Learning from the prayers of the Bible
This is the first in a series of Bible studies on prayer. they are designed with a view to improve, enhance, assuage, concretize, establish and ground your prayer life.
I shall be taking the prayers of the Bible at random, highlighting the nuggets I have seen and outlining the lessons from them.
As you apply the lessons to your prayer life, have no doubt that your prayer life willnot only be enriched but taken to a New Dimension.
Learning from Ezra
Prayerfully read Ezra9:6-15
1. Passion and emotion involved Ezra 9:6 O my God, v10 But now, O Our God, v15 O Lord, God of Israel
2. Humility- I am too ashamed to lift up my face to you, my God because-He does not come pretending that all is right or because he is right everything is ok. He acknowledges that he has a responsibility to God and his people; and the peoples’ sin is his sin; he cannot brush things under the carpet v6
3. The enormity of sin- tells you how bad sin is; create a barrier, a brazen wall an impenetrable cloud between us and God Isa 59:2 recognises this in his choice of words- ‘great guilt’, v13 ‘what has happened is the result of our great guilt…’
4. Intercession :He is praying not just himself but his people- a selfless prayer, a type of prayer we must grow into- praying with all kinds of prayer, Jesus daily lives to make intercession for us, the Holy spirit intercedes for us; he is our advocate; 1Tim2:1 tells to make intercession and thanks giving for everyone, Neh 1:5-11
5. Generational sin acknowledged- snowballing of repercussions v7 from the days of our forefathers, we and our kings and our priests
6. Consequences of sin specificity of effects: sword (death), captivity (bondage, slavery, imprisonment, being carried away, exile, refugee status like an asylum seeker), pillage (destruction, damage, not just physical but your psyche) humiliation (disgrace, face covered with shame)
7. Grace amidst sin: v8 ‘Our God has been gracious..’ window of opportunity to escape: Good’s mercy 1Cor10:13; God makes a way of escape; gives room for turning, repentance. The question is: Will you see it; the olive branch v8 God left a remnant; they could have all been wiped out, but God spared their lives
8. Acknowledges what God has done: v8 ‘gives light to our eyes’ has not deserted them, still faithful, loyal
Shown them kindness, granted favour before a foreign king of Persia
9. New life for a purpose: v9
• to rebuild house; as with the physical so the spiritual; because we are his temple, his dwelling place 1 cor6:18-20 your body is a temple of God, 2Cor 6:16 what agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the Living God….
• repair ruins.: regain lost grounds; repent, walk with God wholeheartedly
10- v11. Interjection of the scriptures in his prayer suggesting he knew the scripture and knew how to apply it in prayer; praying the word; even if it is convicting them ‘the land you’re going to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its people. By their detestable practices…do not give your daughters.. do not take their daughters; do not seek a treaty of friendship…; God did not want any accommodation, compromise or truce, Rom12:1-2,. 1 Cor6:18-20, 2Cor 6:18
11. He justified how God treated them; and that God was even lenient with them in other words ‘We merit being wiped out’; they were not better than those who had died; it was by the grace of God that they were alive
12. Rhetoric questions: These are questions whose answers we know; questions with obvious answers.’ shall we again break your commands and intermarry .. ?Ro 12:-1-2, 2cor6:16, 1Cor 6:18-20, 1John2:15-17, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life, gen3, Matt4, Luke 4; would you not be angry…?
13. Here we are before you – waiting for God’s response.
14. There was great response by the people as they surrounded him and acknowledged their sins themselves, owning up to, agreeing to what he said Ezra10
• Let your emotions be involved, be passionate- O Lord, my God.. 2Chro20, Neh1
• We must come to God in humility especially when we have sinned
• Move from praying just for yourself to intercessory prayer -pray for others- the Church , your Church , the nation, your leaders
• Know that sin create a big barrier between us and God
• Don’t brush aside sin acknowledge it confess it forsake it, even for others as you stand in the gap
"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”Ezek.22:30
• Beware of generational sins, confess it if the Holy Spirit brings it to your attention
• We must identify the specific consequences of sin and seek to be delivered we don’t want spiritual death, bondage, imprisonment by Satan or the World or our bad habits keeping us from entering our Promised land , the best of the Land Isa1:19
• We must always acknowledge the grace of God and take any window of opportunity He gives us to repent.
• God is always there it is we who are lost and need to find Him, run to Him seek Him while He ay be found, those who seek Him, find Him, ‘If you seek me, you will find me if you seek me with all you your heart.’ Jer29:13; God’s light comes when we’re searching the darkness
• Use rhetoric questions for effect from time to time; ‘Are you not the one who said ….’
• God grants us favour- unmerited blessings, mercy, kindness from unexpected quarters
• Your New Life is for as purpose. Find out that purpose and fulfil it.
• Your restoration is for a purpose; find what it is and fulfil it- rebuilding repairing, refuel, rededicate, renew pledge, confess your sin unreservedly, confess the word
• When you finish praying, wait in expectation. Psalm5:3, 2Chro20:12-13
May the Lord trasform your prayer life as you apply these truths.