Blog — Praying Through the Bible
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.
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.
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...
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.
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....
Do you fast as a spiritual exercise? For ancient Jews and Christians, fasting was almost exclusively used in conjunction with prayer—petition, to be precise. This story of Ezra, fasting, and prayer demonstrate why fasting and prayer go together.
In this episode, we explore the prayer of Noah: a curse-prayer and two blessing-prayers. Noah curses his son Canaan and his descendants, but blesses his two sons Ham and Japheth and their descendants. What does this mean, and, for our purposes, what is a curse prayer, and should we ever pray one ourselves?
The separation of Church and State is written into the U.S. Constitution, a result of modern historical realities. But for believers, the separation—and connections—is found even in the ancient book of Ezra. This prayer gives us some insights into how prayer plays a part in the interaction between the State and our faith.
In Part 3 examining types of prayers, Dr. McDowell explores some of the more unusual prayers we can pray: vows, blessings, and curses. Are these all still legitimate prayers that we can pray in modern times? If so, how can curses fit into a loving Christian prayer...
Just as God used King Cyrus of Persia to further his plans for the Jews, and Cyrus offered a prayer to him, King Darius of Persia did the same, many years later. What do these prayers by unbelievers teach us about prayer and the work of God? How should a believer live under a State that does not share that faith?