From E. M. Bounds
Samuel, Man Of Prayer: A Great National Revival Begins
As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. 1 Samuel 12:23
Samuel stands out as one of the Old Testament men who had great influence with God through prayer. God could not deny him anything he asked for. Samuel’s praying always affected God and moved God to do what would not have otherwise been done had he not prayed.
Samuel stands out as a striking illustration of the possibilities of prayer. Prayer was no strange exercise to Samuel. Through him and his praying, God’s cause was brought out of its low, depressed condition. A great national revival began, of which David was one of its fruits.
God, thank You that You use ordinary people, equip them, and guide them to do great things for Your glory. Amen.
E. M. Bounds, The Power of Prayer One-Minute Devotions, compiled by Kobus Sandenbergh from The Necessity of Prayer, Essentials of Prayer, and Power through Prayer by E. M. Bounds, Christian Art Gifts, 2007, entry dated January 25.
So the LORD called a third time, and once more Samuel got up and went to Eli. “Here I am. Did you call me?” Then Eli realized it was the LORD who was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went back to bed. And the LORD came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:8-10)
Are you listening for God to speak to you? Samuel’s prayer in 1 Samuel 3:10, can be prayed by God’s people at any time: “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.” During times of rest or rushing, stillness or strife, trials or tranquility, great comfort can be found in these six words.
Pray This Out Loud
And the LORD came and called as before, “your name! your name!” And your name replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”
Who knows? This may be the beginning of a national revival.
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A Word From PAGA About Samuel, Prayer, National Revivals, Stuff Like That
Samuel the prophet ministered during Israel’s greatest sea change—from a priestly rule to a monarchy—kings and priests both being agents of God. Though Samuel is well-known because of his late-night calling from God, he was also involved in some of Israel’s greatest historical circumstances.
The events of Samuel’s life presented difficult and perhaps “unpopular” God-commissioned tasks. From leaving his parents at a young age, to telling Eli the destruction God had spoken concerning Eli’s family; from dealing with the people demanding a king, to the rejection of Saul as King; to the anointing of David, the youngest of 7 sons as King of Israel, to informing Saul of his imminent death; Samuel’s life was filled with unpopular and difficult tasks, nevertheless, it was one of complete obedience to God.
The details of 1 Samuel 15 concerning Israel’s commission against Amalek and their king Agag profoundly displays King Saul’s lack of an obedient heart towards God. And it highlights another of Samuel’s difficult and unpopular tasks.
Because of Saul’s disobedience, and it wasn’t the first time, God rejects him as king. Samuel is severely grieved over the word spoken by God and is tasked with informing the arrogant, yet low self-esteemed Saul, that he is toast.
And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the LORD sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the LORD?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the LORD. I have gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.” 22 And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:17-23
Then the gentle prophet does something seemingly out of character.
Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. 1 Samuel 15:22-23
Though some readers may be taken aback by Samuel’s action, it is compatible with what we know of the Prophet. Perhaps the hacking to pieces seems “unjust” to our modern sensitivities and notions of humanitarianism (which are select at best). But obedience to God means just that. And for all practical purposes, Samuel was the leader of Israel, God’s representative on earth. Leaders have to make tough decisions, set the pace, lead the way. The way for the nation of Israel was obedience to God’s commands.
Today, God still speaks to His people through one person—Jesus Christ. All who put their faith in Christ have been given the Holy Spirit.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13
We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. 2 Corinthians 5:20
Christ is the Head of the Church and His people are all parts of the One Body. Sometimes we may be called to do “unpopular” and difficult tasks. We probably won’t be called to hack a pagan king to pieces, but as Christ’s Body, God’s representative on earth, we must make tough decisions, set the pace, lead the way—be salt and light. The way for our nation is obedience to God’s commands.
Can you think of a better way to start than by praying?
Samuel was a man of prayer whose obedience was the beginning of a great national revival.
Let’s pray for our nation, our people. our leaders, the Church, each other, and our nation’s enemies within. Let’s pray for an obedient heart no matter how unpopular or difficult our God-ordained tasks may be.
No one can guarantee what God will do. But based on His Word, it will be awesome!