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Showing posts from June, 2013

Here I am, Lord

Background: Even as a child, the future prophet Samuel heard the voice of God. Tended by Eli in the Temple, the boy slept near the Ark of the Covenant, which housed the tablets of law God had given to Moses. Physically, the priest Eli had begun to lose his vision, but spiritually, the whole Hebrew nation had begun to lose sight of God. Visions and the word of the LORD came rarely, but even so, someone had to see or hear. Someone had to be open, childlike, and receptive to God. So the LORD called the boy Samuel. By name, God called, “Samuel, Samuel,” and immediately the boy got up and ran to Eli, saying, “Here I am for you called.” But Eli said, “No, I didn’t. Go back to bed.” Samuel obeyed, but again the LORD called, “Samuel!” So again Samuel got up and hurried to Eli, saying, “Here I am for you called me.” But again Eli said, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to bed.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor did he know the word of the LORD, but the LORD call

Hannah praises God

Background: Every year Elkanah and his whole family took a sacrifice to the Temple and paid their vows and offerings to God, but after Samuel ‘s birth, Hannah didn’t go. Instead she promised her husband that, as soon as she had weaned the child, she would take him into God’s presence, leaving him in the Temple to pay her vow and offer him back to God forever. When that time came, Hannah did just as she'd said. Filling a wineskin with wine and taking grain for bread, she brought her son to Eli the priest, reminding him how she had prayed for this child and God heard. Then Hannah left her child with Eli. She left him in the house of the LORD. As promised, she gave her son to God forever. She gave him as a present in the presence of the LORD. And Hannah praised God and prayed, “My heart lifts up the LORD for the LORD has lifted me. I could speak ill of my enemies, but I give word to the joy of God’s salvation. No one is holy but the LORD. No one is sure and steady

Hannah makes a vow to God

Background: In a time when people measured a woman’s worth by her ability to have children, Hannah had none. She wanted children too, but to make matters worse, Peninnah – her husband’s other wife – taunted Hannah, mocked Hannah, and incessantly bragged about own her sons and daughters. As the years when by, husband Elkanah tried to make Hannah feel more loved by giving her twice as much as he gave the irritating other wife, but Hannah remained childless and sad. After a while, the sadness deepened until she could not stop crying. So Elkanah asked, “Why do you keep crying, Hannah? Why do you not even eat? Why are you sad all the time? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” Maybe he would have if she were his only wife! But Hannah’s grief became so strong, she went into the temple and burst into tears. Bitterly she wept. Distraught she prayed. She pleaded to the LORD and made a vow: "O LORD of hosts, please look on the misery of Your servant, and remember me! If Y

God answers a prayer with a no

Background: The Apostle Paul had it all! Passion for God, a good education, and a lucrative job. Then a revelation from Christ knocked him to the ground! The LORD wowed him, empowered him, and took him all around the known world to seed, nurture, and strength the church Body of Christ. Sometime during that time, Paul had another revelation or vision that whisked him into the “third heaven.” Whether an in-body or an out-of-body experience, even he did not know. Regardless, Paul was caught up – lifted up into Paradise where he heard “things not to be told. Things no human can repeat.” Naturally or, rather, supernaturally, this made Paul so ecstatic he might have been in danger of floating away! But then, many churches might have drifted away too. Many letters to Christians might not have been written. To do his work for the Body of Christ on earth, Paul needed to stay grounded. A string could tether him to keep him from floating away like a balloon. Or a pointed reminder could let

Prayer brings death to life

Background: During a severe drought, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Elijah, guiding him to the home of a widow, whom God had commanded to feed the man. After a while, the only son of the widow died, and the woman accused this man of God of bringing trouble upon her house. Elijah did not argue or disagree or defend himself but said: “Give me your son!” And taking the child from her, Elijah carried the boy upstairs to the room where he lived and laid the child on the bed. Then Elijah cried out to the LORD. “O LORD my God, why have you brought ill upon this house by killing the son of this widow who takes care of me?” Then three times, the Prophet felt led to stretch over the child and cry out: “O LORD my God, let this child’s life return to him again!” And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned and revived. And Elijah returned the son to the mother, and said, “See! Your son lives!” And the woman said, “Now I know you

Jesus’ parable on prayer attitudes

Jesus told this parable to show how some people trust their own goodness rather than God from Whom all goodness comes: And Jesus said: Two guys went up to the Temple to pray. One collected and kept all the rules of the law. The other collected taxes. So the Rule-Keeper stood by himself and said: “Thank God, I’m not like the other people in this place! Thank God, I’m not a thief or a scoundrel, and I don’t cheat on my wife. And, oh, thank goodness, I’m not a tax collector like that guy over there! Twice a week, I fast, and I tithe ten-percent of every last penny. Meanwhile, in the back of the Temple, the tax collector stood away from everyone else. Beating his chest, he said: “Oh, God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” And Jesus said: I tell you, that child of God went home justified. For who can be made right with God while lifting themselves above God? But God will exalt anyone who comes humbly in prayer. Prayer: Dear LORD God, we praise and worship and exalt

Jesus’ parable on persistent prayer

Jesus told the parable of the widow and the unjust judge to show how we need to keep on and on, praying and believing in God. Once upon a town there lived a judge who gave God no respect and did not care for people. Once upon that same town lived a widow who kept on and on, coming to the judge to make things right between her and an enemy. At first, the judge did nothing to help, but when the woman kept on coming he thought about it again and said, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about people, maybe I’d better give this person what’s right and just – just to get her to stop pestering me!” And Jesus went on to say: Listen! God will always give what’s right to people who cry to Him day and night! So, no, God won’t be too slow. I tell you, God hurries to help you who believe and yet…. When the Son of Man comes again, will He find faith on the earth? Thought: That last verse has seemed to me to be the most chilling in the Bible: “When the Son of Man comes, w

Bible Prayers, then and now

The prayers recorded in the Bible help us to: form our prayer life in-form our faith re-form or revise our thinking on spiritual matters More importantly, Bible prayers can re-unite the Body of Christ and empower us as we agree in prayer, claiming Holy Scriptures and praying Bible prayers for people, places, and events around the world. Our churches, families, and communities need this prayer power too, and so do we – as individuals facing discouragement or hardships of some kind. So, Lord willing, we’ll resume our search of biblical prayers – from Genesis to Revelation but also as the Holy Spirit leads us into prayers found in the Daily Bible Readings. May God bless us, guide us, and give us the prayers to pray in Jesus’ Name. ©2013, Mary Harwell Sayler ~~