June: Pray-er from the Past, Abraham

Posted in This Month's Focus | 0 comments

June: Pray-er from the Past, Abraham

Our monthly focus for this next year will be a study each month on Old Testament pray-ers and truths we can learn from their prayers.

I recently read the following entitled ‘The Common Prayer’ written in 1873 by the popular evangelist and publisher, Dwight L. Moody:

Those who have left the deepest impression on this sin-cursed earth have been men and women of prayer.  You will find that ‘prayer’ has been the mighty power that has moved not only God, but man. 

  • Abraham was a man of prayer, and angels came down from heaven to converse with him.
  • Jacob’s prayer was answered in the wonderful interview at Peniel that resulted in his having a mighty blessing and in softening the heart of his brother, Esau.
  • The child Samuel was given in answer to Hannah’s prayer.
  • Elijah’s prayer closed up the heavens for three years and six months, and he prayed again and the heavens gave rain.  The apostle James tells us that the prophet Elijah was a man ‘subject to like passions as we are.’

I am thankful that those men and women who were so mighty in prayer were just like ourselves.  We are apt to think that those prophets and mighty men and women of old time were different than what we are.  To be sure they lived in a darker age, but they were of like passions with ourselves.’           

Abraham – if we were to describe Abraham, it would be faith in action.  He is described in Hebrews 11 as a man of faith – a man who trusted and obeyed God.   He was a man who pleased God because we read in Hebrews 11:6 that ‘without faith it is impossible to please God’.  Abraham wasn’t perfect, but his faith certainly matured as God placed him in challenging situations.   Because Abraham believed God, he is called the ‘friend of God’ in 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, and James 2:23Friends communicate and share their hearts with each other.  As God’s friend, Abraham listened to God and God heard and listened to Abraham.

What can we learn from the prayers of Abraham?

  • Build an altar before calling on God (Genesis 12:7-8; Genesis 13:4, 18) – In these verses we read that ‘Abraham built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord’.  Altars represent a place of sacrifice – an offering of worship to something or someone.  Each time Abraham built an altar to the Lord and prayed, it was the result of him being obedient to listen to God and go (Genesis 12) or as a result of returning to the place God had called him (Genesis 13).  Abraham recognized Who was blessing him with promises and provisions and that he must built an altar each time as he worshiped and prayed.   Today we are to ‘present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God’ (Romans 12:1); we are to ‘offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually…giving thanks to His name’ (Hebrews 13:15); before offering our prayer to God, we must be sure our hearts are right with others ‘as we reconcile ourselves with our brother’ (Matthew 5:24).  The sacrifice of ourselves on the altar before God must be one of total surrender where nothing is hidden and we recognize that ‘Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2).
  • Patience as we wait and trust God’s timing (Genesis 15) – God had promised Abraham that He ‘would make of him a great nation (Genesis 12:2) and that ‘his seed would be as the dust of the earth’ (Genesis 13:16), but 25 years later after receiving the promise of becoming a father of many, we read in Genesis 15 where Abraham is reminding God that ‘he is childless and that God had given him no seed’.   Abraham has become discouraged and impatient as he is waiting on God, but as soon as Abraham brings his concern to God, he is answered again by God with the promise that he would have children of his own and that ‘his seed would be as the number of the stars’ (Genesis 15:5).  Abraham‘s response was that ‘he believed in the Lord and God counted it to him for righteousness’ (Genesis 15:6).  Of course, we all know that Abraham and Sarah still had a time of impatience for waiting on God and took things into their own hands; BUT at the perfect time chosen by God they were blessed with a son, Isaac, in their old age (proving it was God and not them Who provided).   We can trust God to keep His promises – His way and in His time.   God’s delay in answering our prayers doesn’t mean He isn’t hearing us – if His Spirit is still calling us to pray for something, He wants us to trust His promises and WAIT on Him.  We have the promise that ‘those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength’ (Isaiah 40:31).
  • Boldly come before the throne of God (Genesis 18, 19) – In this scripture, we read that Abraham carries on a conversation with God because of his concern for his nephew, Lot, and God’s pending judgment on Sodom and Gomorra.  Abraham talks honestly – at the same time humbly – about his concerns and asks God questions about sparing the city if there were as many as 50 and as few as 10 righteous men found there.  Abraham had experienced the mercy of God during times of his own personal failures and was interceding on the behalf of others for God to spare the city.  This concern caused Abraham to boldly talk with God – asking for mercy on behalf of others and listening to hear what God had to say in response to his questions.  Abraham talked to God as a friend – heart to heart.  God has shown His mercy and grace to each of us by giving us access to Him through His Son, and because of this ‘we can come boldly before His throne of grace and find grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16)  – our need and the needs of others.
  • Model a praying life for others (Genesis 24) – Abraham must have been a great example of one who lived a praying life in his daily walk.  We have the story of Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, being given the task of finding a bride for Abraham’s son, Isaac.  As Eliezer began his journey, he prayed for success and specifically for the way so he would know God would show him the one He had chosen to be Isaac’s bride.  Just as Abraham talked with God in conversation, his servant talked in much the same way – with expectation of an answer from God.   Christ is our perfect example of one who lived a praying life – may we follow His example so others will know how to pray.

As Abraham grew in His relationship with God, he faced the ultimate test as God asked him to offer his promised son, Isaac, on an altar in obedience to God (Genesis 22).  Abraham could only have been willing to do this because of his total surrender to God.   Even though there are no recorded prayers of Abraham as he journeyed with Isaac to the place of sacrifice, I believe God was listening to the prayers of Abraham’s heart crying out for God to provide a sacrifice – which He did.  God answered in Abraham’s time of need and at just the right time – just as he does for us today.  Also, in God’s perfect time, He provided the perfect sacrifice – His Son, Jesus – for our salvation.  Our response should always be to praise and worship Him by giving ‘thanks to God for His unspeakable Gift’ (2 Corinthians 9:15) – the Gift promised and kept – to Abraham and to all the world (John 3:16).

Download Monthly Focus for June

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *