“…as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.” —1 Samuel 12:23 NKJV
As Christians, we often talk in our daily conversations with our friends, acquaintances, and family members about God and His character. We share what God has done for us in the past by protecting us, healing us, forgiving our sins, and giving us His power to live a renewed life. We also share with others examples from the Bible when God gave deliverance and arranged events to show His power, love, concern, and mercy. Is it possible that the testimonies and experiences we share when talking about God to those around us are actually a form of prayer?
When you read the story of Rahab (Joshua 2), she recounted to the spies the stories she and the people of Jericho had heard about the miracles God had provided for Israel. She recounted the Red Sea deliverance from Pharaoh 40 years previously, to the victories over the Amorites, Sihon, and Og. Rahab admitted that everyone in the city was fearful. However, I find it interesting that she was the only person in Jericho moved to turn from her former gods, and place her trust in Israel’s God based only on stories and hearsay! Rahab then proclaimed her faith by stating, “The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” Wasn’t this statement a prayer of faith?
We understand that the Psalms, even though originally hymns to be sung, are actually prayers to God. Read Psalm 136 to see an expansion of the very sentiments and historical recounting of Rahab’s prayer. Not yet understanding her ability for direct access to God, Rahab made her request to God through the two spies.
However, Rahab went beyond asking for her own personal wellbeing. She exercised trust, belief, and faith on behalf of her father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all their families! This is another characteristic of prayer and the Christian life — to intercede for others and ask God to save them as well. We have the opportunity and even responsibility to request of God the needs and desires of our friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and family members, asking Him to achieve His purpose in their lives according to His will (John 17:20-23).
Have you ever been with a study group of Christians and at the close everyone around the circle asks the others to remember a friend or family member going through spiritual or health problems? It has occurred to me that even though there is a formal prayer repeating the requests, we have actually been praying to God by making our requests to each other in simple conversation. This is not to say we should discontinue the formal prayer, but that we should recognize our requests and concerns have actually been a form of prayer.
We all enjoy talking with others and do it all the time. Therefore, let us commit to prayer without ceasing, sharing the wonderful works of God, lifting our hearts and the hearts of those we converse with, in prayer.
Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University. A shorter version of this story first appeared in the Pioneer Memorial Church bulletin on July 19, 2014. It is reprinted here with permission.
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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9561