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Welcome to Week 5 (Prayers 21-25) of the 40 Great Prayers of the Bible series

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(Monday, 10-29-07) Prayer 21 - David's Prayer of Praise

Read first:
1 Chronicles 17:16-27

This prayer returns us to David and his desire to build a house wherein God would dwell. But, it was not God’s desire for David to build such a house. That would be reserved for Solomon.

However, it was God’s opportunity to speak to what He would build for David – a “house” promised through his descendants who would sit on the throne and rule forever.

The passage in 1 Chronicles is another record of the one found in 2 Samuel 18:7. We include it here not only because it is a great prayer but just as the Bible itself emphasizes it by repetition, so we should not neglect a second look.

What Can We Learn?

1. Praise begins with the humility of the one doing the praising.
2. Praise of God focuses on God’s power, knowledge, wisdom, will, etc.
3. Praise of God acknowledges that there is none like Him.
4. Praise of God rehearses His great deeds of the past, connects them with present care and promises, and extends them to the future when total fulfillment is expected.
5. Praise magnifies and honors God.
6. Praise acknowledges God as God.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you think this passage is among those recorded in two places among the historical books of the Old Testament?
2. What do you think is the answer to David’s question in 1 Chronicles 17:16?
3. In what way(s) is the establishing of David’s house forever a work of God?
4. How many different expressions of praise can you find in this passage?
5. What is it about praise that makes it so important as an expression of a person’s faith?

(Tuesday, 10-30-07) Prayer 22 - David's Prayer at the People's Generosity

Read first:
1 Chronicles 29:10-20

Though David would not build a house for God, that did not stop him from planning it and preparing for it to be built by Solomon. Before his death, he gave a speech to the people describing how he had made provision for gold, sliver and the finest of materials so that a glorious house could be built for the Lord.

In that speech, he sought the help and support of the people for building the temple, and the people willingly offered their own contribution. The whole episode is a wonderful example of willing and cheerful giving.

With that background, David offered a prayer of thanks and praise.

What Can We Learn?
1. We should not think of David as bragging about what he was going to give to construct the temple. Instead we should see it as the purposeful and long-term planning to do something that was dear to his heart.
2. David’s gift of gold , silver, etc., was not a burden, but rather a source of joy for him.
3. It would be helpful to re-read David’s description of the gold and silver and get an idea about the sheer grandeur he had in mind for the house of God.
4. The question of 29:5 is significant. Literally, David’s question is: “Who is willing to ‘fill his hand’ to the Lord?”
5. In David’s mind, consecration and dedication involved the willing gift of both himself and his possessions to God.
6. David’s statement in 29:14 is also significant. There he acknowledges that all he and the people gave was but what God gave them first.

Questions to Ponder
1. This sounds like another time of great giving and sacrifice on the part of God’s people. See Ex. 36:1 -7. What are the similarities? The differences?
2. There are also similarities, at least in principle, to examples of giving in the New Testament. See Acts 2:43 & 4:32. Again, what are the similarities? The differences?
3. Perhaps the example of the churches in Macedonia (2 Cor. 8 – 9) are even closer with regard to the attitude of giving, yet there are also some significant differences. What can we learn from the Macedonian Christians?
4. Why did David pray for the “intent of the heart of Your people,” in 29:18?
5. Do you think this attitude of heart exists in today’s church? How do you think we might develop it?
6. Consider this statement: “Before people can truly thank God and appreciate his blessings, they must be able to give them back to God for His use.”

(Wednesday, 10-31-07) Prayer - 23 Jehoshaphat's Prayer in a Crisis

Read first:
2 Chronicles 20:1-23

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, instituted a number of reforms, appointing godly judges and encouraging people to return to Jehovah. He also took down places of idolatry and, in general, did much that was good and right.

He was also plagued with wars, and on this particular occasion, Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites joined forces to come against Jehoshaphat. The force was evidently a great one, and the king was seriously concerned about his ability to withstand such an enemy.

It was during this crisis that Jehoshaphat prayed to the Lord God for help. It is a prayer very similar to other similar crises.

What Can We Learn?
1. It is important to see Jehoshaphat as a good king, not perfect, but one whose heart was intent on serving God.
2. As with other crisis -generated prayers, fear was an important factor in motivating a turning to God for a solution.
3. Note the connection made here with fasting as an appropriate adjunct to prayer.
4. Note also that this is not just Jehoshaphat’s prayer. He gathered people from across the kingdom who gathered together to seek God’s help.
5. His prayer acknowledges God as one with power and might, a sovereign ruler against whom none could stand.
6. Note the statement of resolve and commitment that is contained in 20:9.
7. God resolved the dilemma by confusing the enemy troops so that they attacked and destroyed one another.
8. God answered the prayer.

Questions to Ponder
1. Do you think God more readily hears and responds to those who are already seeking to do His will?
2. What do you think about praying such desperate prayers when you are afraid or otherwise facing a crisis? Is that an appropriate time to pray?
3. Should Christians ever fast and pray like we read about in the Bible?
4. Notice Jehoshaphat’s spiritual leadership. He could have prayed by himself, but instead used his position to include many others. What impact do you think this had on the people? Did it make the prayer more powerful?
5. In what way(s) is 20:9 a statement of faith?
6. Can you think of some practical lessons that would encourage us to pray more often or in different ways than we might otherwise?

(Thursday 11-1-07) Prayer 24 - Ezra's Prayer for the Nation's Sin

Read first:
Ezra 9:3 – 10:4

Ezra was one of a handful of important leaders who brought the exiled Israelites back to Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity. Ezra was both a scribe and a member of the priestly tribe, a descendant of Eleazar.

Ezra was important, not only for his practical leadership, but also in rebuilding the temple. But more importantly, it was his moral leadership that stands out. There came a time when it was discovered that many of the people and priests maintained marriages with foreign wives, something the Law prohibited. It demanded attention to the moral condition overall.

What Can We Learn?
1. The prayer was precipitated by the report of moral failure on the part of the people. What made this important was the fact that the nation was in the middle of restoration and reform.
2. Ezra’s response may seem exaggerated, but as a leader, his response set the tone for the way others would respond to national sin.
3. After tearing his clothes and pulling hair from his head and beard, Ezra sat appalled. Evidently he sat this way for some time (few to several hours?)
4. Note several features of the prayer:
(a) Shame and embarrassment
(b) Overwhelming sense of sin
(c) Awareness of past judgment
(d) Awareness of God’s grace
(e) Open confession of sin
(f) Admission of rebellion
(g) Awareness of possible loss of blessing
5. This is a prayer of repentance.

Questions to Ponder
1. See Ex. 34:12-16 and Deut. 7:3-5. How serious was the problem of intermarriage for Israel?
2. Do you think this problem was unknown to Ezra, overlooked, or did he only recently come to understand that intermarriage was sinful?
3. If intermarriage to spouses from pagan nations was wrong, how do we explain some rather significant ones such as: Moses married a Cushite woman (Ethiopian); Salmon married Rahab of Jericho; Boaz married Ruth the Moabite?
4. Some suggest that while it appears that God prohibited “interracial” marriages, that God’s real concern was “Inter-religious” marriages. What do you think about this explanation?
5. What was Ezra’s main concern with regard to this problem of intermarriage with foreign women?
6. What modern-day application(s) do you think we can make?

(Friday, 11-02-07) Prayer 25 - Nehemiah's Prayer for Jerusalem

Read first:
Nehemiah 1:3-11

Nehemiah was a descendant of the Jewish population that had been taken captive to Babylon in 586 B.C. In 539 B.C. Cyrus the Persian gained control over all of Mesopotamia. He permitted the Jewish exiles to return to the city of Jerusalem.
Nearly a century later, in Nehemiah’s time, the Persian ruler was Artaxerxes I
Longimanus (ruled 465–424 B.C.). Nehemiah was his personal cupbearer (Neh. 1:11).

In 445 B.C. Nehemiah learned of the deplorable condition of the returned exiles in Jerusalem (Neh. 1:2–3). The wall of the city was broken down, the gates were burned, and the people were in distress. Upon hearing this, Nehemiah mourned for many days, fasting and praying to God. His prayer is one of the most moving in the Old Testament (Neh. 1:5–11).

Nehemiah then received permission from Artaxerxes to go to Judah to restore the fortunes of his people. He was appointed governor of the province with authority to rebuild the city walls. Once in Jerusalem, Nehemiah surveyed the walls at night (Neh. 2:12–15). He gave his assessment of the city’s condition to the leaders and officials and then organized a labor force to begin the work.
(Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

What Can We Learn?
1. Nehemiah started with prayer! He did not wait, or use prayer as a last resort. Prayer is where he began.
2. Nehemiah acknowledged the sovereignty of God. He counted on the fact that it was God who reigned on heaven’s throne.
3. Nehemiah prayed an inclusive prayer — i.e. he used “we” instead of “I.” It was a statement of identity with his people.
4. Nehemiah considered the will and the promises of God, and believed that blessings came by being a part of God’s plans.
5. Note that the mourning and fasting (and prayer?) lasted for days.
6. Nehemiah ultimately prayed for God to help him in his petition to the king. It reveals that Nehemiah was praying for God’s blessing on his decision to act on behalf of his people.
7. Nehemiah was a man of action, but did not act before praying to God.

Questions to Ponder
1. Read Neh. 1:5. Describe what it says about God’s nature. Now read Ps. 111:9. What does it say there a bout God’s nature? Can you figure out why there is a problem with using a certain “title” when referring to preachers?
2. How would you suggest we use the principle of “beginning” with prayer when we see the need to act on something?
3. Would it still be appropriate for us to use Nehemiah’s “we” prayer?
4. How might the fact that God has made promises to us become part of our prayers to God?
5. What is the motivational value of a sense of mourning or sorrowing that moves a person to pray?
6. Can you list some things we need to do that might benefit from prayer?

Welcome to Week 4 (Prayers 16-20) of the 40 Great Prayers of the Bible series

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Click on the Older Posts icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the site in order to view last week's Bible studies.

(Monday, 10-22-07) Prayer 16 - Solomon's Prayer for Wisdom

Read first:
1 Kings 3:4-15

King David had grown old and ill. One of his sons, Adonijah, took it upon himself to gather allies in a strategic move to become king. David, however, had promised that after he died, Solomon would be king. Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet, informed David of Adonijah’s plans and David saw to it that Solomon was anointed king and seated on the throne.

Solomon’s first actions as king was to consolidate power, but having his enemies, including Adonijah, Joab and others assassinated. Solomon then formed a marriage alliance and wed Pharaoh's daughter. God then came in a dream and told Solomon to ask whatever he wished. He asked for wisdom.

What Can We Learn?
1. Solomon had several good reasons for asking for wisdom (an understanding heart)
(a) He was following in the footsteps of a truly great man
(b) He was young and knew that he was inexperienced
(c) His job was to lead a people who were notorious for rebellion
(d) His ascendancy to the throne involved intrigue, plots, and assassinations
(e) His own heritage was good reason for concern about right and wrong
2. His heart was open to gaining wisdom because of his realistic view of himself (cf 1 Kg. 3:7)
3. His request was not for personal gain, but for what he would be able to do for others (cf 1 Kg. 3:9)
4. God not only gave him wisdom, but all that he didn’t ask for as well.

Questions to Ponder
1. What possible reason did God have for giving Solomon such a choice?
2. What is wisdom? How does a person know if he or she is wise?
3. 1 Kg. 3:16-28 is usually thought to present us with proof of what a wise man Solomon was. Do you think he was just “automatically” wise at that point?
4. Depending on how you answered #3 above, how do you explain such a wise man going so far from God’s will as the years progressed?
5. Explain Eccl. 1:12 -18.
6. Read Pro. 1:1 -7. Why do you think Solomon was qualified to write about wisdom?

(Tuesday, 10-23-07) Prayer 17 - Solomon's Prayer to Dedicate the Temple

Read first:
Kings 8:22-61

One of Solomon’s first major feats was the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem as a place for worship of the God of Israel. The task was enormous, involving much planning and many workers. A work force of 30,000 was employed in cutting timber from the cedars of Lebanon. Also working on this massive project were 80,000 cutters of stone in the quarries of Jerusalem, 70,000 ordinary workers, and many superintendents. Gold, silver, and other precious metals were imported from other lands. Hiram, king of Tyre, sent architects and other craftsmen to assist with the project. The building was completed after seven years. The Temple was famous not for its size—since it was relatively small—but for the quality of its elaborate workmanship (1 Kings 6–7)
From Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary

What Can We Learn?
1. There is no other God like the one to whom Solomon prayed.
2. Solomon knew him as a covenant– keeping God.
3. Solomon requested that God be faithful to his promise about the kingdom.
4. God cannot be contained in a building, not even the temple.
5. Solomon asked God to let his name dwell in the temple and to hear the prayers directed toward it.
6. Note the specific list of reasons why people might pray. For all, Solomon asked that God hear and respond.
7. It is notable that even non-Jews were included, that they might also pray to God and be heard.
8. Note Solomon’s posture in prayer in 8:54.
9. God heard Solomon’s prayer, but also gave a warning about how to maintain all that the temple stood for (1 Kings 9:1-9).

Questions to Ponder
1. The temple is specifically called a “house of prayer” in the following verses: Isa. 56:7; Mt. 21:13; Mk . 11:17; and Lk. 19:46. How did Solomon’s prayer help to establish this identifiable purpose for the temple?
2. In the three NT passages listed above, Jesus condemned those who turned the temple into a robber’s den. What had they done to change it from the “house of prayer” it was supposed to be?
3. 1 Cor 3:16 and 6:19 says that both the individual Christian and the church as a whole is a “temple” of the Holy Spirit. What implications does this have with regard to prayer?
4. What was Solomon’s temple meant to represent, whether one actually entered it to pray, or merely faced toward it from a distance to pray?
5. If prayer was a central and foundational purpose behind the Old Testament temple, what place do you think prayer should have among Christians?

(Wednesday, 10-24-07) Prayer 18 - Elijah's Prayer of Self-Pity

Read first:
1 Kings 19:9-18

Elijah was a great prophet of God, but he was also a man who struggled with the same issues of faith and confidence with which we do. His life demonstrates how quickly we can go from a “spiritual high” to the “depths of despair.”

