Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 181

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Samuel

Since Samuel was a man of lifelong prayer, it is near impossible to choose one prayer out of the many the word of God tells us Samuel prayed. As such, we will be discussing the broader context of Samuel’s prayer life, and include more than one of his prayers in our study.

Samuel was promised to God from before his conception. His mother Hannah pleaded with the Lord, and promised if He would grant her a male child, she would consecrate him unto the Lord, and bring him to the house of the Lord.

Hannah kept her word, and once he had been weaned, Samuel was brought to the tabernacle of the Lord. From early youth Samuel learns the ways of God ministering before the Lord even as a child.

It is in his youth that God begins to speak to Samuel, and one of his first assignments, was to tell his mentor Eli, the man who had cared and watched over him since the day he had been brought to the tabernacle, that God had judged his family because he had failed to reign in his two sons.

As far as historical context goes, Samuel was also the last judge of Israel. Even though he was the last judge in Israel, he was also the greatest judge Israel had ever known, simultaneously serving as a priest in the tabernacle of the Lord and as a prophet of God.

Although Samuel was a man of multiple callings, and was even assigned to oversee the transition of Israel to a unified nation with a single king, he always made time for prayer. We find him in the presence of God, praying to Him, petitioning Him, and beseeching Him as often as any Old Testament figure barring a couple exceptions.

Perhaps his mother had told him the story of how she had been barren, had prayed, and had been blessed with a son as an answer to her prayers. Perhaps he saw his mentor Eli praying, and coming before the altar of the Lord with regularity. Whatever sparked Samuel’s awareness of how important prayer was, it stayed with him all of his days, and he continued living a life of prayer and supplication throughout his journey here on earth.

The first thing we can learn from Samuel, even before we begin to discuss the prayers he prayed, is the importance of knowing how important prayer is in the life of a believer. Samuel knew prayer was paramount in his life, and though for many of us the sheer volume of his responsibilities might seem impossible to manage, he always made time to come before the Lord and have fellowship with Him.

We always make time for what we deem as necessary in our lives. We always make time for those things we think we can’t do without. Admittedly, some things such as eating periodically, drinking water, and sleeping are indispensable and necessary, but other things we do on a daily basis are anything but.

We squander the most precious resource we’ve been given i.e. time, chasing after childish distractions, all the while talking ourselves into believing we can’t live without them.

If you were to make a list of the indispensable things in your life, would prayer be near the top of that list? If not, why not?

Samuel understood from an early age how indispensable, necessary, and paramount prayer was in the life of one who desires to hear the voice of God, have a relationship with God, and know the heart of God.

Even though as he grew so did his responsibilities, the foundation of Samuel’s prayer life had already been firmly established, and whatever else he was called to do, from anointing the first king of Israel, to anointing his replacement, Samuel still found time to pray.

If a man tasked with anointing kings, prophesying over nations and serving as priest in the tabernacle of the Lord found time to pray, you and I have no excuse.

Whether we have to clean the house, do laundry, take the kids to soccer practice, mow the lawn, not to mention surf the net, watch television, or a hundred other things that occupy our time some of which are utterly pointless, chances are we still won’t be as busy as Samuel. If Samuel found time to pray, then we ought to be able to find time to pray.

It all boils down to one solitary question: ‘do I think prayer an important enough component in my spiritual walk to sacrifice other less important things in order to make time to pray?’

It is not a question I can answer for you, nor can you answer it for me. We are each responsible for what we do with the time we’ve been given, how we use it, and what we apply ourselves to. If we apply ourselves to building our relationship with God and discovering more of Him, then prayer will be a priority in our lives, and we will do away with the vain, foolish, or unproductive things in our daily activities in order to make time for it.

If, however, God and the knowledge of Him are at the bottom of the list, somewhere between getting a new air freshener for the car and picking up Joel’s latest spiritualized humanism drivel, then we will always find something else to do in lieu of going to our prayer closet, and spending some time with God.

Men of God are not born men of God. Men of God are called, then molded, chiseled, built up, equipped, finding their fulfillment in God, and the presence of Him alone. The lights, the cameras, the pulpits, the book signings, the interviews, are all distractions which take away from a man of God’s primary purpose…to spend time with his Master, fellowship with Him, and grow in the knowledge of Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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