Last week we briefly meditated on confidently praying. We can do so as we ask God to do what He has already revealed He will do. This week I would like to draw our attention to an amazing statement in 2 Samuel:
2 Samuel 24:25 David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel.
This is in the context where David had sinned by taking the census.The Lord brought judgment, but now he heard the prayer of David and “was moved by prayer for the land.” We would be making a major mistake if we took this to mean that prayer is “twisting God’s arm” to do what we want. We never what to look at prayer like that. Jesus exemplifies the perfect spirit in prayer: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). But there is this mysterious reality that God actually carries out His purposes through the prayer of His people. Scripture repeatedly speaks of this truth encouraging us to pray and to pray much because prayer really matters. Some translations take the teeth out of 2 Samuel 24:25 and say something like the Lord “responded” or “answered” or “accepted” the the prayers for the land. But the form of the Hebrew word underneath this phrase about God’s response to David’s prayer is literally that the Lord was moved by the prayer. Here we are told that the sovereign God who rules over all and is ruled by none was actually moved by prayer. What should we take away from this? Here are some simple observations. First, God’s sovereignty includes and does not preclude our responsibility to pray. Second, prayer matters. Third, prayer involves taking part in and advancing what God is doing in this world today. Forth, God’s purposes are advanced by God in such a way that He gets all the glory. We pray about what He has said He will do and He does it which turns to more prayer and praise of Him. Fifth, it is a sobering thing when His people are not praying and do not value it.
So are you praying? One way to connect to this purpose of God for His church is to join us any Wednesday evening prayer meeting to take part in seeing God’s purposes advanced in this world through the privilege of prayer. Hope to see you!