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365 Devotionals: From David to Exile

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22 AMP

The Seeds of Promise Devotional Series

Teach Me How To Pray

But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for Hezekiah had commanded, Do not answer him. II Kings 18:36 AM

May Book Read From Read To Devotional
12th I Chronicles Chapter 3 Chapter 5 Teach Me How To Pray

In the previous devotional, you were encouraged to savor both the popular and the plain of appearance in Biblical text. Today’s reading contains another example of a potentially hidden gem.  If you simply thumb past I Chronicles, you will miss a most stirring prayer of the canonical books: the prayer of Jabez – one of my favorites (this and that of Hannah).

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep [me] from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested. I Chronicles 4:10

Think about it: Why is such a short rendering so famed among people of faith? Who is this Jabez anyway? No other prayers were recorded in this context so far. What’s so great about his prayer?

Jabez’s reputation for prayer was such that when someone mentioned him, they recalled this prominent quality.

Teach Me How To Pray Jabez’s prayer was short. Did you think that you had to pray one hour before God would take you seriously (Matthew 26:40)? Sure, in developing a prayer life, you will spend more time in prayer than someone with a different focus. That being said, do not get lost in searching for the “right way to pray” without focusing on the condition of your heart. An hour of effectual prayer is a good thing: this does not mean that 9 seconds worth is useless.

Transforming your heart (renewing you mind) to the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2) is the first part of praying well, seeing as God looks on the heart of man; and not upon his stature, estate or garment, or plate, to determine his measure (James 2:3, I Corinthians 10:3, I Samuel 17:50).

The heart of faith does not need a call script to get Jesus on the line. This is a controversial element.  Without understanding the nature of God concerning prayer, people sometimes condemn the blameless (Matthew 12:7).

Some think a prayer ineffective unless Matthew 6:9-13, or Psalm 23 is recited also, or only. These prayers are good guides. It is true that we know not how to pray as we ought, but to say that a prayer of no particular order or vernacular is errant for lack of format only, is to forget that no matter what is said in sincerity, the Holy Spirit is our intercessor.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:28

Developing a prayer life, you will spend more time in prayer than some. But, God is not rejecting the soul who says God, have mercy on me a sinner (Luke 18:13) instead of Oh, Most Holy Father, forgive me for I have sinned.

A “standard” prayer given in scripture is not intended to replace the thoughtful creation of the heart in communication in God. Such a prayer would serve to quench the quickening Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19, Romans 8:11).

When Paul said, “After this manner therefore pray ye (Matthew 6:9), he was providing a sample of difference between holy and holy; opposing the manner of the  Pharisees who intended only to be seen as devout, without having their hearts close to God (Matthew 15:8).

The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, it is that same Spirit who works in you and through you, whether you recite a liturgy or pray in earnest, Abba Father.

Whosoever will, let him come (Revelation 22:17).

Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Psalm 119:34

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