Today I completed a year-long personal devotional and expositional study of the earliest concept of prayer and all the prayers recorded in the book of Genesis. Herbert Lockyer’s classic book has been my faithful guide and will continue to lead me through the rest of the prayers of the entire bible.
Prayer, understood most simply is this: the desire, opportunity and privilege of talking with God and hearing from God. The first instinctual prayer was natural conversation; open fellowship in the delight of existence. The Spirit of God, through this study, has renewed in me this most beautiful, ancient and intended form of prayer. It is the way I hear my youngest children talking with God in their rooms in the early morning hours as they dress for school. It is the way most of us grow out of, but never should.
But, I have been growing young again! Indeed, I find myself throughout my days simply enjoying His presence and speaking with Him as if we are walking in Eden together, our communion undisturbed and alive, lifted above the critical issues of the world and of my smaller daily life.
The Cross of Jesus Christ has made this dialogue, altered through the tragic entrance of sin, whole again.
It would be pages to elebrorate for you all I have “taken away” from my study, so I shall simply record in points the main thrusts of prayer in Genesis. May you be blessed.
- First account of “prayer” is God-initiated; man is the responder. All begins with God.
- In the 235th year of the world, the idea of “social, corporate” prayer began. When forgotten, decline begins.
- Prayer brings in spiritual progress.
- Worship, communion and sacrifice are all bound up in God’s call to us and our calling out to Him.
- Earliest relationship (prayers) of the saints was focused on fulfilling commands and believing promises. No emphasis on full-disclosure, but on faith.
- All three patriarchs has to ask through prayer and wait for a child. All had to pray (ask) for the promise to be fulfilled.
- Loneliness, anguish and rejection = crying out prayer = God responding by both hearing and seeing.
- Prayer gives revelation.
- Prayer can ask for more than God initially offers to give.
- There is no true prayer apart from deep humility, ever.
- Intercessory prayer is the saint’s “soul sweat”. It is hard work.
- Prevailing intercession is the costliest service a Christian can render.
- God never responds to prayer, acting in good or ill towards anyone, without full understanding and appreciation of their circumstances.
- God can restrain our spirits from from intercessory prayer; when He has determined something He forbids it to be prayed about. Not all prayers for cities and sinners are “answered”.
- The names and blessings we can bestow on a person or place are expressions of faith equivilant to prayer.
- It is not always wrong to ask for a “sign” when we pray to confirm God’s mind on a matter.
- Pray according to the revealed character of God. This has power and brings Him pleasure.
- God will answer prayers in line with His purposed will, but He is never in a hurry to do so. He’s been working the backstory all along.
- Prayer changes circumstances.
- We don’t have to be afraid to express to God, “I need this in order to do that (which you’ve called me to).”
- God’s response often to our prayers is “fear not…I am with you.”
- We can appeal to God’s faithfulness in the verbiage of Him as our Father.
- We should pray not with the boldness of self-confidence but the boldness of faith.
- The surest way to prevail with men and circumstances is to prevail with God. His is the first and last word.
- To live a life of prayer is to be a God-conscious person, in all things.
- The way to die (and live!) is with blessing and prayers on our lips, our eyes heavenward.