Praying Selflessly

In Samuel, Hannah, married to Elkanah, couldn’t have children and Hannah desperately wanted to give her husband a child.  In those days, if you couldn’t have a child, you were considered inferior.  Peninnah was also married to Elkanah and she taunted Hannah about not being able to have children, driving Hannah to the point of tears.  Also, in those times, if you couldn’t have children you were looked at as inferior.

Hannah wanted to give Elkanah a child so bad, she prayed this prayer: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you.  He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut” (Holy Bible Gift & Award Edition, New Living Translation, Second Edition 2007) And the Lord blessed Hannah with a son, she named Samuel.  You can read more about Samuel in the Bible.

This is Jesus’ instructions to his disciples when asked how to pray: Luke 11:1 “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.  2. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  3. Give us day by day our daily bread.  4. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Holman KJV Study Bible 2012)

Hannah wanted a to give Elkanah a son so bad, she dedicated him to the Lord, for his service.  When we pray, are we praying for our own selfish desires?  Or are we praying to honor the Lord, for God’s glory? 

I was recently listening to a daily devotional from an old Air Force friend and he inspired this article.  It’s easy to justify just about anything, when we pray.  I just recently bought a truck and I prayed that if it was God’s will, I would be able to buy it, that it would still be there when I went to look at it and that I would be approved for the loan.  I also said that I would use the truck to haul things in, like firewood, or whatever, trash to the dump.  I mean everyone in Arkansas has a truck, but like I said, it’s easy to justify it to the Lord, but is it really justified in God’s mind?  I was able to purchase the vehicle.  I use it to go fishing and it’s better to drive down dirt roads, than my other vehicles.  I make sure to thank God for allowing me to have it, every day. 

But we must be careful when we pray to ask ourselves, are we praying for our own satisfaction, or are we praying worshipfully?  Are we ready to hand over our children to the Lord for his service, like Hannah did, or are we praying for their health and safety so we can hold on to them longer? 

Are we praying to be able to use our possessions to glorify God and for his will to be done, or are we simply asking for things to fulfil our selfish desires?  I hope that is not the case with the purchase of the truck.

If we are not careful, our selfish desires could turn out to be things we idolize or covet and that would anger God.  We’ve read many times in the Bible not to have false idols, whether it be worshipping false Gods or possibly other things we could idolize.  We certainly want to put God first in everything we do. 

Kobe Bryant recently passed away, I am sympathetic towards his family and friends, but we must be careful not to idolize entertainers, actors, athletes or anyone else.  We now have the Corona virus wreaking havoc on the World, and it could be because we are not putting God first, we need to turn back to God.  I especially feel bad for the lost people that do not know Jesus. 

I’m guilty of this, my password should be based off Jesus.  I should do a better job of putting Jesus first.

One question we can ask ourselves when we pray is: How is my prayer seeking God’s glory?  Or is my prayer for my own selfish desires?  We need to pray more like Hannan did.