Elijah had challenged the people and especially the prophets of Baal (cf. 1 Kg. 18:20-22). After his famous, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions . . . .” speech, he demonstrated the power of God and slew the false prophets.

But news came to Jezebel, and fear came to Elijah. This prayer is the result of his self-pity.

What Can We Learn?
1. Even men of great faith can become discouraged and depressed due to the stresses of serving God.
2. Elijah’s retreat to a cave reflects his lack of confidence in God at a time when he had just proven God’s ability.
3. God’s question, “What are you doing here?” was intended to get Elijah to focus on the purpose(s) of his behavior, and ultimately his life.
4. Elijah excused his behavior by blaming others instead of looking within himself.
5. God showed Elijah that there was no confidence in outwardly terrible and powerful effects like wind, earthquake and fire, but rather in the still, small voice confidently delivering God’s word.
6. Few events in scripture so powerfully illustrate the power of faith that comes by hearing God’s word.
7. Despite appearances, God is always served by a remnant who are faithful.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you think Elijah ran away so soon after such a great victory over the prophets of Baal?
2. How effective do you think Elijah’s claims to past faithfulness were in answering God’s question, “Why are you here?”
3. Why did God send the wind, earthquake and fire for Elijah to witness? What was Elijah to conclude from them?
4. What kind of things create a sense of discouragement and depression, even among great people of faith?
5. Are we still looking for the “flashy” or powerful demonstrations of God’s power to convince us to follow him? If so, what kind of things do people look for?
6. Does God still speak with a “still, small voice?” If so, how does this happen?
7. “What are you doing here?”

(Thursday, 10-25-07) Prayer 19 - Hezekiah's Prayer for Deliverance

Read first:
2 Kings 19:14-19

In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib, King of Assyria came against Judah. In a bold political move designed to detour any possible religious zealousness that might produce armed resistance, he sent messengers to warn King Hezekiah and his people not to rely on treaties with Egypt, nor even to rely on the protection of God. Rabshakeh, the messenger forcefully put forth the terms of surrender.

Hezekiah’s response was to tear his clothes and cover himself with sack cloth and ashes, a display of grief and mourning. Hezekiah sought the help of Isaiah, the prophet, who revealed that God would solve the problem.

What Can We Learn?
1. Note Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord which was a house of prayer
2. He took the offending letter from the Assyrians and “spread it out” before the Lord. It’s as if he opened it up for God to examine.
3. Hezekiah’s prayer emphasizes one thing in several ways: he speaks to God as the “only” God, in direct contrast to the way the Assyrians perceived him to be.
4. Hezekiah’s prayer was very specific, that God might deliver them from the Assyrians.
5. Note also, the specific reason Hezekiah gives for asking for deliverance: that all the kingdoms of the earth might know that only God, was God.
6. This prayer focuses our attention to the one thing that God has always desired for human beings to acknowledge — that there is only one God.

Questions to Ponder
1. Not that we need a “temple” in which to pray, but do we ever think of a “place” to pray?
2. Why would it be helpful to take whatever problem we’re trying to solve and “spread it out” before the Lord? How might we do that?
3. Can you think of some ways we might neglect the idea that there is only one God?
4. Why is it important to be specific in our prayers?
5. Hezekiah understood the fundamental motive for God to act in the lives of human beings. Do you think we’re aware of that reason? How do you think we might increase our own awareness of that primary motive?

(Friday, 10-26-07) Prayer 20 - Hezekiah's Prayer for Healing

Read first:
2 Kings 20:1-11

Hezekiah had just been the recipient of a major rescue by God’s hand. Sennacherib, king of Assyria had been turned away from his military plans to defeat Judah. This was a specific answer to Hezekiah’s prayer.

However, somewhere near that same time, Hezekiah became ill. The text says that he suffered from some kind of “boil” but it’s not clear exactly what it was.

Regardless, Hezekiah responded much like many do when faced with a terminal illness. But, as before during times of crisis, Hezekiah turned to God in prayer. In response, God granted him 15 more years of life.

What Can We Learn?
1. Hezekiah’s situation reminds us of the reality of life — often it seems that serious setbacks happen right after great victories.
2. Hezekiah’s response was to turn his face to the wall. It appears to be a common response still seen today in what we call the “grief process.”
3. Read Ex. 15:26. Do you think this might have been in Hezekiah’s mind when he prayed?
4. Hezekiah shows us that in prayer we can seek to change the mind of God.
5. However, there is little to comfort us with regard to the extra 15 years. His son Manasseh was born, but became a wicked man. 2 Chron 32:25 tells us that Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit. Instead he became proud. Perhaps it would have been best for him to have died sooner.
6. This is a perplexing prayer. Did prayer demonstrate his faith, or would faith have allowed him to accept God’s news that he was to die?

