Samuel: an Example of Intercession
1 Samuel 12:23
Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you…

It is a very great privilege to be permitted to pray for our fellow men Such prayers are often of unspeakable value to those for whom they are offered. Intercessory prayer is a benefit to the man who exercises it, and is often a better channel of comfort than any other means of grace. The Lord turned again the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends. I would have you stirred up to diligent supplication by the example of Samuel, who is worthy to be placed in the very forefront of intercessors.

I. Let us dwell upon HIS HABIT OF INTERCESSION, for it was most manifest in Samuel. We gather this from the text. He says, "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you." It is clear, therefore, that he had been in the continual habit and practice of praying for Israel. as to the success of Samuel's prayers, read his life, and you will find that he wrought great deliverances for the people. In the seventh chapter of this book we find that the Philistines grievously oppressed Israel, and Samuel bravely called the people together, to consider their condition, and bade them turn from idolatry, and worship the only true God, and promised them his prayers as a boon which they greatly valued. These are his words: "Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the Lord." Samuel's prayers were so prevalent that the very elements were controlled by him.

II. Notice in Samuel's case HIS PROVOCATION TO CEASE FROM INTERCESSION, which provocation he patiently endured.

1. The first provocation was the slight which they put upon himself.

2. Beyond the provocation which came from their slight upon himself he felt wounded by their utter rejection of his solemn protest.

III. Notice Samuel in HIS PERSEVERING INTERCESSION. Though the people thus provoked him he did not cease from prayer for them. When the prophet knew that Saul was hopelessly rejected he did not cease to pray for the nation, but went down to Bethlehem and anointed David, and when David was pursued by the malice of Saul we find him harbouring David at Ramah, and exhibiting the power of prayer in his own house and in the holy place. I pray you, therefore, still persevere in supplication, and be supported in your perseverance by the knowledge that it would be a sin to cease to pray for those who have been the subjects of your petitions. Samuel confesses that it would have been sinful on his part to abstain from intercession. How so? Why, if he ceased to pray for the people, he would be neglecting his office, for God had made him a prophet to the nation, and he must intercede for them or neglect his duty. It would have been a neglect of the Divine glory; for whatever the people might be, God's name was wrapped up in them, and if they did not prosper the Lord would not be glorified in the eyes of the heathen. He could not give up praying for them, for their cause was the cause of God. It would have been a cruelty to souls if he who possessed such a power in prayer had restrained it.

IV. Samuel showed his SINCERITY IN INTERCESSION by corresponding action, for he says in the words of the text, "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way." So far from leaving off praying, he would be doubly diligent to teach them; and he did so. After praying for your friends, do try as well as you can to answer your own prayer by using the means which God ordinarily blesses. Some persons make idle prayers, for they use no effort for obtaining their requests. If a husbandman asks for a harvest, he also ploughs and sows, for else his supplications would be hypocritical. If we wish to see our neighbours converted, we shall labour for it in all ways. A man who wishes to shoot birds will, after a while, become expert in the sport, because he will give his mind to it: he will after a little practice become a noted marksman and know all about guns and dogs. A man who wants to catch salmon has his heart set upon his angling, and becomes absorbed in the pursuit. He soon learns how to use his rod and how to manage his fish. So he who longs to win souls, and puts his heart into it, finds out the knack of it by some means, and the Lord gives him success. There is a power in your gifts; there is a power in your speech; use these powers.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:

WEB: Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against Yahweh in ceasing to pray for you: but I will instruct you in the good and the right way.

Intercessory Prayer
Top of Page
Top of Page