Pray or Perish; Intercede or Let Others Perish!

God created the world and He runs it by unchangeable laws (Psa.148:5,6). We know that there are physical laws which govern the universe. For example the Law of gravity. No one could ever imagine jumping from a high rise building and go without getting hurt. If we break the physical laws of life we get hurt physically. Thankfully, the Lord has permitted great scientists in different generations to discover some of these physical laws and that makes life much easier. Scientists who do further experiments base all their investigations on these known physical laws.
Likewise, there are immutable spiritual laws at work as well. Because no man could ever discover these spiritual laws, it pleased the almighty to reveal these laws to His people (Psa.147:19,20). If one wants to be familiar with the spiritual laws which are operative, one needs to turn to the revealed Word of God which is the Bible. From no where else we could learn these spiritual laws!
Validity of the Old Testament could never be challenged any time. We read in Psa.119:89 “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens”. So we are dealing with eternal truths and we are thankful that God has NOT left us in darkness in this area.

One of the unchanging spiritual laws is “Ask and you shall receive” (Mat.7:7) and it is put the other way around in Js.4:2 where we read, “you do not have, because you do not ask”.

Prayer is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the Bible. There are many promises in the Bible. It looks they are given without any conditions attatched to them. For example, look at Mat. 7:8. It says, “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened”. Could this be true when we pray for material things? Will every one who ever asks for any thing receive it every time? Of course, not. If so, what does this promise mean?

Many have become infidles because they found this and such other Bible promises do not work in real life. Tragically they have misunderstood the Word of God!

What did our Lord actually mean when He made that promise in Mt.7:7? The very next verse is the key to understanding Mt.7:7. When He said that every one receives what is asked for, it obviously means the Lord is talking about spiritual things only.

Come to think of it this way. Have you ever found some one who prayed in faith trusting the word of the Lord who did NOT get forgiveness from the Lord? It could never happen. Could it?

From this we learn a great spiritual truth. Prayer is ordained by the Lord primarily for spiritual things. First thing we ever need to pray for is forgiveness and we need to make sure that we are forgiven before we go on to ask for any thing else in life.

We are clearly told in Psa 66:18 “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened”.

Any sinner, praying in true repentance and faith, could confidently pray a prayer for forgiveness and he could be absolutely sure that God would not reject him. Once forgiveness is experienced, then all other prayers, done in the will of God, would surely have an answer as well (1Jn.5:14).

But have you ever come across any one who experienced God’s forgivenss without praying? We are told that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son that every one who believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (Jn.3:16). The only condition is believing. And, indeed, true faith would express itself as believing prayer! We are told in Rom.10:13 that every one who calls upon the name of the Lord would be saved. That means any one who would not do the believing prayer would be damned for ever. Thus we come to the conclusion “Pray or perish”. And there is no exception to this rule ever!

While what is said so far is abundantly clear, a few, at least, would raise their eye brows at the next phrase in our caption, “interced or let others perish”! Is there scriptual warrant for that statement? Or is it the truth that the eternity of every one born in this world is fixed by the Lord before the foundation of the world?!

We need to study the scripture clearly to find out what is being taught in this regard. Doctrines of predestination and eternal security are two of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Bible. This misunderstanding has led to callousness in the lives of many well-meaning believers. I believe that these two doctrines are clearly taught in the scriptures. And if I do not believe them, I am not a Bible believer! We are clearly taught that God does every thing based on His foreknowledge (1Pet.1:2).

Having said that, we need to investigate further the role of a believer in the eternal plan of God. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). Indeed, what does the Lord expect from each believer?

We might begin with Eze.3:17-21. Clearly this passage teaches that Ezekiel is fully responsible for his generation and that the blood of the wicked shall be required of his hands if he was not to warn them!

Now turn to Psa 106:23 where it says, “Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them”. Again in this verse the Lord’s action toward the ungodly and the wicked was based on Moses’s intercession. God changed His decision because Moses interceded for them!

We know about the intercession of Abraham for Sodom and Gomorah. And we are told that the Lord saved Lot because He remembered Abraham (Gen.19:29). Again we read that God did NOT punish Aaraon when the golden calf was made because Moses prayed for him (Dt.9:20)!

This truth of the Scripture is cemented when we read Eze 22:30 where we read, “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none”.

Come to the New Testament and see what it says. Paul tells in 1Tim. 2:1 to pray for all men and he goes on to tell the fundamental reason for this in v. 4 where we read that it is God’s will that all men be saved. Again we are told in 2Pt.3:9 that He is delaying His coming because He is not willing that any should perish and we are asked to hasten His coming by our holy lives!

Obviously, these and other scripture portions clearly teach us that the punishment of the wicked would be averted if there was an intercessor standing in the gap for them.
God’s justice demands the punishment of the wicked. But God’s grace longs to save the wicked if they would turn from their wickedness. And those of of us who enjoy the grace of God need to be the media through which God’s grace would reach the wicked.

How are we to understand the doctrine of predestination in the light of these scriptures? The most important thing is that there is no NEGATIVE predestination taught in the New Testament. By that I mean, God has NOT destined any one to go to hell. In fact, hell is created for the devil and his angels (Mt.25:41). In the Old Testament we read of God choosing Jacob and rejecting Easaw even before they were born (Gen.25:23; cf Rom. 9:11-13). In the OT God did that. That was because in the Old Testamet God wanted just ONE nation through whom He would carry out His plan of salvation for the human race.