Questions to Ponder
1. What do you think might have been some of Hezekiah’s responses to the news that he was going to die, especially since the news came so soon following God’s assistance in the problem with the Assyrians?
2. What are some of the responses generally recognized as part of the “grief process?”
3. Is it right or wrong to pray for physical healing?
4. Is it right or wrong to seek to change God’s mind about things?
5. What major failure on Hezekiah’s part, worked to turn the blessing of 15 extra years of life into a negative?
6. In what way(s) does the episode of Hezekiah’s illness and prayer illustrate the need for faith in God? In such cases, what is faith in God?
7. Would you rather get news like Hezekiah did or not? Why?
8. How would you seek to help someone who just got such news?

Welcome to Week 3 (Prayers 11-15) of the 40 Great Prayers of the Bible series

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(Monday, 10-15-07) Prayer 11 - Joshua's Prayer in Defeat

Read first:
Joshua 7:2-15

Joshua and the Israelites had just experienced one of the greatest military victories in history at Jericho. It was great for the simple fact that they didn’t win the battle, God did. His power felled the walls of the city and made it possible for Israel to defeat Jericho’s army.

However, not all was well. Achan disobeyed God, and kept some of the spoils of war for himself. When Israel next went up against Ai, they thought they would only need a few thousand men, certainly not the whole army. Ai was just a small and insignificant town.

But, the men of Ai routed Israel. They killed several and sent the rest fleeing for their lives. Then Joshua prayed.

What Can We Learn?
1. This defeat was precipitated by a presumptuous self-confidence. There is no evidence of reliance on God, but rather an unwise estimate of their own ability to win the battle at Ai.
2. The defeat was also precipitated by an outright disobedience of God’s commands (Achan).
3. Joshua’s prayer sounds very much like the complaints of Israel out in the wilderness. It evidences a misplaced faith.
4. Joshua appears to be apologizing for Israel’s failure to defeat Ai. He still doesn’t seem to connect lack of victory to a problem between them and God.
5. God is very direct in his response to Joshua. “Get up. The problem is sin.”
6. The reason for defeat was that God was not with them.
7. God’s instruction was twofold:
a) Consecrate the people
b) Get rid of the banned items

Questions to Ponder
1. So soon following the victory at Jericho, how do you explain Israel’s lack of connection between God’s power, their relationship to him, and victory?
2. What sinful elements are involved in Israel’s determination that it would only take 2 – 3 thousand men to defeat Ai?
3. In Joshua 7:8, what do you think Joshua understood to be the reason they lost the battle at Ai?
4. Why do you think God allowed the sin of one man to affect the entire nation?
5. What is the one thing most “right” about Joshua’s prayer?
6. Why would God not allow his people to experience victory as long as there was sin in the camp?
7. What did God have in mind when he commanded that the people consecrate themselves?
8. In how many ways did God answer Joshua’s prayer?

(Tuesday, 10-16-07) Prayer 12 - Hannah's Prayer for a Child

1 Samuel 1:1-20

It is not uncommon for a woman to want children but cannot become pregnant. During the days of the Old Testament, it was frequently aggravated because there were other wives in the family who did bear children.

Hannah was in such a position. Her husband, Elkanah, had another wife named Peninnah who had born children to him. Hannah was barren. Peninnah would irritate her, possibly mocking her, but Elkanah loved her deeply.

On one occasion when the family went to Shiloh to worship, Hannah made a vow and prayed to God for a child. His answer brought her a child named Samuel.

What Can We Learn?
1. Hannah was at a point where she understood the difference between bargaining with God and real commitment.
2. It was her discomfort and dissatisfaction with her life that moved her to finally want to be part of God’s work.
3. The deep emotionality of her prayer made Eli think she was drunk (cf. Acts 2 – the apostles).
4. Samuel means “answered prayer.”
5. Note the following verses:
a) Ps 99:6
b) Jer 15:1
c) Acts 13:16
The point here is that Samuel became both a man of prayer and a pivotal figure in Israel’s history because his mother was a praying woman.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you think God allows people to suffer so long without the things they want so badly, like a barren woman wanting a child?
2. Why do you think Hannah’s is the first recorded prayer of a woman in the Bible?
3. What do you think of someone seeing another person praying and concluding that they are drunk? What do you think they were seeing?
4. Why do you think Hannah made a vow to God?
5. What is the significance in 1:18 that following her prayer, she ate and shed her sadness?
6. How difficult do you think it was for Hannah to give up Samuel in fulfillment of her vow to God?

(Wednesday, 10-17-07) Prayer 13 - Hannah’s Prayer of Thanksgiving

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah had prayed for a son, and God blessed her with Samuel. His name basically means, ‘answered prayer,’ because she had asked him of the Lord.

When the child had been weaned (about 2 – 3 years of age), Hannah went again to Shiloh to worship with her family. There, a special sacrifice was made in thanksgiving to God, and Hannah fulfilled her vow to dedicate her son to serving God.

Then Hannah prayed again. This time, it does not appear that her prayer was one of silence and agony, rather it was open and filled with praise. Her prayer is still a worthy example of someone praising and thanking God.

What Can We Learn?
1. Unlike many of her day, Hannah acknowledged God, and her prayer demonstrates her faith.
2. Hannah recognized that it was God who had answered her prayer.
3. Hannah’s prayer is an excellent corrective to the idea that man can solve or provide answers to all his desires.
4. Matthew Henry points out that Hannah identifies four of God’s glorious attributes:
a) His unspotted purity
b) His almighty power
c) His unsearchable wisdom
d) His unerring justice
5. Hannah’s prayer seems to be a familiar source to Mary in her prayer known as the Magnificent (Lk 1:46). This is seen in themes such as:
a) Joy
b) Salvation
c) Uniqueness of God
d) Blessing to the poor/humble

Questions to Ponder
1. What is significant about the fact that Hannah praised God and not how beautiful/smart/talented, etc., her son was?
2. What do we learn by Hannah’s lack of focus on the specific answer to her prayer, and instead, her focus on the much larger subject of God himself.
3. What is Hannah’s connection to the feeble, the hungry, the barren, the poor, etc.?
4. Can you describe the picture that Hannah is trying to paint with her words?
5. Some suggest that Hannah’s prayer becomes prophetic at the end when she speaks of giving strength to his king and exalting his anointed. If so, how did God use this woman to proclaim his word?
6. Why is Hannah’s prayer recorded for us?
7. In what way can the truths about God in this prayer be recognized today?

(Thursday, 10-18-07) Prayer 14 - David's Prayer of Praise for God's Kindom

2 Samuel 7:1-29

There came a time in King David’s life when he began to think about the blessings he enjoyed, and it bothered him that he lived in a fine house, but the Ark of the Covenant still resided in a tent. He decided to build a house for God.

At first, Nathan the prophet encouraged him, but God revealed to Nathan that He did not want David to build such a house. Instead, God was going to build David a house that would exceed anything he could ever imagine, and that permanent blessings would come to his descendants.

David’s prayer of praise not only glorifies God, but expresses stunning awe at what God was planning to do.

What Can We Learn?
1. This prayer of praise came in response to God’s declaration that he was going to build a house (dynasty) for David.
2. David’s prayer shows that he was stunned that God would make such a promise to him.
3. Note the elements of history, repentance and gratitude included in the prayer.
4. It is also important to identify specific statements of the following elements of the prayer:
a) Praise
b) Acknowledgement
c) Awe and amazement
d) Glorification of God’s name
e) Magnifying God’s name
f) Courage
5. Despite being stunned at God’s promise, David also accepts the promise, rather than refuse it.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you think David started to think about the disparity between his house and God’s?
2. Were there some things that David misunderstood about God?
3. What did Nathan mean when he first told David to go ahead with his plans for God was with him?
4. What is the “house” God built for David?
5. Who is the “descendant” of verse 12?
6. What are some implications of verse 16?
7. Why do you think David was so surprised, stunned, shocked?
8. Why do you think David repeatedly used the term “servant” to refer to himself?
7. How does Acts 2:29 relate to God’s promise and David’s prayer?
8. In what ways do we still benefit from God’s promise to David?

(Friday, 10-19-2007) Prayer 15 - David's Praise for Deliverance

2 Samuel 22:1-51

Not all of David’s songs (or psalms) are found in the book of Psalms. One of them is found in this passage. However, there is a great similarity between this passage and Psalm 18.

2 Sam. 22:1 says that these were words directed toward God on the day that David felt secure from all his enemies. It appears that there was not just one precipitating event that produced this psalm of praise, but a series of events, for which David thanked and recognized God as the one who gave him all he needed to face the stresses of life.

The value of passages like this is that they help us understand the heart of thanksgiving and praise.

What Can We Learn?
1. There are numerous terms used in this prayer identifying God’s perceived role in David’s life:
a) Rock
b) Fortress
c) Deliverer
d) Shield
e) Horn of Salvation
f) Stronghold
g) Refuge
h) Lamp
2. It is important to note the sense of helplessness and desperation that David experienced. It is this realization of powerlessness that often moves people to seek and accept God’s help.
3. Some of the beautiful statements of God’s help are found here:
a) Who is God, besides the Lord? And who is a rock, besides our God?
b) He makes my feet like hinds feet, and sets me on my high places.
c) The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be God the rock of my salvation

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you think that David had this kind of response when he reached a point where he felt secure from his enemies?
2. What terms would you use that would be more modern but equally descriptive of God?
3. Discuss your ideas about the meaning or implications of 2 Sam 22:21 -28.
4. What are the implications of the rhetorical questions asked in 22:32?

