Today’s Verse, 1 Samuel 8:21

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord.

1 Samuel 8:21

Reflections on Today’s Verse

When the prophet and judge Samuel was dealing with the sinful demand of the people of Israel for a king, he went to God constantly in prayer about the situation for an answer. The Scriptures describe him praying and repeating all the words of the people to the LORD, telling Him exactly what had happened and had been said. Why would Samuel have done this if God already knew it all (Isaiah 46:9-11)?

Simply put, Samuel was a man of God who knew the importance of consistency in prayer and communion with the LORD. It is true that God knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8, 32). But He has also ordained that these needs will be met and His power displayed as His people come to Him in prayer and petition.

This was not a matter of heaping up empty phrases (Matthew 6:7). Christ’s words against such prayers were meant to reprove individuals who thought they could somehow manipulate the power of God and ensure the answer they wanted through the use of particular mantras or rhetorical formulas in their words.

Rather, we are to come to God with an attitude of humility and trust in His sovereign hand to meet our needs. We should not misinterpret this condemnation of “empty phrases” to mean that our prayers need to be incredibly concise and the time spent must be minimal. Christ’s priestly prayer at Gethsemane showed no such brevity (John 17).

For example, let’s say that a man has an illness. It weakens him and makes him vomit. So he prays, “God heal me, please, heal me…if through healing me your name will be hallowed in a greater way, your kingdom will come in a greater way, and your will be done in a greater way, then, LORD, heal me! But, LORD, if your name would be hallowed, your kingdom come, and your will be done in a greater way by breaking my body into a million pieces, then let it be so.”

Do you see the difference in those prayers? It is all about the glory of Christ, the kingdom, and the advancement of the kingdom. Whatever God would desire on behalf of the our prayer, the true worshipper must have His glory in mind.

Like Samuel, with that attitude of humility and trust in His sovereignty, we are instructed be constant in unceasing prayer. Prayer is not meant to provide God with information that He was unaware of, but is rather ordained by Him as a means through which to show His power and act in the world and to build communion between the believer and God.

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16 NJKV)

How is your prayer life incorporating this truth?

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Today’s Prayer

Father, we are a prayerless people. We desire your hand and gifts, but we don’t desire your presence. Father, close the gap between my identity in Christ and my reality in the world. Lord, be glorified in this area in our lives. Just as we sought our spouse to please him or her before marriage, help us to seek with reckless abandon to know and make you known. We pray this all in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The Reflections, Prayer and Video on Today's Verse are written and recorded by senior pastor Darin Smith.

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