Thursday, September 22, 2016

Powerful prayers, part III


Whew!
Powerful prayers, for sure!
This grand old man of prayer cried out to God, and the thunder rolled and rolled. The enemy was so confused and scared that they were ultimately subdued by Israel for a good while.

Now let's look at how God listens and helps his children when we are provoked . . .we mentioned before that the people at one point began to turn against Samuel. It was not because of him, for they confirmed to him that he had always walked in integrity. It was because of his sons:
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” (I Samuel 8:1-5)
Of course, this would have grieved Samuel's heart. Parents always hope that their children are going to be fine folks, and when they go astray, it hurts! It's only natural. But instead of getting in a "huff," or scolding the people, or defending his indefensible sons, what does he do?

Samuel prayed to the Lord. He told the Father all about what was happening. Here is His reply:
And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. (I Samuel 8:7)
God tells him not to take it personally, in today's language. (Grin) This snub, this slight was a rejection of God, not of Samuel. God didn't want Samuel to take their ingratitude personally. So, we read in the rest of the chapter that after he protested, he told the people all about how they would suffer from a king. The king was going to tax them and oppress them, and then take their sons to be soldiers and their daughters to work in his palace. Not only those things, but the king would also take their fields and vineyards, too.

Did this change their minds?
Nope.
They still said they wanted a king. I like the way the KJV details this: "Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord."

Wow.
Just think if we were wise enough to do that when people provoke us? If we didn't get angry. If we didn't pout. If we didn't tell others how we'd been mistreated. If we didn't just brood on it and have a pity party.
If we went straight to our quiet place, our prayer closet, and told them to our Lord.
What a difference that would make in our lives and our attitudes!
When the people of Israel left Samuel and followed after their newly-minted king, the old prophet continued to pray for them.
What can we take away from this?
We've seen that God listens and helps us when we are provoked, just as He did Samuel. If we will "rehearse" it in His ears, He will comfort and answer:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (I John 5:15-15)
We are not judges. We are not all pastors, or teachers. We are not all parents. But we nevertheless have folks with whom we come in contact; we have people within our sphere of influence. We must be frequent in our prayers. We must be caring and compassionate; we must pray for them. If they are not yet part of the family of God, then we need to pray for their salvation. If they are believers, but have strayed, it's our privilege to ask the Spirit to call them back. If they are believers facing difficulties of any kind, it's again an honor to name them to the Father and ask His blessings upon them.

To pray for others should become a habit that we do not stop, even if that person or those people provoke us somehow. As Samuel said, "God forbid that I should cease to pray for you." Oh, let's be prayer warriors like him!

1 comment:

Katie Isabella said...

This is outstanding! It says it all...just as we should be thinking, doing and realizing,.