Lt. Tim Smith Speaks for Intercessors
by Lt. Tim Smith –
(Note: The following is excerpted from Smith’s address during Sunday’s Service of Appointment)
In 1865 William Booth embarked upon a crusade against poverty, hunger, addiction, fear, hopelessness, and despair–a war against sin. He vowed that “while women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight–I’ll fight to the very end!”
Today, the fight continues. In our world we see war, ethnic cleansing, children taking arms to school. Women still weep in the face of abuse, children still go hungry, men still struggle with addiction. The circumstances have changed, but the battle remains the same. Sin still maintains a stranglehold on society.
As newly commissioned officers of The Salvation Army, we, the Faithful Intercessors, are prepared to join in the battle. And yet, we recognize that we face a powerful enemy, one that engulfs humanity in its clutches with an iron grip. Against him, in our own strength, we are powerless. How then can we hope to engage a seemingly invincible enemy? What strategy can we employ, what weapon can begin to have any effect?
I discovered the answer to that in the example of my father who, every morning as I left for school, was hunched on his knees, bowed before a living room chair, Bible at his side, in prayer with his Lord.
In the fight against sin, prayer is our most potent weapon. It has been said that “prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power. All that God is, and all that God has, is at the disposal of prayer.” Prayer gives us access to the full power of God, and it is only through his strength that we can make any progress against the enemy. As Faithful Intercessors, we, too, are called to fight on our knees.
Romans 12:12 encourages us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” As we go forward from this day, we recognize our duty to pray for our fellow men and women, knowing that, just as Christ has changed our lives, he can change theirs. This is not to minimize our responsibility to minister in practical ways to those in need–but prayer must always be the foundation for our action if we are to accomplish the mission for which Christ has prepared us.
We will extend a helping hand, we will lend a listening ear, we will give an encouraging word, but beyond that we will intercede on behalf of the people we serve, praying that the Holy Spirit will accomplish what we cannot, that he will move so mightily to fill the emptiness of their hearts that not only will their physical needs be met, but they will come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Therefore…while women weep as they do now, we’ll pray and we’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, we’ll pray and we’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, we’ll pray and we’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, we’ll pray, and we’ll fight–to the very end!