Welcome to Week 2 (prayers 6-10) of the 40 Great Prayers of the Bible

If you are not receiving the weekly reminder e-mail please let me know at

:-) Christina

(Monday, 10-08-07) Prayer 6 - Moses’ Second Prayer for Israel

Exodus 32:30-34

Israel had sinned while Moses was on the mountain receiving the Commandments from God, by making and worshiping a golden calf. When God wanted to destroy them, Moses pleaded for God to remember His covenant, and not destroy the people.

Then Moses came down from the mountain and saw firsthand, the immorality and idolatry of his people. At Moses’ direction, the Levites killed some 3,000 with the sword.

Then Moses prayed again. This time it was a prayer for forgiveness, a petition for God to relieve the burden of the guilt of their sin.

What Can We Learn?
1. Moses had realized the terrible nature of the people’s sin. Perhaps it didn’t register until he saw it firsthand.

2. Moses understood the need for atonement, but appears to be motivated by the mistaken idea that he could atone for their sins. Regardless, it is a noble attitude that reveals his loving care for Israel.

3. God’s response does not indicate he forgave the sin. Instead, he emphasizes the fact that all who sin will be blotted out of his book.

4. God does relent in his punishment and instructs Moses to continue leading Israel to the Promised Land.

More About Prayer for Forgiveness
1. One cannot pray for forgiveness unless there is an awareness of sin.

2. Forgiveness is ultimately the sole responsibility of God

3. The consequences of not finding God’s forgiveness are awesome.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you think Moses became so angry over Israel’s sin once he saw it firsthand?

2. What are some possible reasons for Israel’s rapid turning to idolatry?

3. What “day” do you think God was referring to in Ex 32:34?

4. On what basis do you think Moses requested forgiveness for his people? In other words, to what would Moses make an appeal for God to forgive sin?

5. What is the implication of God’s statement that all who sin will be blotted out of his book?

(Tuesday, 10-09-07) Prayer 7 - Moses’ Prayer for God's Presence

Exodus 33:12 – 34:9

Following the incident with the golden calf, God remained angry with the Israelites. He no longer remained in their midst, for the people were obstinate and God warned that he may destroy them.

To demonstrate God’s distance from the people, Moses erected a tent of meeting outside the camp, and it was there that he would meet with God and God would speak to him. The people, aware of this distancing by God, mourned.

When God told Moses to continue leading the people to the Promised Land, Moses prayed for his presence among the people.

What Can We Learn?
1. We can see in God’s unwillingness to be present in the midst of the people, an example of His reaction to sin.

2. God’s willingness to continue meeting with Moses demonstrates the fact that He always leaves an opening to appeal to Him, and to seek His will.

3. The idea of a “tent of meeting” will grow in importance as time goes on, with the temple itself becoming known as a “house of prayer,” or a place where the people would meet with the presence of God.

4. Prayer is very much a matter of man coming into the presence of God.

5. A main ingredient to Moses’ prayer was that he might know God.

6. A second main ingredient was that only by God’s presence could people know that Moses was approved, or that the people could be distinguished from all others.

7. In showing himself f to Moses, note the qualities God emphasized about Himself (re: Ex. 34:6 -7)

More About Prayer for God’s Presence
1. The lack of God’s presence is symbolic of God’s rejection of sin and rebellion by man.

2. Seeking God (Heb. 11:6) is the first step of faith for those who want to know, understand, and follow God.

3. You cannot pray if you have no access to God.

4. Those who flee from God’s presence cheat themselves out of access to God in the most difficult times.

5. It is not distance that God desires, but fellowship.

Questions to Ponder
1 Why do you think people feel that God is not near?

2. What kind of things might create distance between us and God?

3. How does a Christian know that God is willing to listen to his/her prayers, regardless of life’s circumstances?

4. Is there a way to avoid any distance between us and God?

(Wednesday, 10-10-07) Prayer 8 - Moses' Prayer of Discouragement

Numbers 11:1—30

Israel had been at Sinai long enough, and God commanded them to move out. They packed the tabernacle and it went before them. The people were now organized, and their leaders had been appointed. God had shown them his care in numerous ways. He had fed them with manna which came with the dew each night. Now, as the camp moved forward, it was toward the promissed land. All was not perfect, however. Though they had traveled only three days into the wilderness, the people complained. They despised the manna, and missed the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic of Egypt. They could not see their future for their present.

What Can We Learn?
1. Moses is not alone is praying for God to take his life (cf. Job 6:8; 1 Kings 19:4; Jonah 4:3)

2. Sometimes we ignore or discount the burden of responsibility and the discouragement that can occur even in the lives of leaders.

