What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.
This morning my pastor spoke on Isaac's prayer from Genesis 25:19-23. Verse 21 says, "And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived." This evening's service we sang this song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". The second part of the first verse..."O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer" really stood out and brought this morning's message a little deeper in my thoughts.
First, Isaac chose to pray in difficult times. The verses before this passage state the generations of Ishmael, the brother of Isaac from the mother of Hagar. His brother was not the promise seed of God, yet his generations were many. Here Isaac, the chosen seed, had no children. There was barrenness in his life. Is there barrenness in my life? Is there something I need to choose to pray for in difficult times.
Second, Issac chose to pray instead of following a bad example. Back in Genesis, Isaac's father, Abraham, chooses to take matters into his own hands. Sarah suggests he take her maiden Hagar to "help" God with this blessing of children...possibly thinking they were doing God a favor. We must remember that God's timing is different than ours. This example of his father Isaac did not follow. He prayed that Rebekah would conceive. Has there been a bad example in our life? We don't have to follow it...we can choose to go against the flow of bad choices and stand for what is right.
Third, Isaac chose to pray based on past experiences. Isaac knew God could provide. He was there when God provided the ram. He saw that Jehovah Jirah (God Provides). He believed because of past experiences that God was faithful to what He is able to do. In my past, how has God answered prayer? He will do it again.
Fourth, Isaac chose to pray because of the Lord's promise. Isaac knew God had promised the seed through him. Isaac may not have been praying during these 20 years for the child...He may have taken for granted that God would do it. God shall supply my needs in my life...do I pray specifically for them? "We have not because we ask not" James 4:2. In the model prayer in Matthew, Jesus demonstrates that we pray "Give us this day our daily bread." Do we pray daily for the provision of food? We should...God wants us to talk with him about our needs. Yes he already knows of these things, but a relationship is about sharing and communing with each other. The passage doesn't say that Isaac never prayed about it before this time, but maybe he thought he should start. Is there something that I need to be praying for that I desire? Or that God has promised? It's time to get serious and get on my needs earnestly.
Which brings us to the fifth point...Isaac chose to pray earnestly. He prayed to LORD, "The God of all strength." The best thing we can do in our life is to EARNESTLY PRAY. What are we forfeiting, when we don't pray earnestly? (The line from the song..."O what peace we often forfeit..." but there is many other things we may be forfeiting in our life because of not praying earnestly. The word "intreated" is a different word for prayer...it's a word that has a sacrificial base. How much do I sacrifice to the Lord in prayer? The same meaning can be found in these words...beseech, urge strongly...it's a confident prayer, it's personal and it's spontaneous. It also states that the LORD was intreated of him. God earnestly seeks to answer his prayer...and blesses him doubly.
We have a great friend in Jesus...He is there not just as a genie to grant our wishes. He is a friend in the time of need, and also a friend in good times...happy times...times of celebration. Jesus is a friend closer than a brother. He wants that relationship with us. He wants to be our friend. He wants us to desire His friendship.
It's an amazing relationship and still yet there's so much I need to learn about it. I pray each day it brings new meaning...it shows new joy.
It has been a very good day/weekend. I was able to see the movie Fireproof. I finished the novel by Eric Wilson just last night. It was very good. I also had two great services...and I figured out my topic for my Pentateuch class paper. I had been in prayer for this for some time. Last week I talked with pastor about how I struggled with getting outlines for lessons...I can study something that is already there, but to come up with an outline...I just struggle with that. While reading in Genesis about Jacob's wrestle with God...I found two points...but I struggled with the third. I took it to Pastor and he helped me narrow down a better choice. I have been working on the lesson a little tonight...while writing this blog actually. Things have been coming to mind and I'll go and write a little bit. I want to get my "Life Application Bible" because I think it may help bring some application to that passage for me to develop.
Tomorrow is Monday...It's a VERY long day for me. Work from 9 to 4...leave for class, class begins at 5...and then 7...get home sometime before 10 (hopefully).
Tuesdays aren't too bad...I get home after Bible Study usually around 7:30...but Mondays are REALLY long for me.
For those praying for me...thank you, thank you, thank you. I know I'm feeling prayers for my studies. I want to do well in class...not for the sake of getting a good grade, but because I want these studies to impact my life and relationship with Jesus.
Until next time...
*-What a Friend We Have in Jesus" Words by Josephe M Scriven 1855. Scriven wrote this hymn to comfort his mother, who was across the sea from him in Ireland. It was originally published anonymously, and Scriven did not receive full credit for almost 30 years.