In this hour and season, there is a call to pray for Ukraine. Be part of this movement to pray for peace in Ukraine. Lord, we call forth, in the name of Jesus, for a ceasefire in Ukraine. Protect and cover Ukraine, the President of Ukraine, and all Ukrainians with Your precious blood. Send Your Holy Angels to fight the battle against evil forces. We pray Psalm 91 over Ukraine, the President of Ukraine, and all Ukrainians, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Psalm 91 (KJV) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Jesus in Luke 10:2 (CSB) said: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
On other Bible translations, the word “pray” was “ask” and “beseech”. Beseech has a stronger meaning: begging, imploring fervently and with urgency.
There is indeed an urgency for the Gospel to reach people of all walks of life and in all parts of the world. According to https://www1.cbn.com/ChurchWatch/archive/2008/09/10/23rds-of-the-worlds-people-dont-know-jesus-praying-through: Statistics showed that 2/3 of the world population don’t even know who Jesus is. Billions of people have never heard of the Gospel, specially in 10/40 Window areas. For more statistics, visit the Joshua Project at: https://joshuaproject.net/
Even though some of us are not able to go to these 10/40 Window areas, Luke 10:2 encourages us to pray, to beseech that the Lord will send out laborers to these hard-reached areas to spread the Good News.
Steering our focus back to domestic soil, how many people do you know that have not received Jesus as their Lord and Savior? How many people in your vicinity have never heard of the Gospel before? Many think that because people live in countries that are predominantly believing in the Christian faith, that all these people know about Jesus. But that is far from the truth. Even in the US, there are people who have never heard of Jesus. I have a story that Megan (not her real name) approached someone who came from Vietnam and asked if he would like to know Jesus. The response was, “Who is Jesus?” Megan was a bit surprised and queried, “You don’t know Jesus?” “No,” said the Vietnamese man. Megan learned quickly that not everyone in the US knows who Jesus is. Megan proceeded to tell the man about Jesus. The lesson here is that one should not assume everyone in the US knows about Jesus or who Jesus is.
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. What should we do about it? Pray, pray, pray. Pray that people you know, loved ones, friends, acquaintances, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, etc. who have not received Jesus as their Lord and Savior will receive Jesus into their lives. The key is to pray, to beseech for the harvest to be sown so that there will be a reaping of souls into the Kingdom of God.
Father in Heaven, we beseech You to send Your laborers into the field and to preach the Gospel. Help us to pray for our loved ones, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, etc. to come to know and received Jesus as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
3 key points on 2 Chronicles 7:14 on praying:
1. Humble ourselves.
Humility is defined, according to Christian Bible Reference Site (https://www.christianbiblereference.org/humility.htm), “a quality of being courteously respectful of others. It is the opposite of aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and vanity. Rather than, “Me first,” humility allows us to say, “No, you first, my friend.” Humility is the quality that lets us go more than halfway to meet the needs and demands of others.”
The word “humility” has some people thinking that to be humble, we must let others step all over us. We must be a doormat that will just let others do whatever they want with us. We must be so meek and regard ourselves so lowly that we accept anything when others abuse or demean us. That is far from the truth of what humility is. To be humble, according to the Bible, is to regard others as more important than us. And when we do so, God will lift us up. God will show us favor when we are humble. And when we pray, we need to come before God in humility, exalting His Name above all names. John the Baptist in Luke 3:16 exhibited great humility when he said, “I baptize you with water, but One more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” In Luke 3:16, John is referring to Jesus, whose sandals he is not worthy to untie. John had utmost respect for Jesus. He allowed Jesus to be on the center stage and be exalted instead of him. That is humility. And that is the spirit that God wants us to be in when we come before Him.
2. Pray and seek God’s face.
To seek God’s face is to be intentional and genuine in going after Him and sensing His Presence. It is looking into His beloved eyes so warm and full of love.
John Piper’s August 19, 2009 article titled “What Does It Mean to Seek the Lord?” (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-does-it-mean-to-seek-the-lord) wrote: “Seeking the Lord means seeking his presence. “Presence” is a common translation of the Hebrew word “face.” Literally, we are to seek his “face.” But this is the Hebraic way of having access to God. To be before his face is to be in his presence.”
How can we seek God’s face? By praying and communing with God. By reading the Holy Bible and allowing God to speak to us through His Word. If we need answers to life issues, pray and read the Holy Bible. Seek His face and He will hear our prayers.
3. Turn from wicked ways.
Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.”
