Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 182

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

God speaks to us through His word, and we in turn speak to Him through prayer. Just the knowledge that we can come before the Creator of all that is, both seen and unseen, ought to compel us and inspire us to spend more time in prayer than we do.

What could be more fulfilling in this life than knowing you can speak to God, and that He is listening?

You could meet the president of every nation, shake their hand, and have tea, and it still wouldn’t compare with being able to speak to God, and having Him speak back.

We’ve grown so used to certain things that we have stripped all the wonder and majesty from them. Prayer is one of the things we’ve allowed to become a usual thing in our lives, so much so that we often forget what it is we are doing when we pray.

When I pray, I, Michael Boldea, the son of a glassblower and the grandson of a potato farmer, am speaking to God almighty, creator of heaven and earth, sustainer of life and existence as we know it.

Who am I to have such an honor? Who am I to have the privilege of communicating and fellowshipping with the God of the universe?

And yet, so often, we say a few hurried words on our way out the door, or before biting into our meal, as though we were doing Him the favor by uttering a prayer.

There is one other undeniable trait in Samuel – as well as all the men of God whom God used as vessels of honor – his reverence for the person of God.

Every biblical figure who was a man or woman of prayer was also deeply reverential toward God. They knew God, and because they knew God they had reverence and veneration for Him.

Lack of reverence for the house of God, the things of God, and the person of God is one of my personal pet peeves, and whenever I see it in individuals who ought to know better, I just can’t abide it.

Only one who does not understand who God is, or know the person of God both intimately and through the prism of Scripture can be so indifferent as to be irreverent when coming before Him. Not only is irreverence practiced in many a churches, it is encouraged by certain leaders who insist God is nothing more than our buddy, our pal, our go to individual in case of emergency, but nothing so imposing as King, Creator, Master or Lord.

Samuel the prophet of the Lord is counted among the many notables who understood the nature of God and as a direct result came before Him with reverence and humility.

Even the people realized Samuel was a man of prayer, and that His prayers were received of God.

1 Samuel 7:8, “So the children of Israel said to Samuel, ‘do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.’”

The people knew Samuel was interceding on their behalf. They knew Samuel was crying out to the Lord for them, and they asked him not to cease doing this, so God might save them from the hand of the Philistines.

It’s good to know someone is praying for us. I have individuals who will write me from time to time and say, ‘you’re in our prayers, keep doing what you’re doing.’ Knowing that I’m in their prayers, knowing that someone is crying out to the Lord on my behalf, gives me strength and a new desire to keep pressing on, and doing the work to which I have been called to the best of my ability.

The knowledge that you are in someone’s prayers is a source of strength. The people knew Samuel’s prayers mattered, they knew God heard when he petitioned and cried out on their behalf, and they asked him not to stop.

Although Samuel loved the people of Israel to the point that by their own admission he ‘cried out to the Lord on their behalf,’ he did not compromise the truth, or attempt to sidestep sensitive issues in regards to their obedience toward God.

You can love the people of God, and still speak the truth with boldness. You can love the people of God and still call sin by its name, and call the household of faith to repentance.

In recent years we’ve been conditioned to believe that if someone challenges our lifestyle, if they point out inconsistencies or outright sin in our lives and counsel us to repent, they are unloving, judgmental, unkind, and not possessing the heart of Christ.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Someone who will take the time to challenge you because the Bible compels them to is not hateful, intolerant, or bigoted, but rather loving, kind and obedient toward God.

In spite of the fact that he was raised in the tabernacle, and did not grow up in a family of warriors or soldiers, Samuel was a bold man who did not shy away from doing his duty, and saying the difficult thing when the difficult thing was required.

Samuel’s boldness and courage extended to the point of calling the king of Israel a fool for not keeping the commandment of the Lord.

In our day and age it seems we associate men of God with soft spoken, non-confrontational, perpetually smiling individuals who only have kind and positive words to say to us, even though our lives and conduct are not in accordance with scripture.

It was not always so, and as recently as twenty years ago, there were still men of God who walked in His authority, and spoke the truth fearlessly to anyone regardless of the position they held or the power they wielded.

Unfortunately such men grow rarer by the day, now when we need men of boldness and action more than ever before.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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