Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Princess Who Prays

Throughout Scripture, women who devoted intense time to prayer have made radical contributions to the Christian faith. First, consider the model set by Hannah. (You remember - Samuel's mom!) Like most women, Hannah wanted a child badly..infact, she was so upset the Bible says that she couldn't eat and she cried a lot. However, after she prayed to the Lord about this desire, she “went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad” (1 Sam 1:18). Notice that Hannah prayed as a first response to her problem....not a last resort. I know there are so many times that I try to solve a situation by myself. When I can't do it, THEN I turn to God. But that's totally backwards of the way it should be. I should go to God first and then respond how He tells me too. Hannah had it in the right order. Not only that, but she prayed in such a way that when she finished, she had peace because she knew she had given her burden to God. She trusted Him to provide. Hang on - it gets even better. When God did give her a child, Hannah acknowledged that Samuel was a result of her prayers, and she dedicated her child to the Lord (1 Sam 1:27-28). Instead of taking credit for her blessing, she gave credit where credit was due. Do you take time to acknowledge the good things that God does for you, or do you take all the glory for yourself? Well, Hannah's faith, prayers, and obedience paid off. Samuel grew into a godly man, and the success he accumulated for the kingdom of God can all link back to the intense prayers of his mother.

After Jesus ascended into heaven, many of those who followed Jesus gathered together in an upper room in Jerusalem. Acts 1:14 says the apostles and “these all gathered with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” During this intimate time with God, the women of Jesus’ earthly ministry gathered with His twelve apostles and family to pray for the continuation of His ministry. Considering that fact that the church is continuing over 2,000 years later, one can determine these women’s prayers were heard and honored. In Paul’s first letter to Corinth, he also gives specific instructions on how women are to pray in the church (1 Cor 11:5,13). We can see that prayer was a key element to women’s involvement in God’s Word.

Women continue to have drastic influence with prayer. In 1877, Mrs. Darwin James became burdened for the spiritual regression in America and initiated a prayer movement across Protestant denominational leaders. Many church leaders in the United States joined her in her prayers that “justice and decency might rule our national behavior.” In the early 1900’s, Helen Barrett Montgomery and Lucy Waterbury Peabody took the prayer movement even further. On an international trip with their daughters, these women were humbled by the intense prayers of women around the globe. They started what is now celebrated as the World Day of Prayer. The offerings given on this day were used to take Christian literature to women in less fortunate countries. Their vision and efforts continued to grow. By 1961, the offerings taken on the World Day of Prayer helped to establish 11 women’s Christian colleges around the world.

Prayer ministries are a great dynamic within the local church. Women can be involved in continuous prayer for the church staff and lay leaders, the active ministries of the church, and the lost people in the community. History shows that prayer makes a dramatic difference, as prayer often results in God moving mightily. Many people ask today, "Does God still move in mighty ways, like by parting the Red Sea?" The real question we should ask is, "Do we still seek God as much as believers like Moses did?"
A psychologist Timothy Leary has said, “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” Never forget that throughout Scripture, it's obvious that God views men and women as equals in value and importance. But like this quote, women who seek to be identical with men in terms of roles and responsibilities not only lack ambition, but obedience. If women do not fill the roles God has especially gifted them for, who will? These jobs will be left undone in the church. So.... let's quit complaining and passionately begin doing the job that God has given us to do.

No comments:

Esther 4:14b

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"