Stay far away from evil. Do not go near evil or participate with the wicked to do bad things. And if you had done something wrong, pray and ask God to forgive you. Be sincere in your prayers to seek God’s forgiveness for your sins. Not only will God forgive you, He will also remember your sins no more. That is so awesome.
Psalm 103:8-12 (NIV) “The Lord is compassionate and gracious,slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
In summary, for God to hear our prayers, we need to be humble, pray and seek His face and turn away from evil. And the last part of 2 Chronicles 7:14 said that God will hear from heaven, and He will forgive our sin and will heal our land. Amen.
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of Yahweh, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler,
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
Under his wings you will take refuge.
His faithfulness is your shield and rampart.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
nor of the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
and ten thousand at your right hand;
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes,
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made Yahweh your refuge,
and the Most High your dwelling place,
10 no evil shall happen to you,
neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
11 For he will put his angels in charge of you,
to guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
so that you won’t dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and cobra.
You will trample the young lion and the serpent underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love on me, therefore I will deliver him.
I will set him on high, because he has known my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in trouble.
I will deliver him, and honor him.
16 I will satisfy him with long life,
and show him my salvation.” (WEB)
1 Praise the LORD, my soul, and all that is within me, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and do not forget all his benefits;
3 who forgives all your sins; who heals all your diseases;
4 who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies;
5 who satisfies your desire with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD executes righteous acts, and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the children of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness.
9 He will not always accuse; neither will he stay angry forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor repaid us for our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his loving kindness toward those who fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
14 For he knows how we are made. He remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass. As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But the LORD’s loving kindness is from everlasting to everlasting with those who fear him, his righteousness to children’s children;
18 to those who keep his covenant, to those who remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens. His kingdom rules over all.
20Praise the LORD, all you angels of his, who are mighty in strength, who fulfill his word, obeying the voice of his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all you armies of his, you servants of his, who do his pleasure.
22 Praise the LORD, all you works of his, in all places of his dominion. Praise the LORD, my soul.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (WEB): Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.
According to KJV with Strong’s Concordance, the transliteration of proseuchomai (pronounced: pros-yoo’-khom-ahee) used as a verb is to “pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship:–pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer.” Ceasing is adialeiptwoj (pronounced: ad-ee-al-ipe’-toce) used as an adverb is ” uninterruptedly, i.e. without omission (on an appropriate occasion):–without ceasing.”
So, putting together the words: Pray without ceasing, what does that mean? Do we literally pray without interruption? How could that possibly happen with all the things going on with our life? You know what I mean….working 8 hours or more a day, taking care of children, running errands and the list goes on and on.
As I read through some sermons and teachings, some claimed that one cannot possibly pray continually and that the verse merely indicates that we pray intermittently all throughout the day. That being said, then it is possible that we can pray without ceasing.
I have my own thoughts on this matter and it may be right or it may be wrong. But I think it is definitely possible to pray without ceasing. Let’s take a look at Romans 8:26-27 (NIV): “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” From these verses, I believe the Spirit in us prays and intercedes for us day and night, night and day, 24 hours a day. And isn’t that praying without ceasing when the Spirit in us prays continually?
I know some of you may agree with me and some of you may disagree with me. That is all right. The important thing is what God is revealing to you regarding the Scripture “Pray without ceasing”. Please take this time to pray to God for His revelation.
(KJV with Strong’s Concordance Source: http://www.godrules.net/library/kjvstrongs/kjvstrongs1the5.htm)
The Holy Spirit will give to the praying saint the brightness of an immortal hope, the music of a deathless song, in His baptism and communion with the heart, He will give sweeter and more enlarged visions of heaven until the taste for other things will pall, and other visions will grow dim and distant. He will put notes of other worlds in human hearts until all earth’s music is discord and songless.—Rev. E. M. Bounds
Old Testament history is filled with accounts of praying saints. The leaders of Israel in those early days were noted for their praying habits. Prayer is the one thing which stands out prominently in their lives.
To begin with, note the incident in Joshua 10, where the very heavenly bodies were made subject to prayer. A prolonged battle was on between the Israelites and their enemies, and when night was rapidly coming on, and it was discovered that a few more hours of daylight were needful to ensure victory for the Lord’s hosts, Joshua, that sturdy man of God, stepped into the breach, with prayer. The sun was too rapidly declining in the west for God’s people to reap the full fruits of a noted victory, and Joshua, seeing how much depended upon the occasion, cried out in the sight and in the hearing of Israel, “Sun, stand thou still upon Gideon, and thou moon in the Valley of Ajalon.” And the sun actually stood still and the moon stopped on her course at the command of this praying man of God, till the Lord’s people had avenged themselves upon the Lord’s enemies.
