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Monday, October 1, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 177

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Hannah continued...

There are times when even those closest to us do not understand the pain and heartache we are going through. There are seasons in our lives when sadness crashes upon us like waves upon a rocky shore, and though we might try to explain it to family and friends, it is still something wholly personal.

There is one who will always understand our heartache, our pain, our sadness, and our sense of loss, for He is the maker and creator of us all. He knows His creation better than the creation knows itself, and when we come before Him, not only does God listen to our prayers, He understands where we’re coming from in regards to our emotional state at the present time.

When we view God as some emotionless taskmaster sitting in heaven just watching us bang our heads against the wall, we will undoubtedly be reticent in coming before Him and pouring our souls out to Him.

When we view Him as the loving father that He is, when we see God as He is, the Creator whose love for mankind was such that He sent His only Son to die on our behalf, we will come before Him with open hearts, and pour out our sadness, our grief, our disappointment, our frustration, our anger, and our disillusionment.

Hannah’s prayer was also a prayer of engagement…a promissory prayer of sorts. She prayed God would give her a male child, and in return she vowed Him the child would be consecrated into His service.

1 Samuel 1:11, “Then she made a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of your maidservant and remember me, and not forget your maidservant, but will give your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.’”

Hannah’s vow was specific, and void of ambiguity. She did not quantify her promise with, ‘if he can’t get into medical school, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life,’ she vowed outright that if the Lord gave her a male child, he would belong to the Lord.

If you make a vow before God, and God answers your prayer, keep your vow. No one twisted your arm to make a vow to God, as no one twisted Hannah’s arm to promise that if God gave her a male child she would dedicate Him to the service of the Lord.

Often times when we find ourselves in dire straits, we tend to come before God and make grandiose promises and vows.

‘Lord, if you get me out of this predicament, I will do so and so for the rest of my life.’

God, being faithful even when we are not, answers our prayers and gets us out of the predicament, but when it’s our turn to keep our word, we either fail to do so completely, or find reasons and excuses to do what we promised only halfway.

It is far wiser not to make a vow in the first place, than having made a vow before God, go back on it, or pretend you never made it.

God’s record keeping is impeccable. Not one of us will stand before the throne of God on that day of days, and be able to convince Him that we didn’t promise what we in fact promised, or that our promise was misinterpreted or misunderstood.

It’s a dangerous thing trying to play lawyer with God, and attempt to find loopholes in the promises and vows you made to him. Trust me, God has read the fine print, He has read all the clauses, He has memorized the entire vow, and no excuse we bring before Him will suffice for the fact that we lied to His face, and that we are oath breakers.

Although this actually happened some years ago, let’s presume there was a man who having just started a business made a vow to God that if he was successful in his venture, fifteen percent of what he brought in would go directly to ministries and outreaches.

God heard the man’s prayers, as well as his vow, and to everyone’s surprise including his, his business took off, and significant amounts of money started to come in. Even if he had chosen to give fifteen percent off the top, this individual would still have had plenty for everything he needed to do, but the human heart being what he is, he started to go back on his vow.

At first, it was fifteen percent after taxes; a little while later it was fifteen percent after taxes and expenses, followed by taxes, expenses and salaries, and finally fifteen percent after taxes, expenses, and salaries, not to exceed $10,000 annually.

One thing led to another until this man’s vow to God became the running joke in our small immigrant community, because to make matters worse, this individual had gotten up before the entire congregation and made his vow public.

Even with having broken his vow before God, the man’s business went well for a couple years until it was discovered the bookkeeper he had hired had been embezzling and opening lines of credit on his company’s behalf.

Not only was he officially bankrupt, the man was also tied up in litigation over the credit lines for over a year.

When we fail to keep our vows before God, it is only a matter of time before He makes it painfully obvious that without Him we can do nothing.

If you make a vow to God, follow through. Don’t attempt to weasel out of it, and don’t attempt to do less than what you promised you would do. Be a person of your word, and fulfill the promise you made to Him.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed. It is better not to vow than to vow and not pay.”

Hannah made a vow, she kept it, and God honored her for it.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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