Summary: Ezra’s prayer resulted in a whole nation in repentance. We need this kind of prayer in the world we live in today.
EZRA’S PRAYER FOR HIS NATION
By : Ng Wah Lok
Text : Ezra 9:1-9
The book of Ezra is set in the period where Israel was in captivity for many years because of their sin. God raised Ezra to return back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and restore worship in His house. In this lesson, we see how Ezra prayed for his nation.
1. WHY DID ISRAEL FALL TO CAPTIVITY ?
a) Corruption of all levels of society.
V1 – The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the land.
V2 Indeed the hand of the leaders and rulers have been foremost in this trespass.
In this passage, we see the 5 Levels of people who were corrupted.
b) Failure to separate themselves
V2 – so that the holy seed is intermingled with the peoples of the land.
Holiness means - separate
Lot is one of the best example of a Godly man who became corrupt because he intermingled with those in perversion. Lot enjoyed staying in Sodom even though it was sinful
Gen 19: 1 – Now the 2 angels came to Sodom, in the evening and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.
Gen 19:16 And while he lingered, the men (angels) took hold of his hand, …and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
Lot was so comfortable in Sodom, he did not want to leave. And his wife loved Sodom so much she could not resist looking back. . As a result of looking back, she turned into a pillar of salt.
Later from an incestuous relationship with his daughters, Lot produced an ungodly line called the Moabites and Ammonites. Gen 19:36-38.
Christians must separate themselves with the ways of the world. If we do not separate ourselves from the corrupt society, we will eventually become like them.
2. HOW DID EZRA PRAY FOR HIS NATION ?
a) He tore his garment and his robe – v3
Tearing of the garment speaks of mourning. We need to be very sorrowful for our sins.
Being sorrowful for our sins an important part of intercession.
My friends coming back from China often tell me that the Christians often weep when they pray. They are weeping for the thousands of lost years where China was totally closed to the Gospel. But God is now raising an army to bring millions lost souls in China back to His kingdom.
b) He prayed for hours - v4
V4 I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice.
Ezra did not pray a 5 minute prayer. He labored for hours in God’s presence.
c) He kept a posture of humility v5
V5 – I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God.
Intercessors usually keep a posture of humility when they come to God’s presence.
d) He confesses his nation’s sin – v6
V6 “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.
Intercessors must identify with the sins of the nation and confess them.
“We have sinned……..”
Other men of God like Daniel prayed similar prayers.
Daniel 9:5 – We have sinned….
Recently, I read of Christian leaders from United States visiting Vietnam to ask forgiveness for the Vietnam war. Approximately 3 million Vietnamese died in the war compared with 60000 American soldiers.
e) He thanks God for His Grace v 8,9
The are 4 R’s seen in these 2 verses.
i. Remnant allowed to escape
ii. Revival even in bondage
iii. Repair of God’s house
iv. Rebuilding of its ruins
V9 For we were slaves, yet God did not forsake us in our bondage.
3. WHAT WERE THE RESULTS OF EZRA’S PRAYERS ?
a) A _large congregation of people repented. Ezra 10:1
Ezra 10:1 A very large congregation of men and women and children assembled to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly.
His prayer made a big impact on a large segment of Israel. Remember the corruption was widespread on all levels of society.
b) The covenant was instituted again Ezra 10:3-5
Ezra 10:5 Then Ezra arose and made the leaders of the priest, the Levites and all Israel swear an oath that they would do according to this word. So they swore an oath.
c) Repentance was followed up with actions Ezra 10:6-44
All levels of society agreed to separate themselves and live holy lives.
The priests, Levites and people separated themselves.
It all began with the intense prayer of a righteous man for his nation. God is looking for intercessors like Ezra who will change the spiritual climate of a nation by prayer. Will you be one of them ?