Among the many lessons we learn from the book of Job is this: God places great importance on intercessory prayer. The Lord tells Job’s so-called comforters to go to Job so that he might pray for them. “My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.” In other words, “There will be no pardon for you unless you bring sacrifices and then have Job intercede for you.”
This is an important lesson on prayer. Many of us grow up with the idea that prayer is a way of manipulating God into doing what we want Him or tell Him to do. But hat is not the purpose of prayer. God has not given us access through prayer so that we can change His will to serve our purposes. Prayer is the way in which God enlists us in His plans and purposes.
The Word of God tells us in James 4:2, “you do not have, because you do not ask.” We live impoverished lives because we do not intercede for one another. Job’s friends were not accepted and forgiven until Job prayed for them. When this righteous man prayed for his friends, they were forgiven and pardoned because they had obeyed what God told them to do.
This is a beautiful picture of forgiveness. Job could have been resentful toward his friends which would have hindered his prayer for them. Instead, Job showed sympathy for them. Fellowship is a wonderful thing. We are made to enjoy fellowship with others. Job needed his family and friends, and we Christians need one another in the body of Christ. He forgave his friends for the ungodly and unwise manner they demonstrated toward him in his time of loss and suffering. We, too, must forgive and love those who act toward us in ways similar to Job’s friends when we need encouragement, comfort, and love.
We must pray for others. God’s Word tells us to forgive, to love, to be kind to one another, to accept one another, and to pray for one another. What better gift can we give to someone else than to intercede in prayer for that person?