2009-07-27 - Oh! The Places We Pray
The Bible says to devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2 NIV) Below you will find a number of different places people chose to pray.
At a Carnival: Judges 16:20-31
Throughout Samson's life, he had the assurance of extreme strength and God's presence. When that power was gone, Samson sought the Lord for strength once more, which He granted. The Philistines had a festival celebrating Samson's capture, and attendees paid homage to their god Dagon. While the people ridiculed Samson, he pushed against the temple pillars, and the idol's temple was destroyed and all those in attendance died, including Samson. He had been a judge for 20 years.
In a Cave: Psalm 142:1-7
In this Psalm, David recounts the time he was troubled and grieved. It was not the happiest of days in his life, and David saw his existence as meager. David's strength was gone, and he felt like he was wasting away into nothingness. Despite David's circumstances, he sought the Lord to deliver him. David prayed that God would protect him from those who persecuted him.
At a Church: Luke 2:25-35
A new baby was presented to the Lord at the temple and Simeon took the child in his arms, praising God. The baby's parents, Joseph and Mary, couldn't believe what Simeon was saying about their son Jesus. He told them Jesus would shine upon the nations. Simeon also blessed the couple and then had a special blessing for Mary. He didn't want her to be surprised, when some unpleasant words would be said about her boy.
Many people in Israel would even reject Jesus. It would be difficult for her to watch people belittle her son for no apparent reason. Simeon wanted to give Mary courage and encouragement. Jesus would give the greatest joy to others. (See also Deuteronomy 26:5-10, 1 Samuel 14:37, 2 Kings 19:14-19, Isaiah 37:14-20, Acts 2:47, 3:1, 13:1-3, and Luke 18:10, 13-14)
In a Garden: Matthew 26:36-39
Jesus knew what it was like to face an intricate situation. During the most difficult time in His human life, He was facing injustice and death, so Jesus turned His attention to God and prayed. He took away all distractions and fell on His face to pray. Jesus needed some wisdom fast. Jesus' prayer wasn't just any words said in haste. He was on the verge of a tremendous and unjust mission, about to endure ridicule and devastation. He was honest, and told God He did not want to face this horrific task no one else could complete. Jesus sought God's perspective, and asked if it was possible, for Him not to do what lay ahead, to be crucified. Still, Jesus wanted the Lord's will and not His own.
Jesus didn't escape the tremendous pain of the crucifixion; however, He must have had peace, knowing He was accomplishing God's will. The anguish He suffered was indeed worth it, as every human now has a chance at forgiveness and a new life in Him.
At a Home: Acts 28:1-10
Publius, the chief official of Malta, hospitably opened his home to Paul and the others shipwrecked for three days. His father had a fever and suffered with dysentery, so Paul prayed and laid hands on the man. God's power was with Paul, and Publius' father was healed. After such a healing, the island sick people came to Paul, and they were also cured. (See also Acts 10:1 and 12:17)
On a Mountain: 1 Kings 18:17-39
The prophet Elijah put the power of Baal to the test. He asked all the people of Israel to meet him at Mt. Carmel, and Baal worshipers and God worshipers a like came, including King Ahab. The prophet wanted the turnout to see which piece of wood would catch on fire, by calling on the idol Baal or God. The Baal prophets called on their god from morning to noon, but there was no word. Perhaps he was busy, traveling or sleeping, Elijah mocked. When Elijah called upon the Lord, God answered immediately, and there was fire! When people saw this miracle, they returned to God, and the Baal prophets were seized and killed. Unfortunately, Ahab didn't turn to God, not yet anyway. (See also Exodus 32:11-35, Numbers 27:12-23, and Luke 6:12)
Outside: Acts 10
Peter was praying, although he found it hard to concentrate, as his hunger pangs were distracting him. While waiting to eat, Peter fell into a trance and saw a large sheet coming down from Heaven. The sheet had all kinds of animals, birds, and reptiles. Then Peter heard a voice telling him to kill and eat. Peter knew he was hungry, but not hungry enough to eat anything that was impure and unclean. God reprimanded Peter, and told him never to call anything He had made impure or unclean. God spoke three more times, and then the vision of the sheet went back to Heaven. Peter never experienced anything like that before. (See also 1 Chronicles 14:8-17)
At Sea: Jonah 2:1-10
Water was all around Jonah. He didn't drown, but was swallowed by a fish and stayed in the fish's stomach for three horrible days and three excruciating nights. Jonah became seasick, and it was difficult to breathe, and tangled seaweed surrounded Jonah's head. He told God he wasn't going to worship anyone but Him. No one else could save him. They say to pray anywhere, so inside a fish can be no exception. Jonah told God things He already knew. He was in trouble, and Jonah begged for God's help. As soon as Jonah prayed, the fish heaved him out onto dry land.
Lord, Thank You for seeing me as a new creature. Thanks that You care what I have to say. You hang around me every day and don't get bored, tired, or drained. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
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