1. PRAYING FOR THOSE WHO HURT YOU
a. How much did Job suffer? Job 1:13–22; 2:7–10.
b. When did Job’s suffering end? Job 42:7–10.
“The Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed, not only for himself, but for those who were opposing him. When he felt earnestly desirous that the souls that had trespassed against him might be helped, he himself received help. Let us pray, not only for ourselves, but for those who have hurt us, and are continuing to hurt us. Pray, pray, especially in your mind. Give not the Lord rest; for His ears are open to hear sincere, importunate prayers, when the soul is humbled before Him.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1141.
c. How was Job rewarded for thinking of others in spite of his own intense suffering? Job 42:11–13.
2. PRAYING FOR AN ENTIRE CITY
a. After delivering the town of Sodom, along with his nephew Lot, what was Abraham’s reaction to the Lord’s plans to destroy Sodom? Genesis 18:20–25.
“God conferred great honor upon Abraham. Angels of heaven walked and talked with him as friend with friend. When judgments were about to be visited upon Sodom, the fact was not hidden from him, and he became an intercessor with God for sinners. . . .
“ ‘The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him’ (Psalm 25:14). Abraham had honored God, and the Lord honored him, taking him into His counsels, and revealing to him His purposes.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 138, 139.
b. How did Abraham plead with God for Sodom, acknowledging his ignorance of the true condition of the city? Genesis 18:26–33.
“Though Lot had become a dweller in Sodom, he did not partake in the iniquity of its inhabitants. Abraham thought that in that populous city there must be other worshipers of the true God. . . . Abraham asked not once merely, but many times. Waxing bolder as his requests were granted, he continued until he gained the assurance that if even ten righteous persons could be found in it, the city would be spared.
“Love for perishing souls inspired Abraham’s prayer. While he loathed the sins of that corrupt city, he desired that the sinners might be saved. His deep interest for Sodom shows the anxiety that we should feel for the impenitent. We should cherish hatred of sin, but pity and love for the sinner. All around us are souls going down to ruin as hopeless, as terrible, as that which befell Sodom. . . . Where are those who with humility and persevering faith are pleading with God for him?”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 139, 140.
c. Ultimately, how many was God able to save out of Sodom? Genesis 19:30.
3. PRAYING FOR THE IMPENITENT
a. What was promised to Israel, as a discipline, if they disobeyed God continually? Deuteronomy 28:15, 16, 23, 24.
b. Based upon this promise, what was Elijah’s prayer for Israel during a period of blatant disobedience toward God? James 5:17.
“In anguish of soul [Elijah] besought God to arrest the once-favored people in their wicked course, to visit them with judgments, if need be, that they might be led to see in its true light their departure from Heaven. He longed to see them brought to repentance before they should go to such lengths in evil-doing as to provoke the Lord to destroy them utterly.
“Elijah’s prayer was answered. Oft-repeated appeals, remonstrances, and warnings had failed to bring Israel to repentance. The time had come when God must speak to them by means of judgments. Inasmuch as the worshipers of Baal claimed that the treasures of heaven, the dew and the rain, came not from Jehovah, but from the ruling forces of nature, and that it was through the creative energy of the sun that the earth was enriched and made to bring forth abundantly, the curse of God was to rest heavily upon the polluted land. . . . Until [Israel] should turn to God with repentance, and acknowledge Him as the source of all blessing, there should fall upon the land neither dew nor rain.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 120.
c. Once Israel acknowledged God as supreme, what was Elijah’s prayer, and what was the result? James 5:18; 1 Kings 18:42–45.
“When upon Mount Carmel [Elijah] offered the prayer for rain (1 Kings 18:41–45), his faith was tested, but he persevered in making known his request unto God. . . . God does not always answer our prayers the first time we call upon Him; for should He do this, we might take it for granted that we had a right to all the blessings and favors He bestowed upon us. Instead of searching our hearts to see if any evil was entertained by us, any sin indulged, we should become careless, and fail to recognize our dependence upon Him, and our need of His help.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 88.
4. PRAYING FOR THOSE IN DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES
a. What happened to Peter, and how did the church respond? Acts 12:1–5.
“There was great grief and consternation at the death of James. When Peter was also imprisoned, the entire church engaged in fasting and prayer. . . .
“While the execution of Peter was being delayed, upon various pretexts, until after the passover, the church of Christ had time for deep searching of heart, and earnest prayer. Strong petitions, tears, and fasting were mingled together. They prayed without ceasing for Peter; they felt that he could not be spared from the Christian work; and they felt that they had arrived at a point, where, without the special help of God, the church of Christ would become extinct.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, pp. 335, 336.
b. How did God answer the prayers of His faithful people? Acts 12:6–12.
c. What are some promises that assure us that God will be with us in difficult times? Psalms 28:7; 91:14, 15.
“Often prayer is solicited for the afflicted, the sorrowful, the discouraged; and this is right. We should pray that God will shed light into the darkened mind and comfort the sorrowful heart. But God answers prayer for those who place themselves in the channel of His blessings. While we offer prayer for these sorrowful ones, we should encourage them to try to help those more needy than themselves. The darkness will be dispelled from their own hearts as they try to help others. As we seek to comfort others with the comfort wherewith we are comforted, the blessing comes back to us.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 256.
“Let us look to the monumental pillars, reminders of what the Lord has done to comfort us and to save us from the hand of the destroyer. Let us keep fresh in our memory all the tender mercies that God has shown us—the tears He has wiped away, the pains He has soothed, the anxieties removed, the fears dispelled, the wants supplied, the blessings bestowed—thus strengthening ourselves for all that is before us through the remainder of our pilgrimage.”—Steps to Christ, p. 125.
5. GOD REMEMBERS WHEN OTHERS FAIL TO PRAY
a. What happened to Paul while he was being protected by the Romans as they investigated his case? Acts 23:12–15.
b. How did God intervene to save Paul? Acts 23:16–22.
“When Peter had been made a prisoner and condemned to death, the brethren had offered earnest prayer to God day and night for his deliverance. But no such interest was manifested in behalf of [Paul] who was looked upon as an apostate from Moses, a teacher of dangerous doctrines. It was not to the elders whose counsel had brought him into this dangerous position, but to the watchful sympathy of a relative, that Paul owed his escape from a violent death.”—Sketches from the Life of Paul, p. 226.
c. How do we know that God will remember His faithful children today? Hebrews 13:5 (last part); Psalm 37:28.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What happened to Job when he prayed for those who were opposing him? What can we learn from this?
2. What inspired Abraham to pray for Sodom? How can we cherish this same spirit today?
3. Why did Elijah pray for God to visit His people with judgments?
4. What type of prayer was offered for Peter, and what was the result?
5. How did God remember Paul when he was forsaken by his brethren?