Sunday, April 01, 2007

The prayer of faith

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Samuel 1, 2, 3

I Samuel 1:12-18 (NIV)
12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.” 15 “Not so, my lord, “Hannah replied. “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman. I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” 17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.” 18 She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.

Good morning!

Have you ever bargained with God in prayer? Hannah knew what it was like to keep a lifelong prayer vigil. Her heart’s desire was to bring forth a son, to honor her husband and remove her shame. She wanted a baby to hold, a life to love; a child’s heart to help mold into a heart that God could use. As Hannah prayed in the tabernacle in Shiloh, she promised the Lord if He would help her conceive and bear a son, she would gladly give her gift back to the giver of all life.

Have you ever prayed a prayer for years? Some time ago, I started keeping an intercessory prayer journal. I have experienced life-altering moments in the presence of God as I cry out to Him in prayer. He hears every uttered word, from the ones I shout out, to the silent whispers that float from my mind and become embedded in my heart each morning. There are some prayers that never seem to end. I pray prayers of repentance, prayers for healing, and prayers for His Will, not mine. I ask God for His sweet Holy Spirit to reach out and touch an unsaved soul. I beg Him for His perfect timing when telling the Good News to others. Sometimes there are no human words possible, only the words He gives to me to pray. A prayer journal is a daily reminder of where I’ve been. It reminds me of the needs of others and keeps me focused as I walk along the prayer path. It is a place of rejoicing in answered prayer. I can record praises to God for His miraculous work in the lives of my brothers and sisters. This journal invites me to run into His arms each day, knowing He hears and answers.

I wait. I listen. He speaks.

When Hannah prayed to the Lord that day, she knew that it was impossible for her to conceive without divine intervention. She understood that only the Lord could provide this all-consuming desire of her heart. Sometimes, we get so busy trying to do the work on our own and pushing to make things happen, that we forget to look up and trust the only One who has the power to do it. Hannah knew that her ONLY hope was in the Lord. As she prayed her prayer of petition, the priest noticed her presence and, at first glance, thought Hannah was drunk. There are times when the fire of the Lord makes me a little goofy too. Experiencing His power and presence through the work of His Holy Spirit is unique and precious for each individual. How would you describe your prayer path? How does the Lord speak to your heart?

Yesterday, I witnessed an answer to prayer that had been ongoing for many, many years in the hearts of Missouri United Methodists. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit moving inside the room as we prayed together. Things are changing. God’s timing is perfect and His comfort and strength will sustain us in the difficult work that lies ahead. There is a greater degree of appreciation when we face the adversities that touch our lives, and receive His power to overcome them. I can be truly free, knowing that this is not about me. Every good gift comes from the Lord. I have been placed here to serve Him. He does the work; I have a willing heart. We know that only God can do it! Faith on fire; faith to trust even when we see the work will not be easy; determination to meet the needs of those who cry out for help; and our willingness to let the Lord lead, culminates in a powerful prayer moment. When the priest saw that Hannah’s heart was truly linked to God’s, he invited her to go in peace. And Hannah did just that. She left the tabernacle, trusting in the power of God to answer her prayer. She went about her day, with a smile on her face and an unquenchable joy in her heart.

Do you believe God can answer your prayer? How much do you really trust Him? Are you willing, this morning, to come to the tabernacle and pray your prayer to the Lord in faith? I’ll be waiting for you to come to the altar today at Faith Church.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: faith! Pray like you’ve never prayed before! Do you trust the Lord to meet your need, direct your way, and answer your lifelong prayer? In the name of Jesus, may you experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit as you worship and honor the Lord with your life.
© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding
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