22 January 2013

Hindered Prayers

May 27, 2009-birth of our first son Marky who is almost 4
Return and Submit

At BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) we are studying verse by verse in the book of Genesis.  We just got through reading chapters 15, 16 & 17 when Abram becomes Abraham and Sarai becomes Sarah. 

Abraham was promised this amazing covenant and blessing by God because of his faith in God.  He was told he was to be the father of many nations, as many as the stars.

Abraham was told that this child was to come from his own body.  But Abraham was in his 90s at the time and to him this promise probably sounded crazy.  And think of how poor Sarah felt when she was still barren for 10 more years after they were told this news.  In that day and age, and even today, she felt the stigma of being barren for so many years.  I'm sure she wanted very badly to have children with Abraham.  Women who had children were considered so blessed and honored among the other women.  By now being in her 80s and 90s she must've felt it was impossible to ever get pregnant, so she takes matters into her own hands...

She decides to "help" the process along of getting Abraham an heir by giving her Egyptian maidservant Hagar to Abraham so that he could have a child through her.  I guess she felt at least this way God's promise could finally come true and it would save her the agony of waiting.  It was the custom in those days that if you remained barren while you were married to give your female servant to your husband in order that he might have children.  What a sad and horrible custom this must've been for the barren wives who wanted a baby so badly.  And think of these maidservants who probably never even intended on just being a surrogate mother for their masters.  Did anyone ask Hagar how she felt about having a child with Abraham?  Were her feelings even considered?

Ultimately this plan backfires severely on Abraham and Sarah (and causes life long consequences that we can even see amongst the Jews and Muslims today in the Middle East) because Hagar gets very haughty and proud about being able to birth a child for Abraham, and Sarah begins to mistreat Hagar so badly that finally Hagar runs away.

I love this next part because it just shows the love of our Lord. 

Genesis 16:7 Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.

This angel of the Lord is the pre-incarnate Christ.  And Christ is always seeking to woo his people back to himself and show love and kindness to the hurt and to the afflicted.  Here in the wilderness where Hagar runs off to God shows her His love and kindness and tells her she indeed is pregnant with a son.  The Angel of the Lord tells her to return to her mistress and submit herself under her hand.

During our discussion time we talked about how God has placed people in authority over us.  First our parents and teachers, then professors, and bosses, and ultimately our husbands when we get married.  Many women have a hard time with that SUBMIT word.  I think in a way we all do.  It may be at different levels, but all of us have that stubborn rebellious streak in us that want to do our own thing and have our own way instead of submitting.

But if we don't submit to the authority in our lives our prayers could be hindered.  That is such a fear of mine.  I love being able to call upon the Lord at all times and know that He hears me and will answer my request.  But how can we be in the will of God if we are not willing to submit to the authority God has placed over us?  How can we expect a life of blessings when we are not being obedient?  How can we expect God to hear us when we are not listening to Him?

So after reading these chapters I really asked God to show me in any way if my heart is not willing to submit to any of the authorities in my own life.  Only God can show us and reveal that to us.

Return and Submit

vs 10 says, "Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, "I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude."

That your prayers might not be hindered post click here

After reading the above link I saw that it's not only a matter of praying right so we can live a godly life it's a matter of living right that helps us to pray!  So today and this week I will be focusing on being obedient to God and submitting to authority so that I can pray "right" to the Lord and be heard!

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