The last prayer passage dealt with outside pressures and crises. This one addresses some internal problems having to do with the rich taking advantage of the poor. In a modern Western society that has no abject poverty, what can we learn from this prayer?read more
There are hundreds of prayers in the scriptures of Jews and Christians. They are incredibly rich and diverse, and make many modern prayers seem dull and lifeless. They are exciting, difficult, funny, and even disturbing. We’re using them to shake up our own prayers and:
- Understand the purpose of prayer
- Discover new styles and ways of praying (that are not really new at all).
- Become more confident in where, what, how, and when to pray.
- Enrich prayer in ways you may never have thought possible.
Sometimes God calls us to do unexpected things—perhaps life-changing, perhaps just altering a daily course. But rather than dive right into action, the right thing might be to spend time in serious, open prayer, like Nehemiah.read more
As the book of Ezra focused on rebuilding the Temple and learning to be faithful, so the book of Nehemiah focuses on rebuilding the walls of the city and learning to be faithful. These themes are also found in the prayers, and provide an excellent study for our own prayers when we seek renewal of our faith.read more
In the ancient world, having children was perhaps more important than today, since they viewed having children as the only way to gain “immortality.” Just as Abraham and Sarah did not conceive for a long time, so also their son Isaac and his wife Rebekah could not conceive. Their story, and their prayers, can help us learn how to petition and inquire of God.read more
The prayers found in the book of Ezra take place during a unique time in the history of Israel: the King of Persia sends Ezra to lead a large group of Jews back to their homeland after decades of exile. They are to rebuild the Temple and restore their religious practices and worship.
In such a unique period, we might think the prayer would be so specific that they would offer us little to learn for our own prayers. But, like so many other prayers in the Bible, there are always new perspective and insights.read more
Have you ever cried while praying? Actually cried out loud? I don’t know of many who admit to it, but lot of people in scripture do so. Maybe it is a difference in cultures: people of Middle East (both ancient and modern), tend to be more demonstrative than do Westerners. In this study, we have our first encounter in the Bible with someone who cries as she prays to God.read more
Why, in this story, is divorce the solution to the people’s sin? There are other passages of scripture which declare that God hates. It is the context of the story that can help us understand the prayer, the divorce, and the terrible and unintended consequences of wrongdoing.read more
This is the first intercession—a prayer for someone else—offered in the Bible. Abraham prays for a foreign king who took Abraham's wife, Sarah. Interestingly, he only took her because Abraham had told him she was single! What is going on in this story, why did the...read more
What is a prayer of confession? Often, such prayers are an admittance of guilt followed by a petition for forgiveness. But this prayer, by Ezra, is a pure prayer of confession—no requests, no excuses, no reasons. A difficult prayer to offer, but one of power.read more
It is not always Israelites or Christians who offer prayers in the Bible. Sometimes pagans do. Does God here those prayers? What can we learn from them for our own prayers? This episode explores the blessing-prayer given by the pagan priest Melchizedek upon Abram....read more
Want a free book on prayer?
Join Markus’ Readers Group.
Also available as individual volumes for each biblical book.