Take 5 (July 13-17, 2015)

take5

Bill Tanzey • Associate Pastor of Community Ministries

Five Great Prayers

Monday: “Go with us.” — The Prayer of Moses

Exodus 33

Poor Moses. He faced an amazingly difficult leadership challenge. He was assigned by God to lead a million grouchy and whining slaves out of Egypt to the Promised Land. How would he accomplish what seemed to be an impossible task? He prayed a mighty prayer to God. In Exodus 33:12, we find that Moses understood something important: God is willing, ready, and available to meet with us when we make time to meet with Him.

That is the secret of inner strength: Having a foundation of effective prayer. In Exodus 33:12-15, we find Moses still praying one of the most powerful prayers ever recorded: “Please go with us!” In other words, Moses understood that God’s presence in our efforts is paramount.

For Today: Ask God to go with you as you approach the challenges of life.

Tuesday: “Bless me!” — The Prayer of Jacob

Genesis 32:26

Jacob found himself between a rock and a hard place. Years before, he connived to take the birthright from his wild brother, Esau. Esau had a long memory and short temper. Not the sort you would want to meet in a dark alley.

Now Esau and a retinue of 400 troops were bearing down on Jacob. Jacob had good reason to be frightened for his and his family’s safety. He was at the end of his wits. Alone and feeling like a target, he was in a real “fix.”

At some point, Jacob did what people in desperation do: He prayed. He found himself alone and despairing. As he wrestled with The Angel of God, Jacob wanted one thing: God’s blessing. He received that blessing in a mighty way! God changed his name from “grasper” to Israel, meaning “Prince of God.”

By the way, God protected Jacob from any revenge from Esau. They had a blessed reunion.

For Today: Read all of Genesis 32, and ask for God’s blessings.

Wednesday: “Strengthen my hands.” — The Prayer of Nehemiah

Nehemiah 6:9

Nehemiah was weary, tottering, and on the brink of despair. Ever been there? His task was impossible: attempting to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. His enemies tried to
discourage him; he was laughed at; his workers were a crew of frightened laborers; and, there was the threat of a surprise attack.

What to do? Nehemiah desperately needed rest and relief. What’s more, his clever and evil enemy, Sanballat, persisted in attempting to get him to come to meetings. And oh, how ruinous were the rumors that were spreading through the camp!

Nehemiah’s prayer wasn’t fancy, but from the heart. Indeed, it was answered. Yahweh strengthened his hands. The wall was built.

For Today: Ask God to strengthen your hands in a challenge you might be facing.

Thursday: “Deliver us!” — The Prayer of Hezekiah

2 Kings 2:14-19

Author Dave Early says, “Poor King Hezekiah faced a fate worse than death.” His nightmare was a menacing and wicked King Sennacherib, the undefeated king of Assyria. Sennacherib’s army was massive, and his many chariots were fierce. To make matters worse, Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to King Hezekiah, listing all the nations, north and south, who had been destroyed by his Syrian army.

What to do? If Hezekiah surrendered on the spot, he would see God’s people led off in chains as prisoners of the Assyrians. If he surrendered, Jerusalem would be saved, but the people would be lost to a horrible foe. (Think ISIS, and you will get the dilemma.)

Hezekiah turned to God in a mighty prayer: He asked God to deliver them from the Assyrian’s hand. Praise God for answered prayers! Look what happened in 2 Kings 19:35.

For Today: Thank God for being both able and willing to deliver us when we ask.

Friday: “I have sinned.” — The Prayer of David

2 Samuel 12:13

Remember what David did? It was ugly. It’s hard to talk about. In the midst of a midlife season, when he was bored and vulnerable, he initiated an affair with a married woman. That sexual encounter led to lies, deception, and murder.

The deception was over, but David’s guilt remained. Guilt follows sin like a vulture follows rotten meat. If anyone knew better, it was David, God’s elected and anointed
King. David lived a year carrying around that immense guilt like a heavy boulder on his shoulders. Then, the prophet Nathan confronted David with all the evil he had done.

David prayed aloud, “I have sinned against the Lord.”–one of the most effective prayers in the Bible.

For Today: Ask God to remind you of sins in your life, and confess them.