When God’s Yes Means Great Sorrow…and Longing

lightstock_63345_full_mikelThe Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” 1 Samuel 8:22

Make no mistake, the people’s desire for a king was a rejection of God’s leadership, and yet God told Samuel to obey their voice. God did not acquiesce because having a sinful earthly king was a brilliant idea; it was not! God, allowed Samuel to obey their voice because providentially it would lead to great sorrow and ultimately a longing for a purely noble and righteous king. He said “yes” to their request because it would point to their desperate need for an infinitely better king that would be fulfilled in Jesus.

Sometimes when God says “yes” to our persistent requests, he does so only so he can show us what (or who) we really need, it’s just that sometimes we have to see it through great sorrow that leads to longing. (Kind of like the Prodigal Son.)


Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 1 (day six)

lightstock_189116_medium_mikel“…and the Lord remembered her.” 1 Samuel 1:19

It can be hard to conceive of how God can hear the pleas of his people from all over the world. This verse gives us a clue. God is an active listener, not passive. This means we pray to a person. Infinite, eternal, bigger-than-the universe, beyond-comprehension, holy, yes, but nonetheless, personal and close. We don’t pray to an aloof supercomputer.

Why does this matter? Because it serves as a good reminder to never be indifferent to prayer, because God isn’t. We have a God who is there. A God who listens. A God who remembers.


Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 1 (day three)

“O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me…”  Is it wrong to haggle with God?  Would we even consider an “if-you-do-this-I’ll-do-that” arrangement?   Have we decided to place ourselves above such dealings?  Do we believe it would even make any difference?  It’s interesting to consider that from the Old Testament to the New Testament, from people to demons and back to people, such conversations with the Lord have been common: Abraham, Moses, Hannah, David, Legion (!), Peter, Paul.  Maybe we would see the power of God more if we would tell him what we want.  That’s not the same as demanding what we want.  Even the demons knew that.  God will take care of his own responses to us.  Just speak to him.

Real prayer

Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 1 (day one) 

“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.”–v 15.

“When we work, we work.  When we pray, God works.”–Hudson Taylor.

Not all prayers are equal.  Hannah’s experience proves it.  “Saying your prayers” and “pouring your heart out to the Lord” are very different experiences.  Somehow, and this by the grace of God, we reach the end of our own strength, inhibitions are cast aside and real prayer begins.

James 5:16-18 describes a similar moment.  “The energized (energeo) prayer of a righteous man accomplishes (energeo) much!  Elijah was a man just like us but he prayed (proseuchomai) with prayer (proseuche) and the Lord answered him!”  He prayed with prayer!  (really prayed)

Prayer does not equip for a greater work–prayer is the greater work.–Oswald Chambers.

God’s goal for us is real prayer.  Like Hannah.  Like Elijah.


Re:Verse reading–Romans 8:18-39 (day six)

Paul writes something mysterious and incredible to the Romans. He writes, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness,…the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Have you ever given that much thought? It is a marvelous one! Now I don’t know all that this verse means, but there are a few things I do know. The Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t know how to pray. This means, not only does the Holy Spirit know the nitty gritty of our life, but He is actively doing something about it. When we are at a loss, the Holy Spirit is not-He intercedes! That is incredible news!

You know those times when you are done? You can’t endure anymore; you’re spent, and yet you seem to make it through? Well now you know the reason why; the Holy Spirit pulls you through! Maybe you should give Him thanks! It’s okay, go ahead and praise Him for His intercession!


Re: Verse reading–Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (day five)

Hello from Youth Camp at LeTourneau University.  Our theme for the next two weeks is “Rhythm”.  Galatians 5:25 “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”  One of the truths we want our students to understand is that Life in the Spirit is best accomplished with regular and consistent attention and determination.  There is a rhythm needed to keep “in step with the Spirit”.   Worship, Bible Study, Meeting with Other Believers, Prayer, Devotions, and Service are means to a fullness of Life in the Spirit.  The goal for camp is to NOT be a once a year spiritual vaccination to keep us “spiritually healthy”, but rather a reminder that throughout each day and week, that we can and should be regularly and intentionally engaged in activities, conversations, learning, study, and relationships that would point us to the Scriptures and the Author of our Faith.  This same principle is mentioned as a prompt and prescription for parents and those who have influence in the lives of children and teens to bring Rhythm to faith growth and development. See Deuteronomy 6:7-9.

The Prayer of Moses

Re: Verse reading–Exodus 32:1-19, 30-33; 33:12-17; 34:1-7 (day six)

After reading Moses’ conversations with God this week, it made me consider my own. Moses was clearly bold, passionate, and persuasive; it was as if he were arguing with his best friend. I believe there is much to learn from these conversations between Moses and God. As I reflect on my own prayer life, it begs a few questions:

Is my prayer life bold? Are my prayers filled with meaningless repetitive phrases, or am I having real and regular conversations with God? Do I pray believing that He has the power to act on my behalf and on the behalf of others? Do I remind God of His promises? Do I pray knowing that only God can save? Do I pray as if it really matters that I pray at all?

The Bible describes Moses’ conversations with God as “face to face.” This paints a beautiful yet fearful picture of their relationship. Moses boldly spoke with the Creator, believing that He alone had the power and the will to shape his destiny and that of His people. Perhaps, even more awesome is that God invites us to do the same. He calls us to “boldly approach His throne of grace.” (Hebrews 4:16) He invites us to have real and meaningful conversations that have consequence, that matter!

Father, teacher us to pray like Moses!