Jacob was not a strict pattern of righteousness, prior to his all-night praying. Yet he was a man of prayer and believed in the God of prayer. So we find him swift to call upon God in prayer when he was in trouble. He was fleeing from home fearing Esau, on his way to the home of Laban, a kinsman. As night came on, he lighted on a certain place to refresh himself with sleep, and as he slept he had a wonderful dream in which he saw the angels of God ascending and descending on a ladder which stretched from earth to heaven. It was no wonder when he awoke he was constrained to exclaim, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not.”
Then it was he entered into a very definite covenant with Almighty God, and in prayer vowed a vow unto the Lord, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; and shall the Lord be my God, and this stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God’s house; and of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give one-tenth unto thee.”
With a deep sense of his utter dependence upon God, and desiring above all the help of God, Jacob conditioned his prayer for protection, blessing and guidance by a solemn vow. Thus Jacob supported his prayer to God by a vow.
Twenty years had passed while Jacob tarried at the house of Laban, and he had married two of his daughters and God had given him children. He had increased largely in wealth, and he resolved to leave that place and return home to where he had been reared. Nearing home it occurred to him that he must meet his brother Esau, whose anger had not abated notwithstanding the passage of many years. God, however, had said to him, “Return to thy father’s house and to thy kindred, and I will be with thee.” In this dire emergency doubtless God’s promise and his vow made long ago came to his mind, and he took himself to an all-night season of prayer. Here comes to our notice that strange, inexplicable incident of the angel struggling with Jacob all night long, till Jacob at last obtained the victory. “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” And then and there, in answer to his earnest, pressing and importunate praying, he was richly blessed personally and his name was changed. But even more than that, God went ahead of Jacob’s desire, and strangely moved upon the angry nature of Esau, and lo and behold, when Jacob met him next day, Esau’s anger had entirely abated, and he vied with Jacob in showing kindness to his brother who had wronged him. No explanation of this remarkable change in the heart of Esau is satisfactory which leaves out prayer.
Samuel, the mighty intercessor in Israel and a man of God, was the product of his mother’s prayer. Hannah is a memorable example of the nature and benefits of importunate praying. No son had been born to her and she yearned for a man child. Her whole soul was in her desire. So she went to the house of worship, where Eli, the priest of God, was, and staggering under the weight of which bore down on her heart she was beside herself and seemed to be really intoxicated. Her desires were too intense for articulation. “She poured out her soul in prayer before the Lord.” Insuperable natural difficulties were in the way, but she “multiplied her praying,” as the passage means, till her God-lightened heart and her bright face recorded the answer to her prayers, and Samuel was hers by a conscious faith and a nation was restored by faith.
Samuel was born in answer to the vowful prayer of Hannah, for the solemn covenant which she made with God if He would grant her request must not be left out of the account in investigating this incident of a praying woman and the answer she received. It is suggestive in James 5:15 that “The prayer of faith shall save the sick,” the word translated means a vow. So that prayer in its highest form of faith is that prayer which carries the whole man as a sacrificial offering. Thus devoting the whole man himself, and his all, to God in a definite, intelligent vow, never to be broken, in a quenchless and impassioned desire for heaven—such an attitude of self-devotement to God mightily helps praying. Samson is somewhat of a paradox when we examine his religious character. But amid all his faults, which were grave in the extreme, he knew the God who hears prayer and he knew how to talk to God.
No farness to which Israel had gone, no depth to which Israel had fallen, no chains however iron with which Israel was bound but that their cry to God easily spanned the distance, fathomed the depths, and broke the chains. It was the lesson they were ever learning and always forgetting, that prayer always brought God to their deliverance, and that there was nothing too hard for God to do for His people. We find all of God’s saints in straits at different times in some way or another. Their straits are, however, often the heralds of their great triumphs. But for whatever cause their straits come, or of what kind soever, there is no strait of any degree of direness or from any source whatsoever of any nature whatsoever, from which prayer could not extricate them. The great strength of Samson does not relieve him nor extricate him out of his straits. Read what the Scriptures say:
“And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
“And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
“And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
“And it came to pass when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramath-Lehi.
