1 Samuel 1:1–18, Luke 18:1–8, Matthew 6:5–15
“…The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.”—James 5:16
As a gift, prayer is probably second only to salvation and reconciliation. The ability to talk to the Creator of the universe. The God who calls us children.
Prayer can take many forms. While there may not be as many forms as there are people, there are still many forms which can be done in many combinations. Prayer is also changing. Prayer doesn’t just change us, but through our lives, our prayers change and how we pray changes.
Hannah was thought to be drunk. However, her heartache was so acute that words failed her. In a culture where prayers were spoken aloud (especially in public at the Tabernacle), someone praying quietly (or silently) was abnormal, and (as Eli displayed) not particularly trusted. Hannah’s prayer was effective, however, along with even Eli’s blessing. The boy who came of it, Samuel, was the spiritual leader of Israel for many years.
Hannah shows the heart’s prayer. Jesu talked about persistent prayer. Regardless, for example, of what you think of him now, Franklin Graham (the son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham) ran away from the faith of his father. He was the prodigal son. Ruth Graham (the wife of Billy Graham) was persistent in prayer for her son, Franklin. After many years, Franklin returned to the faith. She, like the widow in Jesus’ story, was persistent. However, unlike the unrighteous judge in the story, our prayers are heard by the righteous God. Ruth Graham incorporated her prayers for her son in her daily devotionals.
Who says which form (devotionals or a poured out heart at a single annual festival) is better? There are many Christians who look to Jesus’ words and draw huge generalizations that Jesus does not make. For example, the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” has been used for years. People condemn it as babble because it is used in repetition. However, these same people often use the Lord’s Prayer (a mere 2 verses later) as memorized prayer without meditating on the actual words and meaning. Which is right?
1) What are your preferred methods to pray? Why do you think that is?
2) Have you ever tried to pray a different way? Why? What was the spiritual difference?
3) How is your prayer life?