Growing in Prayer: Lesson Two
The Bible's Stubbiest Prayers
Nehemiah quivered in fright when the mighty king of Persia asked him why he looked so sad when he wasn't ill. Nehemiah "prayed to the God of heaven" before asking the king's permission to return to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-5).
Nehemiah's prayer was little more than a pause, a moment to garner his courage before making his request. But the brief prayer rested on a foundation of several days of mourning, fasting, and praying (Nehemiah 1:6-11).
Jabez, a man "more honorable than his brothers," cried out his brief prayer: "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory. Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." Scripture tells us that God granted Jabez's concise request (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). The lesson-writer suggests that Jabez "felt the need to be protected from painful pressure--and maybe physical harm. He believed having more land would give him the uffer he sorely needed, and therefore, that's what he asked God for (p. 70).
Peter cried out, "Lord save me!" when he began to sink. "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him" (Matthew 14:30-31). His panicky prayer was quickly answered with a saving hand. "So we, too, can get in 'over our heads' and can be assured that Jesus will be there to pull us to safety" (p. 71).
Three short prayers uttered in times of distress, pain, and panic. Each prayer answered because the heart of the person uttering the prayer belonged to God.
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