9And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
10They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant, which I made with their fathers.
11Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
12Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
13For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.
14Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.
15What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? When thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.
In Sunday School when there is extra time, I play a game called stump the teacher. While playing this game one Sunday, one of the youth asked me why God told Jeremiah not to pray. Of course, I told him he must be mistaken, God would never tell someone not to pray. He argued with me and found the scripture passage. When I read this passage, I was shocked. God did tell Jeremiah not to pray for the people of Israel. That goes against everything I had been taught about God. After I ate crow, the first thing I decided to do was look at the context of this verse, as a good Bible student should. Verses 9-13 of Jeremiah 11 are telling Jeremiah that the people of Israel had rejected God and had even followed other gods. Because of this transgression, God was going to punish Israel. That is why; I explained to the youth, God did not want Jeremiah praying for the Israelites.
I went on to explain that in James it says that the prayer of a righteous man avails much. Since Jeremiah was a righteous man, if he had prayed God might have had mercy on the Israelites. There are several examples in the Old Testament of righteous men praying to God when He was going to destroy the Israelites and then He did not because of their prayers. Righteous men like Moses and Samuel.
God wanted the Israelites to learn from their mistakes and this could not take place if Jeremiah prayed for mercy and God granted it. However, the Israelites would be disciplined by being put into exile so they could learn their lesson.