THE RIGHT WAY TO PRAY Andy Hollifield 2-1-19
Job 42:10 And the Lord turned again the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Have you ever been in a situation where you just didn’t know the right way to pray? Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6. He told them to pray in secret and get alone with God. He even told them to shut the door and when they prayed to the Father in secret, he would see in secret and reward them openly. He also told them not to be repetitive. He said they didn’t need vain repetitions because that was how heathen prayed. He also told them God already knew what they needed.
One of the prayers I have always been very impressed with in the bible, is the story of Hannah. It seems like we do our best, most sincere, praying when we are in the hardest situations. Hannah is described as being in bitterness of soul. That is a hard place to pray. She had a problem that she needed an answer to and needed it bad. She had not been able to bear any sons for her husband. She was so distraught that she couldn’t even eat. Her husband’s other wife, was always using her lack of children to beat her down. Have you ever been in the place where all you could do was cry to the Lord and couldn’t make the words come out? That is bitterness of soul. Hannah got to the point where she just prayed and told God what she wanted and what she was willing to do to get it. She didn’t make a deal with God, she made a vow to him. When you get serious about what you are praying, you will be willing to do whatever is necessary to get the answer from God. She got her answer that night and nine months later Samuel was born. She kept her vow to the Lord and Israel was blessed with arguably their greatest prophet ever.
The story of Elijah’s 63 word prayer has been written about numerous times. At the end of the drought, Elijah was so intent on advancing the name of the Lord, that he even stacked the deck against himself so to speak. Already outnumbered more than 400 to one, when the false god Baal couldn’t deliver fire, Samuel soaked down the altar and the sacrifices and prayed his prayer. He accomplished more in just a few minutes than the false prophets had accomplished in a whole day of trying. They even cut themselves calling upon their god and still no answer. When Elijah prayed, not only was the wet sacrifice consumed by fire, but also the entire altar and the stones around the altar. Even though Elijah’s story took a dramatic turn within the next 24 hours, he was able to do what he needed to do for a witness and God was honored and everyone knew that Elijah’s God was the one true God.
Job 42 contains one of the most unselfish acts of prayer that has ever been. This chapter speaks about Job’s friends telling lies on God and not speaking the truth to Job. God’s anger was kindled against the three friends and the only thing that prevented wrath from coming was the fact that Job prayed for his friends. They had to offer sacrifices and then get the very man they had been judging to pray for them. The beautiful part is that when Job prayed for them, God provided forgiveness to them and prospered Job by giving him twice as much as he had before, including children.
We know that 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing.” James 5:16 says, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” I am convinced that when you pray for others before you pray for yourself, you are displaying the same sentiments as these I have mentioned. They got results even though they weren’t praying for their own benefit. Hannah got a son that she had promised to give back to the Lord after he was weaned. She had the reproach of her name removed but had no benefit as Samuel’s mom. She didn’t even get to raise him. She did however have five more children after Samuel. Elijah’s only benefit to himself was that he had now angered the queen after the death of her prophets. She swore to have him killed within 24 hours. The upside was the destruction of the false prophets and the glory brought to God’s name. Job went through an extended period of suffering so you would have to say that he didn’t benefit by his prayers. His friends escaped the judgment of God because Job prayed for them. Unknown to him at the time, Job was also going to receive personal benefits in the form of the blessings God gave him after he had prayed for his friends.
What is the right way to pray? I don’t know but I am sure that when we esteem our brother higher than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), it not only blesses them but in turn, God blesses us when we pray for others. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!