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Monday, October 8, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 183

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

Samuel did not pray because it was his job to pray for others, nor did he pray because of who might be listening in on his prayers. Samuel did not pray out of habit or routine, he prayed because he understood that to not pray for the people was to sin against the Lord.

1 Samuel 12:23, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.”

Samuel considered it sin to cease praying for the people of Israel. He considered it sin to cease coming before the Lord and seeking His face, even though the people had chosen contrary to Samuel’s wishes. Even so, Samuel vowed that he would continue to teach them the good and right way.

A teacher’s duty is to teach, a pupil’s duty is to receive the teaching. I must do my utmost to make certain that at the end of the day, and at the end of my life, there is no blood on my hands, and that I’ve preached the whole counsel of God.

The duty of those who hear me speak, or read what I write, is to receive the teaching, and allow it to take root in their heart, or reject it outright.

My duty is to preach the truth; your duty is to receive the truth.

Samuel knew his prayers would only go so far. He knew that whether Israel thrived or was judged depended on the people and whether or not they feared the Lord and served Him in truth with all their heart.

1 Samuel 12:24-25, “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

We can pray for a nation, cry out for a nation, intercede for a nation, but as long as the nation does not fear the Lord and serves Him with all its heart, God will still judge and the nation will still be swept away.

Whether speaking of America, Romania, or any other nation where the children of God happen to reside, though God may hear our prayers for a nation, if the nation rebels against Him, does wickedly, and refuses to repent, He will judge it even with believers having prayed for the nation in question.

Does this mean we ought to stop interceding for the nations we pray for? No, for ceasing to pray for a nation would be as sinning against the Lord. What I am saying, is if God chooses to judge a nation even after we’ve prayed and interceded for it, may we be wise enough to understand that God did not disregard our prayers, or refuse to hear them, but that His justice demanded wickedness be judged.

Another area in which Samuel excelled was the knowledge of God’s expectations of His people. Samuel knew that omission was still a sin, and this is the reason he was so adamant in not ceasing to pray for the people.

Often times professing Christians are seen by non-Christians in either a place they ought not to be, doing something they ought not to be doing, wearing something they ought not to be wearing, or saying something they ought not to be saying, and even non-believers shake their head and say, ‘he ought to know better than that!’

We have no excuse for not knowing better because we have the word of God, and it teaches us what we must do, how we must live, and what we must repent of.

Samuel knew better than to not pray for God’s people, and knowing better meant that if he chose to cease praying for them, it would be counted as sin.

We all know God rejoices when He sees His children desire fellowship with Him. We know our prayers are as sweet smelling incense or sacrifice to God, so we have no excuse for circumventing prayer, or thinking it unnecessary in our modern age.

We read or hear of God speaking to regular, ordinary, everyday men and women, and feel a twinge of jealousy because it isn’t us. We read the Scriptures and see the mighty ways in which God used certain individuals, and can’t help but think to ourselves, ‘I wish I could have been there to see that…I wish I could have lived in those times.’

What we often gloss over, or choose to ignore, are the endless hours such individuals spent in prayer and supplication before God, how they nurtured and cemented their relationship with the Lord for years, even decades, until He started speaking to them and using them in such magnificent ways.

We all want to be used of God, but none of us want to put in the time required to get to that spiritual place of being ready to be used of God.

There was a time when even Samuel did not know the voice of the Lord. There was a time when even Samuel did not know the Lord well enough to approach Him, but through obedience, humility, and a desire to be pleasing to the Lord, he became the man we know today as the last, and greatest judge of God’s people, one of the most renowned prophets of the Old Testament, and the man for whom two books of the Bible are named.

To see him as he was, freshly weaned from his mother and brought to the house of the Lord, no one could have guessed at the man Samuel would become, and the ways in which God would use him.

Before he could be used of God however, he had to grow in the knowledge of God, and we grow in the knowledge of God by diligently studying His word, and spending time in prayer.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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