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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 186

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

Samuel knew there was no one else he could turn to in such a time. He prayed to God because he knew God has all the answers. It’s never hit or miss with God. We never find He is out of town, on vacation, or too busy to speak to us, nor that He has grown so successful in His chosen field that He no longer gives us the time of day.

God hears our prayers, and answers our prayers. He desires to fellowship with His creation, and be in communion with us.

We’re not imposing when we approach God. We come before Him boldly, knowing He will receive us and hear us. Any excuse we might have for not coming before God in prayer, for not pouring out our souls whenever the need arises, is unfounded and has no basis in fact.

God knows the need for man to communicate with Him is a fundamental one. Man is fragmented and incomplete until he establishes a relationship with God the Father, and learns to dialogue, fellowship and communicate with Him.

Even the Christ went to prayer in His moments of hardship and trial. Even the Christ prayed to the Father as His time drew near.

We see these great men of the faith, and even Christ Jesus Himself spending time in prayer and supplication before the Father, and somehow we still convince ourselves we are above the need to pray and fellowship with God.

‘They might have needed to spend time in prayer, but they didn’t know the secrets of being self-assured, and self-confident.’

The heroes of the Bible spent time in prayer because they realized only God could provide a remedy for their heartache, their pain, and their disappointment.

Samuel got attacked by the elders of Israel on all fronts. His competence was called into question, his family was maligned, and his labors in leading Israel were marginalized, because the people wanted something new, something different, something like the rest of the nations had.

New isn’t always better, and this is also true of churches and fellowships who are so focused on being relevant and engaging of our modern culture, that they abandon the truth of Christ and the gospel for the sake of relevance.

Another glimpse into the heart of Samuel, and the true measure of love and faithfulness this man possessed, is when God rejects Saul as king, and tells Samuel as much.

Keep in mind, the elders swept Samuel to the side in order to have a king, and now the king which had been anointed to rule and judge over Israel, was being rejected of God.

For most people this would have been the perfect time to gloat. It would have been the perfect time to point out how the elders had gotten it wrong, and demand an apology. Instead of doing what most men would have done, Samuel proceeds to do what Christ would later teach us we must do, and that is pray for Saul and be grieved by God’s rejection of him.

1 Samuel 15:10-11, “Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, ‘I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.’ And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.”

Even though Saul had essentially replaced him as far as judging over the people was concerned, Samuel still found it in his heart to cry out to the Lord all night, being grieved by God’s rejection of Saul as king.

It is within certain contexts, and certain moment that we discover men’s true hearts. It is in those instances wherein they do not know they are being watched, wherein they are not trying to impress, or project an image that the true character of an individual rises to the surface.

The word of the Lord had come to Samuel informing him of Saul’s failures, and it grieved him to the point of crying out to the Lord all night. He didn’t go into the square, he didn’t gather the people, he didn’t schedule an extra special night of prayer and intercession for the king, he cried out to the Lord where he was, without drawing attention to himself.

Samuel didn’t pretend to be grieved, he was grieved. Even though the removal of Saul would both justify and solidify his own position, Samuel cried out to the Lord on behalf of Saul.

Uncommon practices draw the eye, and Samuel being grieved for the sake of Saul drew my eye. You don’t often find those who feel as though they have been cast aside praying for the individual who replaced them. You don’t often find an individual being grieved and crying out to the Lord all night on behalf of another, who succeeded him, and appropriated his authority.

Samuel’s true heart and character shone bright in his actions, and we see both the faithfulness and tenderness of this prophet of God in his prayer for Saul, the king whom God rejected.

1 Samuel 16:1, “Then the Lord said to Samuel, ‘how long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.’”

Even though Samuel ‘went no more to see Saul until the day of his death,’ he continued to mourn for Saul. This went on for so long, that the Lord Himself said to Samuel, ‘how long will you mourn for Saul?’

Just because someone chooses the path of rebellion, it does not mean we ought to stop praying, interceding, and even mourning for them. Just because someone chooses to turn their back on the truth, it does not mean we ought not to remember them in our petitions to the Lord. As long as they have breath they can still repent and turn toward God.

Yes, Samuel separated himself from Saul and no longer went to see him, but he continued to pray for him in earnest.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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