“And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant, and now shall I die of thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?
“But God clave a hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again and he revived.”
We have another incident in the case of this strange Old Testament character, showing how, when in great straits, their minds involuntarily turned to God in prayer. However irregular in life they were, however far from God they departed, however sinful they might be when trouble came upon these men, they invariably called upon God for deliverance, and, as a rule, when they repented God heard their cries and granted their requests. This incident comes at the close of Samson’s life, and shows us how his life ended.
Read the record as found in Judges 16. Samson had formed an alliance with Delilah, a heathen woman, and she, in connivance with the Philistines, sought to discover the source of his immense strength. Three successive times she failed, and at last by her persistence and womanly arts persuaded Samson to divulge to her the wonderful secret. So in an unsuspecting hour he disclosed to her the fact that the source of his strength was in his hair which had never been cut; and she deprived him of his great physical power by cutting off his hair. She called for the Philistines, and they came and put out his eyes and otherwise mistreated him.
On an occasion when the Philistines were gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon, their idol god, they called for Samson to make sport for them. And the following is the account as he stood there presumably the laughing-stock of these enemies of his and of God.
“And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them.
“Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.
“And Samson called unto the Lord and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, my God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand and of the other with his left.
“And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might, and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were there within. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”
Jonah, the man who prayed in the fish’s belly, brings to view another remarkable instance of these Old Testament worthies who were given to prayer. This man Jonah, a prophet of the Lord, was a fugitive from God and from the place of duty. He had been sent on a mission of, warning to wicked Nineveh, and had been commanded to cry out against them, “for their wickedness is come up before me,” said God. But Jonah, through fear or otherwise, declined to obey God, and took passage on a ship for Tarshish, fleeing from God. He seems to have overlooked the plain fact that the same God who had sent him on that alarming mission had His eye upon him as he hid himself on board that vessel. A storm arose as the vessel was on its way to Tarshish, and it was decided to throw Jonah overboard in order to appease God and to avert the destruction of the boat and of all on board. But God was there as He had been with Jonah from the beginning. He had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, in order to arrest him, to defeat him in his flight from the post of duty, and to save Jonah that he might help to carry out the purposes of God.
It was Jonah who was in the fish’s belly, in that great strait, and passing through a strange experience, who called upon God, who heard him and caused the fish to vomit him out on dry land. What possible force could rescue him from this fearful place? He seemed hopelessly lost, in “the belly of hell,” as good as dead and damned. But he prays—what else can he do? And this is just what he had been accustomed to do when in trouble before.
“I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardst my voice.”
And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
Like others he joined prayer to a vow he had made, for he says in his prayer, “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”
Prayer was the mighty force which brought Jonah from “the belly of hell.” Prayer, mighty prayer, has secured the end. Prayer brought God to the rescue of unfaithful Jonah, despite his sin of fleeing from duty, and God could not deny his prayer. Nothing is too hard for prayer because nothing is too hard for God.
That answered prayer of Jonah in the fish’s belly in its mighty results became an Old Testament type of the miraculous power displayed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our Lord puts His seal of truth upon the fact of Jonah’s prayer and resurrection.
Nothing can be simpler than these cases of God’s mighty deliverance. Nothing is plainer than that prayer has to do with God directly and simply. Nothing is clearer than that prayer has its only worth and significance in the great fact that God hears and answers prayer. This the Old Testament saints strongly believed. It is the one fact that stands out continuously and prominently in their lives. They were essentially men of prayer.
How greatly we need a school to teach the art of praying! This simplest of all arts and mightiest of all forces is ever in danger of being forgotten or depraved. The further we get away from our mother’s knees, the further do we get away from the true art of praying. All our after-schooling and our after-teachers unteach us the lessons of prayer. Men prayed well in Old Testament times because they were simple men and lived in simple times. They were childlike, lived in childlike times and had childlike faith.
In citing the Old Testament saints noted for their praying habits, by no means must David be overlooked, a man who preeminently was a man of prayer. With him prayer was a habit, for we hear him say, “Evening and morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud.” Prayer with the Sweet Psalmist of Israel was no strange occupation. He knew the way to God and was often found in that way. It is no wonder we hear his call so dear and impressive, “O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” He knew God as the one being who could answer prayer: “O thou that hearest prayer, to thee shall all flesh come.”
