Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 188

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

Since this is not a teaching on the boldness or obedience of David, but rather about his prayer life, as much as it pains me to leave treasure unearthed – since the man’s entire life is a goldmine of teachable moments – we will shift our focus to his prayers, and his prayer life.

Whether he found himself in the valley or on the mountaintop David was consistently a man of prayer. David prayed when times were good and when times were bad, when victory was his, and when he suffered defeat.

David was not a man to pray only when he needed God’s help. He genuinely loved being in the presence of the Lord, communing with Him, and being in fellowship with Him. As such, we see David spending time in prayer both when he is a sheepherder as well as when he is king, when he is preparing to go up against Goliath, as well as when he’s basking in the victory of having vanquished him.

In the most difficult of times, we find David running to God, and strengthening himself in Him. We see a man who knew his limitations in David, and who realized human strength, intelligence, and aptitude will only carry you so far. Any further, and you have to trust God.

We see David’s willingness to humble himself before the Lord in every difficult circumstance of his life. We see his character, even though he was not a perfect man, and we see His dependency upon the Lord.

One of the most telling events of David’s life was also one of the most heartbreaking. It was during his campaign against the Amalekites, shortly after they had burned Ziklag with fire and taken captive the women and those who were there.

It was a dark time for David, his own wives having been taken captive, and his men growing angrier with each passing minute because of what had occurred.

1 Samuel 30:6, “Then David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord.”

His wives taken captive, his men ready to stone him, and rather than attempt anything of his own volition, David strengthened himself in the Lord. When we come to know the Lord, we realize we have strength in Him.

What does a prayer of a man dependent upon God sound like? What attributes are found within the prayers themselves that differentiate them from other prayers?

The first prayer assigned to David within the pages of Scripture, is one wherein he inquires of the Lord whether he should go to war.

The Philistines had gone to war against a place called Keilah, and upon being informed of this, rather than make a spur of the moment decision as to whether he ought to attack the Philistines, or stay out of the skirmish, David inquired of the Lord.

1 Samuel 23:2, “Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I go and attack these Philistines?’ And the Lord said to David, ‘Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.’”

David asked, and God answered. It should have been as simple as that, but when David informed his men they were about to attack the Philistines, his men reminded him of their perilous predicament, and how they were already fearful, without having to engage the enemy.

1 Samuel 23:3-4, “And David’s men said to him, ‘Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?’ Then David inquired of the Lord once again. And the Lord answered him and said, ‘Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines in your hand.’”

God did not rebuke David for inquiring of Him again. Even though God had already told him to go and attack the Philistines, David’s men began to filter what God had said through the prism of human reason, and had concluded that they were fearful on their own turf, without having to confront an enemy. Because of their fear, David inquired of the Lord once more, and the Lord reconfirmed the victory they would obtain over the Philistines.

If you are at a crossroads in your life, if the Lord has spoken to you and told you to do something outside of your comfort zone, there is no sin in asking the Lord to confirm what He has told you. It’s one thing to venture out halfheartedly thinking we heard the voice of the Lord, it’s another to venture out wholly committed to the task at hand because we know the Lord has spoken to us.

It is a dangerous thing to be plagued by uncertainty, fear, or doubt when set upon a task and purpose meant to further the kingdom of God.

No matter how faithful one might be, if they are uncertain or doubtful in regards to having heard from God, there will be hesitation in their decisions, second guessing, and often times even a paralyzing fear.

Few feelings in life are worse than finding ourselves far from everything we’ve ever known, separated from friends and family alike, and wondering whether or not this was the will of God for our lives, or if we talked ourselves into believing something concerning which we are now doubtful and skeptical.

Whatever the task, whether great or small, confirm and reconfirm, until you are at peace, and know it was the voice of God you heard, and it was God who commissioned you to set about a certain course.

David wanted to make sure the Lord had said what He had said. David wanted to be certain it was not his own ego driving him to war against the Philistines, but rather the Lord. Once he was certain, David and his men struck a mighty blow to the Philistines, and saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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