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Samuel was one of the greatest intercessors for Israel. He is mentioned with Moses in Jer 15:1. They were the two greatest intercessors Israel ever had. And we know that his prayers were effectual because 1 Sam 7:9 says “the Lord heard him.” How did Samuel become such a great intercessor for Israel? Who shaped Samuel’s prayer life?
Samuel’s mother shaped his prayer life – 1 Sam 1:10-12, 26-27; 1 Sam 2:1 – his life was the result of prayer. The Lord brought him into the world in answer to Hannah’s prayer. He was a child when he was lent to the Lord. Yet even in his early childhood, his prayer life was shaped by his mother. Have you ever considered how much Moses’ life was shaped by his mother’s prayers when she nursed him? Ex 2:7-10. Joel Dunbar said, “My mother practiced at home what my father preached at church.” Joel saw his mother reading her Bible and praying in her chair every single morning. These left a lasting impression on him. Mothers, you cannot imagine the great influence you have on your children’s prayer life and faith. In this regard Samuel was like Timothy, whose faith began with his mother and grandmother, 2 Tim 1:5.
God shaped Samuel’s prayer life – 1 Sam 3:21 – God revealed himself to Samuel. When the Lord first revealed himself to Samuel in 1 Sam 3:4, 6-7, 8, 10, Samuel responded. He listened to the Lord. He didn’t ignore the calls from the Lord. He wasn’t distracted. He was attentive and responsive. The same is true of Moses. When the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush, Ex 3:2-4, Moses turned aside to see the bush and the Lord called him out of the bush. These men did not ignore the Lord when he wanted to reveal himself to them.
Do you know that the Lord wants to reveal himself to your children? In Lk 10:21-22 the reveals things unto babes. The Son reveals the Father to whom he chooses. I believe that young people miss the Lord’s attempt to reveal himself to them because they are not interested or they are distracted. And so they don’t know the Lord. At 12 years old Jesus knew his Father’s business, Lk 2:49. Your prayer life is so much more effectual when you know who you’re talking to.
Israel shaped Samuel’s prayer life – 1 Sam 7:3-12 – Israel was in a bad way. Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas were terrible priests. These are the priests by and with whom Samuel was raised. Israel was worshipping Baal and Ashtaroth. The Lord had delivered Israel into the hand of the Philistines. They needed help desperately. And so Samuel prayed for them. They needed someone praying for them who knew how to pray and who knew God. Samuel was the man. Some of the best intercessors are the folks who have had to deal with some of the worst situations in life. Moses had to deal with the rebellious children of Israel for forty years in the wilderness. He certainly knew how to pray after that. And Samuel had to deal with wicked Israel. A rough family or bad circumstances in your life can be used to make you quite an intercessor.
The Lord heard him and the Philistines were subdued. Do you realize how important these words “the Lord heard him” are in your life? God heard Jesus and saved him from death, Heb 5:7. God hearkened unto Joshua and made the sun and the moon stand still, Jos 10:14. We need to know that God hears and answers our prayers.
Samuel shaped Samuel’s prayer life – 1 Sam 12:23 – after realizing that God had given Hannah a miraculous birth and that Hannah had given Samuel such a great start in prayer, and that God had revealed himself to Samuel, and that Israel needed him to pray, Samuel just got about the business of interceding continually for Israel. He said, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.” He knew that he would be sinning against the Lord if he didn’t pray for Israel. He was like Moses who prayed and cried unto the Lord for Israel through the entire wilderness journey. There should come a time in your life when you realize that one of the greatest things you can do for others is to pray for them without ceasing, 1 Thes 5:17.
Conclusion: people have complained that so much has changed with the coronavirus. One thing that hasn’t been affected at all is your ability to pray. If anything, you may have more time to pray now than you did before. And certainly the need for prayer has increased. Will you take it upon yourself to pray? Consider, parents, how your prayer will shape your children’s desire to pray. Consider, young people, how God wants to reveal himself to you. He wants you to know who you’re praying to. He wants you to know that he’s listening. Consider that the trouble our country is in and the difficulties you may have experienced are, in reality, compelling you to pray. Instead of criticizing, commenting, and complaining, pray. These needs make you a better intercessor. And consider that you sin against the Lord when you can pray and don’t. Pray, brethren.