3. Moses’ discouragement was triggered by the people’s inability to be satisfied with God’s promises.

4. What do you suppose the people had to forget in order to remember fish, melons, leeks, onions, etc.?

More About Prayer for Discouragement
1. Discouragement can occur rather quickly.

2. Note the rather direct way Moses spoke to God, and the conciliatory manner in which God dealt with Moses.

3. One relief for Moses was in delegating responsibility to others.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you suppose the people complained after only three days travel into the wilderness?

2. If the people desired to return to Egypt, do you think Moses ever thought about returning to being a shepherd?

3. Why did God get angry at the people for complaining, but apparently didn’t get angry with Moses for complaining about the people?

4. What point do you think God was making when he sent the quail into the camp to satisfy their hunger for meat?

5. What kind of things discourages you?

6. How do you express those discouragements to God?

7. What does Moses’ boldness before God tell us about the relationship between them?

8. How does God help you overcome your discouragements?

(Thursday, 10-11-07) Prayer 9 - Moses' Prayer After the People Rebel

Numbers 14:10-20

Having left Sinai, the people of Israel were on the verge of going into the land of promise. Spies were sent out to learn what the land was like, and to gather information about the cities and the people. They returned with good news and bad. First, they reported that the land was rich, flowing with milk and honey. But, they also reported that giants lived there. The conclusion was that they were grasshoppers and incapable of conquering such fortified cities and well-armed people. Only Joshua and Caleb believed it was possible to take the land. At such a negative report, the people rebelled. The people even wanted to stone Moses and Aaron. This did not stop Moses from praying for them.

What Can We Learn?
1. The Israelites were not just complainers, they were habitual complainers.

2. The negative report of the spies was little more than a reflection of the lack of faith by the nation as a whole.

3. Such constant lack of faith and irritating complaining was worthy of God’s condemnation.

4. Moses demonstrated an amazing commitment to his people, pleading for the mercy and forgiveness of God.

5. Moses’ prayer is so effective, that pardon is immediately extended, and God did not destroy them.

6. However, God did not allow that generation of people to see the Promised Land. The people wandered for 40 years, and only Joshua and Caleb would later enter it.

7. Ultimately, God would be glorified through Israel, the very thing Moses feared would not happen if he destroyed Israel.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you think the band of spies was made up of leaders from each of the tribes of Israel?

2. How can we reconcile the fact that God had promised the land to Israel with their conclusion that it was impossible to conquer?

3. Do you think Israel was right or wrong to conclude that they were too weak to defeat the inhabitants of Canaan?

4. What does the negative conclusion of the spies, and the quick response of the people to accept it, say about the level of faith among the Israelites?

5. Why did the people want to stone Moses and Aaron?

6. What was the main thrust of Moses’ argument in his prayer to God and in his effort to gain forgiveness for the people?

7. How does this argument relate to Moses’ faith?

(Friday, 10-12-07) Prayer 10 - Moses' 40 Day Prayer

Deuteronomy 9:18-29

Deuteronomy contains a series of speeches given by Moses to Israel, and in many ways is a summary of the history of this wandering band of God’s people.

In this section, Moses reminded them of the national sin at Sinai when they bowed to a golden calf and rebelled against God.

Moses himself, reveals something about his own prayer life and effort at communicating with God on behalf of his people.

It is another example of prayer that will challenge and encourage us today. Prayer is serious business! Behind it lies the foundation of a deep faith in the one to whom we pray.

What Can We Learn?
1. Moses’ prayer seems to be motivated by two things he knew about God:
A. He understood how much God hated sin, and
B. He understood God was a God of grace and mercy.

2. Moses’ boldness in prayer is not based on some brash confidence in himself, rather it is based on something about God — God’s loving-kindness and faithfulness to his promises.

3. 40 days is a long time to fast and pray. What other Bible character can you think of who did something similar?

4. This is a prayer of sorrow and penitence on behalf of his people. It is motivated by serious attention to sin. This is an attitude often lacking, not only in the Israelites, but in Christians today.

5. Before an appeal can be made for God’s grace and mercy, one must realize the awful problem of sin.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why was it important that the people understand that it wasn’t by their goodness or power that they finally entered the Promised Land, but that it was through God’s power and righteousness?

2. Why did Moses repeatedly tell the people what bad people they had been?

3. What thoughts are generated by Moses’ statements that he had “prayed for Aaron,” and that he prayed to the Lord, “. . . do not destroy Your people?”

4. 9:25 reveals why Moses prayed 40 days. Why do you think it took such a lengthy prayer?

5. Why is the statement of 9:29 so important to Moses’ prayer? Does God need to be reminded, or is there another purpose in those words?

6. What picture of God is being drawn through the prayers of Moses?

7. Can you list at least three ways that Moses’ prayers help us to pray?