23 November 2014

Prayer in the Face of Discouragement

I don't know about you, but I've faced lots of times and circumstances when I didn't know how to pray for a situation or a person.  It's hard to know what the best outcome would be, or to even begin to imagine how even the Lord could work out a solution to the tangle we get ourselves into.

But I learned something from Samuel the other day.

He judged Israel for many years, but because the people couldn't see a good successor coming along behind him for the position of judge, they begged for a king.

Two things:  God had told the people not to set a king over themselves like other countries; and if they couldn't think of a good person to be judge, who did they think would be a good king over them?

Yet beg for a king they did.

Eventually, God relented and gave them a king.  As Samuel sets a king over them, he also takes the opportunity to remind them he has judged righteously, and to exhort them to renew their commitment to the Lord.  

This done, God sends thunder and rain to convict the people of their sin in begging for a king, and now instead of begging for a king they're begging Samuel to pray for them, that their sin might be covered.

They've been blatantly rebellious, they've put themselves in a mess, and now they're beginning to see it.

Instead of giving up on them, Samuel's heart still cares for the people he has led for many years, and he replies simply,

"...Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart...For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people...
"...Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you..."  1 Samuel 12:20-24 (excerpts)

Perhaps more than knowing what to pray or how to pray, what we really need to do is just pray anyway.  Samuel had a job to do, to stand and plead for the people before the Lord.  

And you know what?  We have a job to do, too.  There are people we love--more importantly, people who Jesus loves--and it's part of our job as subjects of heaven to keep them in prayer before our Savior.

When we don't know how to pray, maybe it's enough to simply say to Jesus, "Please do something.  I don't know the needs and I certainly don't know the solution...just please do something for this person you and I both love."

1 comment:

  1. This was really encouraging to me. . . God's been guiding me to develop a deeper prayer life and I know that persistence in prayer is an area I need to be more faithful in! His ways are so different from ours -- how much He is doing that we don't even see or realize!


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