Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Today we finish our survey of Old Testament prayers by remembering some of the stories we have looked at in the last six months. Perhaps at some future date, when we are older and wiser, we will look again at these stories with new eyes and new hearts.
Meanwhile, in the first story we looked at Abraham’s wife got into, and then out of, King Abimelech’s harem, and Abraham prayed for the king.
Later, when God was thinking about destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham negotiated God’s nuclear threshold down to 10 righteous people. But it wasn’t enough. God destroyed the cities.
When God was thinking about destroying the Israelites in the desert, after they worshipped a golden calf, Moses prayed that God would not destroy them. God had mercy on them.
When God was thinking about destroying Ninevah, Jonah didn’t negotiate for the city or pray for mercy — he ran away because he wanted God to use the nuclear option. But after Jonah took a somewhat fishy route to Ninevah and preached repentance, God had mercy on the city. Jonah responded with prayers of annoyance and disappointment.
Abraham’s servant prayed that God would help him find the right wife for Isaac. God answered his prayer by sending Rebekah to draw water for the servant and the camels.
When Jacob was afraid that Esau, whom he had cheated, was going to kill him, he wrestled all night with an angel. God gave Jacob a bad hip and a new name.
When God was sending plagues on Egypt, Pharaoh asked Moses several times to pray that God would remove the plagues. The individual plagues went, but the pattern continued until the Israelite slaves began their trek to freedom.
Moses got so annoyed leading the people through the desert that he prayed to God, “If this is how you treat me, do me a favor and kill me right now.” Jonah prayed a similar prayer, “I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
When Samson was a prisoner of the Philistines, he prayed for revenge, and God helped him collapse the Philistine temple, killing many Philistines and himself.
Solomon prayed to dedicate God’s temple in Jerusalem.
Elijah prayed to stop and start the rain.
Job prayed chapters of strident demands that God explain the injustice of life. But his prayer moved to a place of quiet acceptance that God was God and did not answer to Job.
Isaiah told the people that because of their sin, God was not listening to their prayers .
Jeremiah prayed out his hurt and sadness that God was planning the destruction of Israel.
Habakkuk prayed out his shock and disbelief that God would use unjust Babylon to punish unjust Israel. He also prayed his trust in God for the coming destruction.
Daniel prayed out his pain and confusion that the end of the Babylonian exile would not be the end of trouble for God’s people. His prophetic dreams showed evil times and persecutions going far into the future.
These Old Testament stories, and many others, illustrate the depth and breadth and difficulty of prayer.
Our Father, we began this journey of prayer hoping for simple answers and straightforward solutions. We wanted our prayers to call down your power to solve our problems. But we have discovered that prayer doesn’t give us unrestricted access to your power. It only gives us access to you. Perhaps that is enough for us.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.