Summary: There is no greater need than today to be in much prayer for our Veteran’s.
Turn your Bibles to 1 Samuel 12:23
Title: Becoming a Soldier’s Shield (For Veteran’s Sunday)
Theme: Praying for Those in Harm’s Way
Introduction: Our key text today is set in the time when the prophet Samuel is giving his farewell speech. In this speech Samuel confronts the people with evidence of the righteous acts performed by the Lord for the people of God. (1 Samuel 12:7) Samuel tells the people, “If you fear the Lord and serve and obey Him and do not rebel against His commands and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God – Good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against His commands, His hand will be against you…” (1 Samuel 12:14-15)
It was harvest time and Samuel called upon the Lord to send thunder and rain so they would know what a great evil they had done in the eyes of the Lord when they asked for a king to rule over them as the other nations had kings. (1 Samuel 12:17) The same day Samuel prayed, the “…Lord sent thunder and rain and all the people stood in awe of the Lord…” (1 Samuel 12:18) Listen to the response of the people to Samuel, “…Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to our sins the evil of asking for a king.” (1 Samuel 12:19)
After a few more instructions, Samuel tells the people, “For the sake of His great name the Lord will not reject His people, because the Lord was pleased to make you His own.” (1 Samuel 12:22) These words of promise lead us to our key text:
Listen as I read 1 Samuel 12:23, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord for failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.” Let us pray!
Proposition: I would propose to you that when those whose lives are in danger ask for prayer, it would be a sin to fail to pray for them. Born again Christians can take their rightful place among such giants of intercession (The Expositors Bible Commentary) as Moses, (Exodus 32;30-32) Daniel, (Daniel 9:4-20) the apostle Paul (Romans 1:9-10) And Jesus. (Romans 8:34)
Interrogative Sentence: Are Christians called to pray for each other and for those who risk their lives for their country? Just what are the benefits in praying for those in our armed forces?
Transitional Sentence: God who called us to Christ sent His Holy Spirit to have the Apostle Paul write, “I urge, then first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…” (1 Timothy 2:1) Ephesians 6:18 tells us that Christians are to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers…”
Samuel could had said, “Now that you Israelites have the king you wanted and have sinned against God, go to Saul and have him pray for you.” God knew that Saul’s heart would not remain faithful to Him and His prayers would be superficial and self-centered. Therefore, the Lord would call forth a true man of God, Samuel, who knew Him and would pray so as not to be found in sin in his own life.
The Christian’s call is to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and they sin when they restrain prayer in general, and in particular when they cease to pray for those who ask for it.
Even though Samuel would no longer have political leadership, he still had spiritual influence in teaching God’s Word and through prayer. Christians do not need to have authority over those who serve in the armed forces and who are in harm’s way, but they most certainly can have a spiritual influence through heartfelt prayer.
As the prophets of God interceded in prayer for those they had spiritual responsibility over, Christians are to set the example before governmental leaders and armed force personnel in regard to prayer which is God’s way of overcoming anxiety in times of war. Samuel followed the example of Moses who interceded for the Jewish nation, and Christians are to follow the example of Samuel, the Apostle Paul and Jesus.
Christians do not need to be in perfect health to be prayer intercessors for our armed forces. Dr. Jay Vernon McGee knew of many sick, bedridden Christians on whose heart the Lord had laid the responsibility to pray for those in harm’s way. He found them to be very much used of God just as Samuel was. All Christians who come to understand and respond to their call to pray for others have the great opportunity to go before the “Throne of Grace” (Hebrews 4:16) and intercede for their fellowman. They have on many occasions seen the truth of what James wrote, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)