Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pray and inquire of the Lord

'Issac prayed to the Lord..." Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 25:7-34

TO CHEW ON: "Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. … The babies jostled within her and she said, 'Why is this happening to me?' She went to inquire of the Lord." - Genesis 25:21,22 (NIV)

Whatever other dysfunctions were present in Isaac and Rebekah's family, they did one thing right—they prayed and asked God questions about their circumstances. Isaac prayed about the problem of Rebekah's barrenness. After she got pregnant, Rebekah asked God the reason for her difficult pregnancy.

The themes of prayer and asking God about our situations runs through the Bible.

  • Men began to "call on the name of the Lord" early in the biblical story (Genesis 4:26).
  • In the Old Testament, Moses was the person the people went to when they wanted to hear from God (Exodus 18:16; 33:7).
  • God had Moses make a special piece of priest's vestments—the Uri and Thummim. It was worn over the High Priest's chest and was a way that God communicated His will to the priest for the people (Exodus 28:30,31; Numbers 27:21).
  • After Moses and Aaron died, the people were to inquire of God through the current priests and judges (Deuteronomy 17:9).
  • David spoke often of praying to God and asking Him questions directly (Psalm 5:3; 55:17).
  • In the New Testament we read of believers who added fasting and almsgiving to their prayer practice (Luke 2:37).
  • Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns during their incarceration in a Philippian jail (Acts 16:25).
  • Paul tells his readers to pray and about everything (Philippians 4:6,7).

And so we can take Issac, Rebekah's, David's and Paul's example and bring our deepest, most private, heartfelt requests to God. We might want to include some of the practices we see here:
- Ask leaders and spiritual mentors to pray for us, and take direction from them.

- Include other spiritual disciplines in our prayers, like fasting and giving, not to manipulate God but to become more spiritually attuned to His voice and ways.

- Add songs of praise to our prayers.

- Pray about everything—family, work, health, the neighbours, our city, our leaders, national and international events…

- I found one verse in this little survey, however, that gave me pause. God warned Ezekiel about two-faced requesters—people who inquired of God while at the same time setting up idols in their hearts (Ezekiel 14:7). That can be a warning too, to seek God with single-hearted integrity.

Dear  God, thank You for being interested in the minutiae of my life. Help me to remember to bring my problems to You first before seeking any other solution. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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