While God knew what each man would choose, because He is all-knowing, He has NOT determined what each one would choose! That would be interfering with the freedom of human will. Each one has the freedom to choose good or evil. But man by nature is corrupt now and he is inclined to choose only evil. That is because of the total depravity of the human heart due to the sin of Adam. But praise God, God would change His mind about punishing sinners if there was some one who would intercede for them and as a result they would turn to God in repentance.

Our Lord said Joh 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day”. Thus it becomes the duty and privilege of each intercessor to ask the Father to draw men to Christ so that they too would be saved.
Be sure of one thing that all prayers done in the will of God would never go unanswered (1Jn.5:14) and we know it is God’s will that all should be saved (1Tim.2:4).

Sure, we are entering into real spiritual warfare here. The devil has trapped millions in various fortresses (2Cor.10:3,4) and also blinded the eyes of unbelievers so that they can not see the light of the gospel (2Cor.4:4). We need to strive in prayer that the will of God might be accomplished in the lives of our loved ones (Rom.15:30-32). There is no other option.

Brethren, let us be men on our knees interceding for our neigbhors and friends who are unsaved and let us be instruments in the hands of God to snatch a few from fire (Jud.v.24). Be sure of this truth that unless we become mighty intercessors, we are letting the unsaved around us to be perished for ever! And thus we will be guilty of failing God in our generation. History is replete with examples of mighty intercessors who moved the heart of God to save millions in their generations. When ever, where ever there was a praying church, there were mighty movements of the Spirit of God when millions turned to Christ. When the church was slack in prayer, there was prportionate dearth in the work of God as well. May the Lord give us grace to be mighty intercessors and may millions in our generation turn to the Lord in true repentance and faith and thus be saved from eternal damnation. May His name be glorified through us. Amen.


We have a prayer answering God.  A believer living and praying in the will of God in faith and in perseverance for the glory of God is sure to be heard and answered.  A study of the lives of men of prayer will astound us.  We too can have such wonderful and exciting answers to prayers if we too will pray like they prayed.  We too will be able to influence our neighbors and our friends, yea, indeed our nations for God through our prayers.

The old saying, “Prayer moves the hands that move the universe” holds water even today.

No man living upon the face of the earth can wield a greater power than that of prayer.  No one can influence the world around him like a child of God can through his or her prayer.  This is an open truth.

God has given His children such a mighty weapon.  Imagine how guilty one would be if one does not put it to use.  Brethren, let us learn to pray.  God in heaven is anxious to show himself almighty to the world by answering our prayers (2 Chr.16:9).

But there is an opposite force at work in the world.  Imagine if many a believer is entertaining this opposite force in their lives!

What exactly is that opposite force?  Let us look in to the Scripture for the answer.  Today the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us there (Rom.8:34).  At the same time the devil is in the presence of God accusing God’s people (Zech.3:1,2).  Till he is thrown down in Rev.12:10 he continues his work there.

These are two opposing ministries are going on in the presence of God right now.  In Zech.3:2 the Lord rebukes Satan and the high priest had his garments changed.  Even today this is happening the same way.

As the devil is rebuked we may imagine him to tell God thus:  “Yes, as you say I am a liar.  You don’t have to believe my words.  But listen to your so and so servant telling about the other one.”  And the Lord turns around to listen to what His servant says.  Imagine the servant of God saying the same thing as the devil!  Imagine the servant of God was accusing other servants!!  The Lord does not rebuke the servant before the devil because he is a blood bought child of Him.  Instead He closes His ears that He may not hear what the accusing servant says!   If God has closed His ears to such an accusing person, how can God hear the prayers of that person?  Yes, indeed, God’s ears are closed to the accusing ones.  This is absolutely true.

Remember if I am accusing some one for whom Christ is interceding, I am working against the ministry of Christ!!  If only believers had understood this very basic truth!!!

 If any one is in the habit of accusing for whom Christ is interceding, their prayers are not heard in heaven.  They are not serving the interest of Christ.  They are serving the devil  Satan is counting on them as a witness to his case!  The Lord will not listen to the prayers of some one who is serving Satan.

Any one who wants to have all their prayers answered always must never serve the devil in this capacity.  If you want all your prayers to be heard and answered you need to be an intercessor and never be an accuser.

In Rom.8:30 Paul pauses a question.  “Who shall accuse the elect of God?”  Answer is obvious.  The devil will accuse the elect of God.  And of course any one who serves the devil also will accuse the elect of God.  They work against God and His kingdom.  They are the spies of the spiritual kingdom.  Woe to them!  You can be sure that their prayers are never entertained in heaven.

Remember when we intercede the Lord works and when we accuse the devil works.

It was Noah who committed sin.  But punishment went to the posterity of the one who accused (Gen.9:20-27).  Noah may have repented of his sin and may have been forgiven.  But the one accused never realized the seriousness of what he did and became liable to punishment.  One committed sin.  The other propagated it and got punished for it!!

Many prayers of many a believer go unanswered because they unwittingly entertain a critical attitude to anything and everything.  May the Lord save us from this pit fall.  Set right this one thing in life and see how heaven responds to your prayers!  Truly you will be amazed at the response of heaven.

A believer who fell in sin is Satan’s casualty.  If we gracefully serve and intercede for such a person with a humble spirit (Gal.6:l) he or she may be won back.  But if we also hit such a one on head, the fallen one may never be able to get up again.  We should never propagate the sin of others lest Satan gets advantage.  But when we intercede the fallen will be given grace but much more than that our voice would be entertained with enthusiasm in heaven.

May the Lord give us grace that we become great intercessors like Nehemiah and Daniel who would fall before God bearing the sins of their generation upon themselves thereby achieving great things for God.  To God’s name be all glory.  Amen and amen.