all slave traffic, and the respect rendered to the gospel of grace and peace, the great Jehovah may be openly acknowledged and honoured as “King of nations,” Jer. 10:7

Although these several subjects of prayer have been set down in a particular order, it is not of course intended that that order should at all times be observed. This must be left to the determination of individuals, and the drawings of the Spirit of grace, who bloweth as he listeth. Nevertheless, it will generally be found of great advantage to follow a distinct order in continued supplication for a variety of objects—either proceeding from the lesser to the greater, —from the nearer to the more remote, the circle thus always enlarging; or else (as in the previous outline) beginning with that whose circumference is most ample, and descending to matters subordinate to it and to each other.

If, when the primitive Church assembled with one accord in one place at Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit was remarkably poured out in answer to their united prayers, what might we not expect if all Christians throughout the world were agreed together as concerning what they should ask, every day, and not for some specified days merely, from time to time? If, in answer to the prayers of the one hundred and twenty disciples, the Pentecostal first-fruits were given, might we not hope that the full harvest would be reaped, when myriads came in one body, daily, to the throne of grace—all guided by the same Spirit of adoption—all pleading the finished work of Immanuel—and praying that He, the adorable Redeemer, might see of the travail of his soul, and be fully satisfied?

“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us: that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad, and sing for joy; for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him,” Ps. 67.

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