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The Power of Prayer

Are you old enough to remember the popular song entitled “What the World Needs Now is Love,” or maybe you’ve heard it in a commercial? It was a hit song that came out in 1965. The music was composed by Burt Bacharach with lyrics by Hal David and was sung by Jackie DeShannon originally. The chorus goes like this: What the world needs now is love, sweet love It’s the only thing that there’s just to little of What the world needs now is love, sweet love No not for some, but for everyone. Sorry for the forthcoming earworm/brainworm. While I agree with the concept that the world needs love now more than ever (especially God’s agape love), I think what the world really needs is prayer, powerful prayer. Prayer is needed for the citizens and nation of Ukraine, the Divided States of America, and the entire world, which are under attack from the spirit of anti-Christ. This evil entity (both human and demonic) wages war against the word and will of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and against those of us who believe in Him. Of course Jesus is our perfect example of a prayer warrior (David was very good as well). Even though Jesus was the Son of God the Father, he constantly prayed to His heavenly Father. Once while he was praying in a certain place (usually alone) and after he had ceased, one of the disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So he said to them (in what would become known as the Lord’s Prayer or the Model Prayer), “When you pray, say:” Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. (Luke 11:2-4) Jesus gave us this simple, yet powerful prayer as an example of how to approach God with our thanks and also our needs. There are many other examples of powerful prayers by God’s chosen people that were heard and answered by God. Let’s take a look at a few of them. During the time of the judges of Israel, when Eli was judge of Israel and priest of the tabernacle, there was a certain man from the tribe of Ephraim, named Elkanah, who had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other was Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. Peninnah would provoke Hannah severely, to make her miserable because the Lord had closed her womb (presumably). Elkanah and his family would go from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. One time while in Shiloh, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head” (1 Samuel 1:11). Regarding the giving of her yet unborn son to the Lord, let’s take a closer look at this concept. During the time of the Exodus, the Lord told Moses and the children of Israel to consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine” (Exodus 13:15). The firstborn of all clean, male animals (cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) were God’s and they were sacrificed to Him. Those animals appear to represent the Egyptian firstborn (Exodus 13:14) that were killed during the 10th plague of Egypt, and thus represent a sin offering. The Israelites were to redeem or “buy back” the firstborn of their children by offering a lamb in its place or even to buy them back using gold or silver. Originally it appears that God set apart all firstborn children as His to be used in His service. However, when He instituted the Levitical priesthood, He substituted Levite priests for His service in place of the other tribes. Hannah, in making her vow, chose not to redeem or buy back her son; that is if God chose to open her womb and give her a male child. She would give her firstborn son to the Lord for His service. He would also be a Nazarite, to separate himself to the Lord. A Nazarite did not drink wine and similar drink or eat fresh grapes or raisins. “All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord, he shall be holy” (Numbers 6:5). Sure enough, Hannah eventually bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” Hannah waited until the child was weaned before taking him to the house of the Lord (the tabernacle) in Shiloh. She brought the child to the priest/judge Eli and she told him: “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:26-28). So they worshiped the Lord there. And Hannah prayed: HANNAH’S PRAYER My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, And the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, And she who has many children has become feeble. The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes And make them inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He has set the world upon them. He will guard the feet of His saints, But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king, And exalt the horn of His anointed.

Hannah’s prayer was one of gratitude, thanksgiving, and glorification to the Lord. It also was partially prophetic as verse 10 describes King Jesus. I believe while she was praying, God gave her prophetic insight into future events. What a powerful prayer and answer it was! Then Elkanah and Hannah went to their house at Ramah. But the child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest. The faithfulness of Hannah is truly remarkable. She had wanted and waited on a son for such a long time, only to give him up to the Lord for His ministry. Hannah had made a vow to the Lord and kept up her end of the bargain. The Lord answered Hannah’s petition and opened her womb. As a matter of fact, she eventually bore three more sons and two daughters. Hannah would visit her son, Samuel, when the family would come up to Shiloh to offer the yearly sacrifice. After Eli and his wicked sons died, Samuel became the judge of Israel. He was also a prophet of the Lord, like Moses. “The Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh, For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (1 Samuel 3:19-21). Samuel was a righteous judge of Israel. He promised the children of Israel if they would put away the pagan gods of the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and serve the Lord only, then He would deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. The people repented of their idol-worshipping ways and obeyed Samuel’s word from the Lord. The Philistines came against Israel while they gathered at Mizpah. The Israelites told Samuel to cry out to the Lord God for help so that He might save them from the Philistines. Samuel offered a suckling lamb as a burnt offering to the Lord and then cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. The Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. The men of Israel pursued the Philistines and drove them back beyond their borders. So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. Israel recovered the lands and cities that they had lost to the Philistines and there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. Hannah’s powerful prayer and petition to the Lord had been answered and was a blessing to not only her, but to all of Israel. Samuel lived long enough to crown both Saul and David as king/s of Israel. David had this to say about Samuel: Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them. He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar; They kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them. You answered them, O Lord our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, Though You took vengeance on their deeds. Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy. (Psalm 99:6)

The Lord told Jeremiah the prophet, “Then the Lord said to me, Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people (Judah). Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth” (Jeremiah 15:1). Moses and Samuel were the first two prophets of Israel. After the Holy Spirit had come at Pentecost and the Church was conceived, Peter was healing and preaching at the temple and spoke of Moses and Samuel and all the prophets who followed. “They had foretold of a coming Prophet (Jesus) who they were to hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people. Yes, all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days” (Acts 3:22-24). Could the first two prophets of the Lord (Moses and Samuel) be the last two prophets/witnesses of Revelation 11:3 during the time of the Tribulation as spoken of by John, the apostle of Jesus? Only time will tell. As for the Church, we will be “sitting on the sidelines” in heaven watching the gameplay out on the earth. Of course, we know the outcome, for the prophets and the Bible, have told us. The Holy Trinity beats the unholy trinity in a blow-out. In the meantime, we should be praying like Hannah for lost souls to come to Christ, while there is still time before that imminent (and when you least expect it) event known as the pre-Tribulation Rapture occurs. Amen, even so, come Lord Jesus, in the twinkling of an eye. Randy Nettles nettlesr@suddenlink.net

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