When God smote the child born of Bathsheba, because David had by his grievous sins given occasion of the enemies of God to blaspheme, it is no surprise that we find him engaged in a week’s prayer, asking God for the life of the child. The habit of his life asserted itself in this great emergency in his home, and we find him fasting and praying for the child to recover. The fact that God denied his request does not at all affect the question of David’s habit of praying. Even though he did not receive what he asked for, his faith in God was not in the least affected. The fact is that while God did not give him the life of that baby boy, He afterward gave him another son, even Solomon. So that possibly the latter son was a far great blessing to him than would have been the child for whom he prayed.
In close connection with this season of prayer, we must not overlook David’s penitential praying when Nathan, by command of God, uncovered David’s two great sins of adultery and murder. At once David acknowledged his wickedness, saying unto Nathan, “I have sinned.” And as showing his deep grief over his sin, his heart-broken spirit, and his genuine repentance, it is only necessary to read Psalm 51 where confession of sin, deep humiliation and prayer are the chief ingredients of the Psalm.
David knew where to find a sin-pardoning God, and was received back again and had the joys of salvation restored to him by earnest, sincere, penitential praying. Thus are all sinners brought into the divine favor, thus do they find pardon, and thus do they find a new heart.
The entire Book of Psalms brings prayer to the front, and prayer fairly bristles before our eyes as we read this devotional book of the Scriptures.
Nor must even Solomon be overlooked in the famous catalogue of men who prayed in Old Testament times. Whatever their faults, they did not forget the God who hears prayer nor did they cease to seek the God of prayer. While this wise man in his later life departed from God, and his sun set under a cloud, we find him praying at the commencement of his reign.
Solomon went to Gibeon to offer sacrifice, which always meant that prayer went in close companionship with sacrifice, and while there, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a vision by night, saying unto him, “Ask what I shall give thee.” The sequel shows the material out of which Solomon’s character was formed. What was his request?
“O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of my father; and I am but a little child; I know not how to go out or to come in.
“And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”
We do not wonder that it is recorded as a result of such praying:
“And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
“And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thy enemies, but has asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
“Behold I have done according to thy word; Lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
“Also I have given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor; so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.”
What praying was this! What self-deprecation and simplicity! “I am but a little child.” How he specified the one thing needful! And see how much more he received than that for which he asked!
Take the remarkable prayer at the dedication of the temple. Possibly this is the longest recorded prayer in God’s Word. How comprehensive, pointed, intensive, it is! Solomon could not afford to lay the foundations of God’s house in anything else but in prayer. And God heard this prayer as he heard him before, “And when Solomon had made an end of his praying, the fire came down from heaven, and the glory of the Lord filled the house,” thus God attested the acceptance of this house of worship and of Solomon, the praying king.
The list of these Old Testament saints given to prayer grows as we proceed, and is too long to notice at length all of them. But the name of Isaiah, the great evangelical prophet, and that of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, must not be left out of the account. Still others might be mentioned. These are sufficient, and with their names we may close the list. Let careful readers of the Old Scriptures keep the prayer question in mind, and they will see how great a place prayer occupied in the minds and lives of the men of those early days.
—Rev. E. M. Bounds
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NIV)
From Wikipedia: Jabez: “The name is Hebrew (yabetz = יַעְבֵּץ) for “he makes sorrowful”; his mother stated “I gave birth to him in pain”.Jabez was labelled with “sorrow” at birth, but his prayer against contracting sorrow nullified the label. His life contradicted his name.”
What a story! Even though Jabez was named and labelled as “sorrow” and “painful”, he overcame all that name-calling and was crowned as an honorable man. How did he do it? What was his secret? 1 Chronicles 4:10 answered the questions. It said: Jabez cried out to the God of Israel. Notice that Jabez did not timidly ask the Lord, but he cried out to the Lord. Several Bible translations noted that Jabez “called on the God of Israel.” And God answered his request.
Looking at the prayer of Jabez, there are several things we can learn from it:
- We don’t have to succumb to the negative things other people call us or say about us. We can overcome that by calling on the name of the Lord.
- When facing difficulties, cry out to the Lord and He will always hear you.
- Ask the Lord for blessings.
- Ask the Lord for help with difficult situations.
- Convert the negative to positive. Jabez illustrated this by asking the Lord to enlarge his territory. We can certainly ask the Lord to enlarge our territory, too.
- Trust the Lord to grant you your request. God always has a way of doing so. Sometimes it may not be the way we wanted Him to answer our request. But I can guarantee you that God hears every single one of our cries and prayers.
In summary, cry out to the Lord, “Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory!”