Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 125 - Essential qualities of leadership: Prayer.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 125 - Essential qualities of leadership: Prayer.


Announcementsopening prayer:



God is love. Whether God has an object of love is inconsequential to the existence of His love as a part of His being. God doesn't choose to love because it is virtuous or admirable. He is love. Since it is Him, it is a part of pure existence or life. God alone is life. All other life is a gift from Him. In our fallen state we have become subject to death and so forfeited life, but through Christ, we have been given the gift of God's life - eternal life.


Life therefore does not consist of worldly goods and possessions. These have no intrinsic value or life. Worldly goods only obtain value when they have won the hearts of men. It is the adoration that gives them life and so, alone, without it, they are nothing.


1TI 6:18-19

Instruct them [the rich] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.


But this is not true of God.


God is eulogetos (worthy of praise and glorification, LUK 1:68; ROM 1:25; 9:5; 2CO 1:3; EPH 1:3; 1PE 1:3) whether He is worshipped and glorified or not.


Whether God is adored or worshipped, or not, He is still worthy of praise and glorification. Whether there are creatures to love or not, God is still love. Yet here we are, fallen men, all in desperate need of God's love, and He has abundantly supplied it in Jesus Christ. Through this love came the cross and through the cross came death to the fallen creature and life to the new creature in Christ. Everyone who has believed in Christ as his Savior has life, eternal life, zoe life, the justified life [ROM 5:18]. And now, alive in Him, God sets to the task of transforming our practical lives into conformity with His will.


The main way that He does this is to inculcate us with the truth of His word under the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. As we become serious students of the word of God we find the will of God as it has been revealed in the scriptures, and our patterns of thought, our priorities, what we honor and value, what we love, all changes as we begin to see His blessed light in Christ. One of the other ways that He transforms us to the reality of His love is through prayer. God puts on our hearts certain people that we feel burdened to pray for. God has known that these people would respond to His call, be it salvation, or the call to mature in grace and knowledge after salvation. We find that we often pray for them and we see them respond to God. It then becomes unmistakable that prayer is a powerful weapon. As students of the word of God we know that it was not us or our prayer that has transformed them, but God alone. Prayer is secondary. It is not the prayer that moves people, but the God to whom we pray. What God has done here is quite sneaky.


He has saved you, He then transformed your thinking with His word, He then put upon your heart the burden of another life and you prayed for this person time after time and you witnessed your prayer come to fruition. You knew it was God alone who did this and you find that He invited you into partnership with Him in the giving of life to another. You had nothing to do with giving life, God alone did this, but you were invited into the decision. You experienced what it is to truly love another with God's love, as well as the effect that such love can have on another. God in His infinite grace poured His love into your heart and then led you into its application to another in order to witness its power.


God's love draws people to Himself. Sadly, it also pushes others away. God enters His children into the sphere of His love and then matures that love in them so that they find such love for others, not based on their merits, as in human love, but selflessly desiring the good for them and laying down life for them. God alone did this and He so worked within the believer to show them its power.


ROM 8:26 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;


ROM 8:27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.


The word "know," is not the Greek word which means "knowledge gained by experience," but "knowledge that is intuitive, natural to one's being and constitution." We do not have intuitive knowledge of the particular thing to pray for, but in verse 27, the Spirit does. We know in general, but not in particular, again refer to Paul's prayers in Ephesians.


In His infinite, sovereign grace, God has brought His plans to fruition through the prayers of the saints, but since we are too weak, He Himself helps us to share in such fruit. Do you still find prayer burdensome?


In God's grace He has put His desires and will into our very hearts. This is done when we yield to the Spirit and the word. When we study we are yielded to Him alone and His will, His very glory is transferred into us, from glory to glory. God is going to accomplish all His good pleasure, and He has put that pleasure in our hearts, and as such, that pleasure becomes a part of our prayer lives. But our limitations only see God's pleasure in general, whereas God obviously knows them in the minutest detail. When we pray His good pleasure for our loved ones, acquaintances, and enemies, both believers, carnal believers, and unbelievers we are praying in general according to His will, and the Spirit, who knows fully, helps this weakness to become the perfect fruit of God's plans.


We will pray according to His will when we are yielded to God the Holy Spirit. God brings His will into our prayer ministry, the very things that He is planning to accomplish.


It is clear, therefore, that in order to pray affectively, we must be filled with the Spirit.


He makes intercession. This word comes from a Greek word which is most picturesque. It is used of one who happens upon one who is in trouble and pleads in that one's behalf.


"The Holy Spirit of God dwelling in us, knowing our wants better than we, Himself pleads in our prayers, raising us to higher and holier desires than we can express in words, which can only find utterance in sighings and aspirations." [Alford]


Since He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God, the prayer must be answered positively.


The intellectual side of us asks, "Why would the omniscient Father, to whom we pray, need God the Holy Spirit to help us when He can fully understand our hearts Himself?" The answer is that He doesn't. But the Father has planned it this way. And here we again approach the threshold between the finite and infinity.


"When standing on the border between the finite and the infinite, between time and eternity, between the perfect, irresistible will of God and the impotent, perverted will of man, between sovereign grace and hell-deserving sin, who among men is too proud to exclaim, There are some things which I do not understand?" [L.S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p. 233]


We cannot know for certain, in this life at least, why it is that the Father has ordained for the Spirit to intercede for us when He fully knows our minds. And one may consider the questions surrounding the mystery of the Trinity, "Is God the Father and God the Holy Spirit separate entities that need one another? Are they not one God, unified yet persons?" I could never know the detail of such a wonder, but what I can know is that the Trinity is working in me, helping my weakness, as three persons in complete harmony of will and purpose. There is no need lose the magic of this great Helper within us, who helps our infirmities and overcomes our own weak groanings with His infinitely wise groanings and intercedes for me, by trying to bring it down to our frail, finite, perverted intellectual level. To do so is to destroy it in my own life.


God knows our weakness. All of us are naked before Him. There is no need to camouflage anything before Him. What we do not understand about ourselves, our weaknesses, our ignorance of all of God's will and our helplessness; God does understand, and the Holy Spirit takes our feeble cries of prayer and supplication and He helps them. The result is that He brings them to the throne of God in perfect clarity and precision and they direct the will of the Father to the perfect way in which they must be answered. Don't water down this miracle with human intellect. Plug your faith into it and wonder with awe, which will pull you to long to pray.


Psa 139 For the choir director. A Psalm of David.


PSA 139:1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.


PSA 139:2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You understand my thought from afar.


PSA 139:3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down,

And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.


PSA 139:4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,

Behold, O Lord, You know it all.


PSA 139:5 You have enclosed me behind and before,

And laid Your hand upon me.


PSA 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is too high, I cannot attain to it.


ROM 8:26 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;


ROM 8:27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.


From this verse issues one of the most important of all the aspects of prayer - Every prayer which the HS begets within us must be answered because it is in accordance with the will of God.


This shows precisely why we don't see the results of prayer as we thought they should have been. We prayed in weakness and some confusion and the Holy Spirit helped us and the prayer was answered according to the Spirit's help rather than our weakness and limitation. The timing of the answer seemed off - for this also you can thank the Holy Spirit. He got it perfect, you didn't.


Left to your own, the prayer could not be answered perfectly in its weak state, but with His help, it was made perfect and answered perfectly.


1JO 5:14-15

And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.


It takes humility to admit this. Arrogance wants all things in its own way and timing. Humility knows better and trusts the Holy Spirit.