Samuel at the end of his tenure as Israel’s High Priest and Judge, probably felt like an epic failure. His sons were not following in his faith. They behaved wickedly, took bribes, and did not obey God. (1 Samuel 8) Not only did his sons not follow God, but the whole nation was looking for an earthly king. They were not satisfied with God as their king. They wanted to be like the other nations who had kings. I am sure Samuel felt rejected. God even reassured Samuel that it is not Samuel the Israelites are rejecting, but God. (1 Samuel 8:7) Samuel had failed to pass on his faith to this stiff-necked people. However, he did the most amazing thing during his farewell speech.
Samuel, the spiritual leader for Israel, was giving his going away speech. I am amazed at what he says to this people who are not following his leading, this people who have asked for an earthly king, this people who continue to choose anything rather than God. Samuel says, “…far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you…” (1 Samuel 12:23) Samuel calls it a sin against God to not pray for those he is leading. Not a sin against the people he is leading. Not an oversight, no, he calls it a sin.
I must confess, I have been sinning against God. I have NOT prayed for friends and family as I should. Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” ALL the saints, ALWAYS, ALL occasions pray! In this I have failed. Can I say that divorce would not have happened if I prayed or that illness would not have come if I prayed. No. That is only something God knows. What I do know is that when I fail to pray, on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests, I sin. I fail because I am human. I fail because I focus on my self, my stuff, my needs. Oh, but I fail. Don’t you think Satan loves it when we fail like this. Honestly, I don’t know how or why God uses our prayers to further His cause, but He does. The verse from Ephesians follows the description of the Armor of God. So we are not prepared for battle unless we are praying in the Spirit on ALL occasions. When we aren’t praying it is like expecting to be able to win a basketball game without practice. It won’t happen. I am so glad that God is so forgiving and full of grace!
Father, forgive me for failing to pray for my friends, family, children, church, kids in my Sunday School class, ladies in my old MOPS group. Forgive me. Father, help keep the prayer part of my mind on at all times. Help me develop tools to remember who to pray for and what to pray. Father most of all give me Your heart for the lost and hurting of this world. The needs are many and great. Often I cannot do much for the needs, but I can pray and that is more important than anything else. Thank You for giving us the gift of prayer. That we can boldly approach Your throne and lay our requests at Your feet. You are God. Thank You for loving us all! Amen!