Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 12.19-25
Then all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king.” 20 Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit or deliver, because they are futile. 22 For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24 Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.” 1 Samuel 12.19-25
Samuel is a great example of a man of God who was faithful to pray for those under his leadership, even when they sinned and failed to obey the Lord. We might say Samuel like Moses was a praying prophet (Ps. 99:6). When the people rebelled, and sought other gods, Samuel interceded for them and God answered his prayers (1 Sam 7:5). When the people wanted a king like the ungodly nations around them, Samuel prayed and sought a word from God (1 Sam. 8:6).
Prayer was not just an optional activity for Samuel, it was central to his ministry. To fail to pray was sin (vs. 23). He was faithful not only to pray, but to communicate God’s truth clearly so the people would repent of their sinful ways and serve the Lord with all their heart. God used Samuel to judge His people in righteousness. When they finally realized that they sinned by requesting an earthly king they asked Samuel to pray for them (vs. 19).
God commands each of us to pray for one another, and if necessary to encourage a fellow believer to repent, just like Samuel does in this passage. Intercessory prayer is not just the responsibility for our pastors and elders. Each of us as believer priests can intercede for others that God’s will would be done in their lives. James writes that “… the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). Do you believe that? If so, join me in making prayer a priority for this new year, looking to God to do great things as we claim His promises and trust Him to answer.
Weekly Memory Verse: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.7