Read I SAMUEL 1:1-19
As women and men after God’s own heart we want to be committed to prayer. There are so many things going on in our society today and we are faced with many challenges, many of which are difficult and seem almost impossible to handle. There is violence very prevalent in our communities. We never know when such things will hit our household or the people we love. There is destruction all across our nation. There is upheaval and chaos, all the way up to the White House and our nation’s leader. Trauma and chaos have even found themselves in the church! Fallen pastors and leaders have been crushed by their own sinful natures and a dark cloud has descended upon everything that we hold to be true as children of God – our witness to the world has been marred! To bring things closer to home, there is even pain in our own lives. Failed relationships, broken marriages, wayward children, bitterness, betrayal, envy, anger, and the list goes on. In the midst of all this, how am I to stay surrendered and committed to God? How can I remain focused enough to pray effectively? Yes, I know that Christians ought to always pray. I Thess. 5:17 – Pray without ceasing. Ephesians 6:18 says to Pray at all times in the spirit.James 5:16 says that the “effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much.”
What is prayer and how will it help me be a woman or man after God’s own heart? Prayer is communication with our heavenly father, fellowship with Him.
How does prayer help us?
I. PRAYER INCREASES FAITH
The more we make a conscious decision to take everything to God in prayer, the more results we see, the closer to Christ we become, thus, our faith is strengthened. As we grow and build a relationship with Christ through prayer, we are more convinced that he can handle our circumstances and we begin to lean more on him each day. It is a growth process. The Bible tells us that we walk by faith and not by sight. And that is true, but it doesn’t happen overnight. We have been walking by what we see our entire lives and it takes time to reverse that. Continuous prayer will eventually bring us to the point when we no longer have to see it to believe it! Hannah prayed to the Lord for a son. She had to come to a place when she no longer looked at what she didn’t have and what others had but to take her problem to God and leave it there.
II. PRAYER PROVIDES A PLACE TO UNLOAD BURDENS
John 16:33 tells us that problems and sorrow are a fact of life. We will all face trials and temptations at some point. In this life are three types of people: those in a storm, those coming out of a storm and those on their way into a storm. Storms are going to be there. But when you feel that you can’t share it with anyone else, when you feel that no one else understands…we know we can take it to the Lord and we know that he won’t spread it around the church, he won’t twist it out of shape and change the facts around, he is concerned about us and wants us to rely on Him and Him alone!
Hannah had a place to unload her burdens through prayer! Hannah was in a storm. She was the first wife of Elkanah and she was barren. His other wife, Peninnah, had children and made every effort available to tease and ridicule Hannah because of her situation. Have you ever been there? You’ve made some decisions in your life or you found yourself in a mess and was ridiculed and talked about because of it? Hannah was distraught, but she took her burden to the Lord.
III. PRAYER TEACHES US THAT GOD IS ALWAYS NEAR
We must all deal with troubling circumstances at some point in our lives. But, rest assure that God is always near! Through prayer we understand that! Psalm 46:1 says that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble! God is there with us in the midst of our trouble, He was with Daniel in the lion’s den, He was with the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace….He was with Paul and Silas in prison…He is with us always!!! That’s why after Hannah prayed to the Lord, she went away and was sad no more! Through her prayer she understood that the Lord was there with her and that he heard her! God said he would be a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him!! Whether that reward is an answer to your prayer or just a peace to help you deal with your circumstance – HE IS THERE!!!!
IV. PRAYER TRAINS US NOT TO PANIC
When we continue to be steadfast in our prayer life, as we gradually rely on Christ more and more each day.….we become strengthened and dependent upon him. So when things come up in our lives we are not so quick to panic…but pray! Panic happens when you are uncertain or fearful about something. Prayer helps us to rely and rest on the Savior for everything! I don’t need to panic….God is in control of this situation! Nothing takes God by surprise! You might be taken aback – you might be surprised – but God never sleeps nor slumbers – so stop panicking and lean on His everlasting arms. Prayer will prevent panic and worry!
V. PRAYER CHANGES LIVES
Finally, prayer changes lives.When we learn how to trust and lean on God through prayer for ourselves and others, we will see lives changed!!Hannah prayed for a child and the Lord blessed her with Samuel.Prayer transforms us into the women and men God wants us to be. How?Because then we are not being led by our own might, but have learned to trust and depend on God, giving him our burdens, our cares, and control of our lives and every situation that concerns us!
c/Candie A. Price