This research work is an exegetical study of Genesis 18:23-33, and its implications for an intercessory ministry. The purpose being to point out the nature of intercessory ministry, qualities of an intercessor and its involvement in fulfilling the purpose of God on earth, and how to show the relevance of intercessory ministry to the body of Christ. The study is on historical research. The research work adopts library and field based approach; this includes the study of related materials and books, the used of questioners and oral interviews. This is to gain insight on the practice of intercessory in RCCG Adullam Christian Center Lagos. The intercessory ministry was considered in comparison to Abraham’s intercession to God on behalf of Lot and Sodom and its impact on church in general and RCCG Adullam in particular. The researcher concludes that intercessory ministry is partnership with God to fulfil His agenda on earth with and through the church. It reveals that RCCG Adullam maintains spiritual standards on the subject and result seen in strength and growth of the church. The researcher recommended that effective education on Biblical Intercession should be taught in the church, to enable the church members develop more confidence to stand in gap for others before God. The researcher also recommended that emphasis should be made on the prayer Life of the church members to enable them become consistent and persistent in the place of prayer.
1.1 Background of the Study
Through careful observation, researchers had discovered that intercessory ministry is the secret of growth and success of many Christian organizations. The work of intercessory ministry is to mediate between God and others through prayers. Prayer is the power of Christians. Most importantly the power of’ ministers. In the book of the beginning of the Old Testament at the fall of’ man when there was no mediator between God and man, when there was no intercessor, God by himself interceded for Adam and Eve by killing an animal for sacrifice and atonement and later used the skin to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3: 1 —15). This is a form of intercessory Ministry. God is the origin of intercessory ministry. This episode is called “Proto-evangelism” which means “First Gospel”.The intercessory ministry continued right from the time of Adam till the time of Abraham – the father of faith who interceded for his unborn descendants in Genesis 18:12-16 and got the revelation from God how they will be in bondage for 400 years in Egypt. He also interceded for Lot his nephew and Sodom and Gomorrah the abominable Nations in Genesis 18:23-33, the genealogy of intercessory prayers continued through the prophets to the time of Christ on earth and to the time of the Apostles and the church. After the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ. His ministry of intercession continued at the right hand of’ the father as He lives forever to make intercessions for us (Heb. 7:25).Here on earth, the Holy Spirit continued to make intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered… (Romans 8:25—26), also the pastors and leaders, workers in Christendom and general Christians continue in the intercessory ministry. God created intercessory ministry as a means for men to be part of God’s agenda on earth.However, in this work the researcher unveiled the meaning and scope of intercessory ministry in the light of Genesis 18:23—33 and R.C.C.G Adullam Christian Center, Lagos.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
God is still looking for men and women of prayers to stand in the gap. In Isaiah 59:16, “God was displeased when he saw there was no man and wondered that there no intercessor…” Absence of prayer slows down the agenda of God on earth. The few that tries to pray are not persistent or constant. There is the lack of patience and longsuffering to wait one, two, three years or more for God to answer. People give up easily. The issue of sin as the prayer of a sinner is an abomination to God. Fear as an intercessor meets with Satan face to face in the battle. Prayer is a struggle and a conflict with Satan and the hordes of hell. Some Christians and even Pastors are ignorant of this while little or no prayer cannot undo or destroy Satan and his army. Lack of intercessors led to the struggles in the ministry such as sin dominating the members of the Christian church, Satan’s activities overwhelming the pastor and leaving him frustrated in the ministry. Believers are no longer established in faith and have become instant noodle Christians and this has drawn the hand of the church backward. Consequently, this research work brings to light the importance of intercessory ministry and how to use its impact on the church and its community in the light of Genesis 18:23 -33.
1.3 Purpose of The Study
It is therefore the purpose of this research work to re-emphasize to every minister and Christian ministry that intercessory ministry is inevitable for successful work in ministry. Prayer is the power of the church to achieve its mandate on earth. To shed light on the person, qualities, work of an intercessor, the effects and result of effective intercessory ministry on the believer, the church, and its community present.
1.4 Significance of The Study
It is the desire of the researcher that whoever comes across this research work will have good information about intercessory ministry and its impact upon the church of God. It also helps the general Christians to view how the Bible presented intercessors and their activities to better the life of people and, enhance the purpose of God. Pastors, men, women and youth leaders would benefit from the intercessory prayers and other department in church and future researchers.
1.5 Research Questions
These are the questions the researcher will address:
i. What is Intercessory Ministry?
ii. How do Christian leaders or ministers see intercessory ministry in today’s church?
iii. What does the Bible say about intercessory ministry?
iv. Who is an intercessor?
v. What are the qualities of an intercessor?
vi. Why are people not interested in the intercessory ministry?
vii. Why should Christians or ministers engage in this ministry?
viii. What is the stand of RCCG on intercessory ministry?
ix. Is RCCG Adullam Christian Center paying enough attention to intercessory ministry?
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
The scope of this research shall be confined to Biblical intercessors and intercessory ministry especially Abraham and his intercession for Lot and the adulterous nation of’ Sodom and Gomorrah. It also examines the views of other scholars on intercessory ministry without neglecting RCCG Adullam Christian Center which is the case study.
1.7 Research Procedure
Embarking on this research work, the researcher adopted the following methods:
i. Historical method of research: The research employed more of library and less field work.
ii. The Library of’ LIFE Theological Seminary and CSS bookshop were consulted for materials on prayers and intercessory ministry.
iii. Analytical and descriptive method were also be employed.
iv. Internet Sources were also consulted with adequate reference.
v. Relevant people such as Pastors (Present and past) prayer leaders and members were interviewed in the local church and the information was put to use in the study.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Some members of the church used as cases study refused collecting the questionnaires, some collected and did not return while some filled it hoarding some vital information.
1.9 Definition of TermsThe Key terms or words used ¡n this work are as follows:
The New Testament Greek word “ecclesia” is synonymous with the Hebrew word “Qahal” of the Old Testament, both simply means “assembly” (Act 19:32. 39, 41). It also denotes the whole body of the redeemed (Eph. 5:23, 25, 27). The church is therefore the assembly of’ believers in Christ Jesus called to fulfil the purpose of God on earth.
This is an important of worship which involves the human spirit and its approach to God. The Hebrew word “tephillah” which means to pray or a prayer”, a form of intercession or supplication. Prayer is violent opposition to the will of the devil, to put him out of control.
According to British English Dictionary. Implications means to connect in, or involved in. That is to have necessary accompaniment, intertwined impactful one.
This is simply serving others. Ministry means service.
This means efficient, serviceable, operative available for useful work, having power to produce desired result.
This is standing in gap for someone’s need. It is travailing or agonizing in prayer.
Keywords: AN EXEGETICAL STUDY OF GENESIS 18:23-33 AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR EFFECTIVE INTERCESSORY MINISTRY