by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
“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.” (1 Samuel 12:23)
Samuel had served the children of Israel as their faithful judge for many years, and the Lord had blessed them and their land. Nevertheless, they began to want a king and pressed Samuel to get one for them. Finally, Samuel anointed Saul to be their king, but both Samuel and the Lord Himself were displeased with their demands.
Nevertheless, Samuel’s great heart, both for the Lord and for His people, is revealed in the promise of our text. Although he was hurt and disappointed, because he had led them successfully and justly his whole life, he would still pray for them and teach them. This is a great example for Christian leaders or workers today who, through no fault of their own, have been replaced by someone else.
Intercessory prayer is not easy, especially if our prayers are not appreciated by those we pray for. Nevertheless, it is a type of prayer ministry that especially pleases the Lord, and that is more important than human gratitude. “I exhort therefore” said Paul (no doubt reflecting God’s own desires), “that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Paul would even urge prayer for the emperor, Nero, who had imprisoned him and would eventually have him put to death.
Even Jesus had said that we should “pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). The Lord Jesus is the greatest intercessor of all. For when we sin (and all sin is sin against the Lord), He is our “advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), and in fact, “he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Therefore, should we not also be prayer intercessors? HMM