Crossroads: Amos – Praying for Others

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Amos 7:1-6

My Story

A missionary came to our church when I was a child in the missions program. The missionary told us wonderful stories about his work for God. He told us how he had started a church from a very small group of people. He described his work with health clinics that cared for hundreds of sick people. He also told us about a community garden that provided food for hungry people. The missionary had pictures of people who had learned about God because of his ministry. He also had Bibles printed in the language of the people of his community. He had so many wonderful mission stories that I still remember today, many years after his visit.

But what I remember most about his visit was something the missionary said to us. He looked at all of us children and he said, “You are the reason that all of this good ministry is happening. I couldn’t do any of these good things without your prayers. Your prayers make a difference in the lives of so many people in my community and in the work that I do.”

I had never thought about how important my prayers were to other people. My prayers helped this missionary do his work. Without my prayers and the prayers of others, this missionary would not have been able to tell his interesting stories and do his good work for God. I learned an important lesson that day: Praying for others makes a difference.

Your Story

Can you think of a time in your life when you prayed for someone else and your prayers made a difference in their lives?
• Who did you pray for? How did your prayers make a difference?
• Who do we pray for other than ourselves? Why should we pray for our family members, our friends, our church leaders, our teachers, our missionaries, and our elected officials?
• Has anyone ever thanked you for praying for them?
• How do our prayers make a difference in the lives of other people?

The Bible Story

Amos was a prophet of God to the people of Israel. He lived almost 800 years before the time of Jesus, and much of his life was spent in the village of Tekoa, which was about six miles south of Jerusalem. He was probably a shepherd who also listened to God and preached for God as a prophet.

Our verses for today give us two different visions from God that came to the prophet Amos. The first vision in verses 1-2 announces the future judgments God will bring against Israel. This vision revealed that God was warning Amos that a hoard of locusts (kind of like big grasshoppers) were getting ready to descend upon the people of Israel in the late spring, after the second planting of the crops. The people of Israel were dependent on this second crop planting for food during the dry summer months. Because locusts could eat and destroy all kinds of plants—even the bark on the trees—this vision was very frightening because if it happened the people of Israel would experience a severe lack of food for several months.

The second vision described in verses 4-6 tells about a judgment of supernatural fire that will burn up the land and even “the great deep”—which are the waters under the earth. When Amos sees both of these awful judgments, the prophet prays to God for the people of Israel. In verse 2 Amos asks God to forgive Israel’s sin because as a nation Israel was so small and weak. In verse 5, Amos asked God to stop the fire because Amos didn’t want to see Israel burned up in the fire. In both instances, the Bible tells us that “the Lord relented.” Basically, God decided to save the people from the destruction of the locusts and the fire. The major reason God saved the people of Israel from both of these plagues was because Amos prayed and asked God to save them.

Discussion

• How do you think Amos felt when he received these visions from God? Do they sound like scary visions? Do you think Amos was afraid?
• Try to imagine hundreds of animals coming into your house and eating all of your food. What would you think? What would you do?
• What would it be like for a big fire to come out of the sky and burn up all our toys, our homes, and our food?
• The Bible says that God decided to stop the locusts from coming and to prevent the fire from burning because Amos prayed. Why do you think Amos’s prayer was so important to God?
• What would you have prayed if you were Amos and saw these visions? What would you say to God?
• What lesson do we learn from Amos about praying?

Prayer

Thank God for listening to our prayers. Think about someone who needs your prayers today and pray to God for that person. Ask God to help that person (or those people). Also, think about ways that you and your family might be able to help them, and ask God to help you as you help others.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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