The Bible is more than just an amazing historical record of God's redemption plan for all mankind, for all time. It is a living breathing document, occupied by the Spirit of God for the man or woman of God's instruction. It is also a book of Prayer as well as the Book of Life!
The Bible is also full of the most amazing prayers ever prayed and prayers which should illustrate to us: both how we should pray; when we should pray and sometimes how we should not pray!
Prayer was not just for the saints mentioned in God's Word or for when there is a tragedy or a health emergency but it is the only methodology, given by God, by which we stay connected to the Creator and...to tell you the truth, it is the only way to live an authentic Christian life. To that end, I chose the very first Scriptures ever written (chronologically) - the Book of Job and to briefly look at some of the prayerful offerings of that great man. Moses wrote the Torah, the Book of Beginnings (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) around 1500 BC but Job was alive before the time of Abraham (2000 BC) and was closer to creation than anyone else mentioned in detailed. In fact, God Himself, through the Power of His Spirit, revealed more details in the Book of Job. The trials and thoughts of Job are of great significance to Christians today because many of us would either go through similar circumstances and still get it wrong about God. Therefore, it is worthwhile to examine the way he prayed what Scripture reveals in relation to it, knowing that Scripture explains inspired- Scripture.
So, here is Prayer #1, gleaned from The Book of Job:
"Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." (Job 1:20-22)
There are some really important observations here:
1. Job's ripping off his mantle shows his rank in his society at the time, which was very high and of tremendous wealth and importance. Still, he threw off his earthly rank, shaved his head and humbled himself. Since this was before the Law of the Lord, (over 500 years before it was given to Moses), Job was not violating the Torah but simply showing his inner knowledge of his Creator who gave that high position in society to begin with. For us, the lesson is to never forget that we are who we are, and where we are because of Whose we are! It is all about God and nothing else. He owns everything, made everything and controls everything and nothing moves without Him.
2. After humbling himself, by the act described in point #1, Job went face down before the Lord and worshiped Him! The lesson for us is this - when we cry out to God in times of huge trouble, do not be surprised if the answer back from Abba is "Seek My Face"! He said so Himself in Psalm 27:7-8 "Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. In times of personal trauma and trouble - worship your way out of crisis. I have found this to be true.
3. Acknowledge Him. Job realized from when cometh both his help and his trials...and praised God for both "the Lord gave and the Lord taketh away....". Can we bless God and glorify Him in times of sickness, financial disaster and other catastrophes? This is the test!
4. Do not blaspheme God in your trials. Job never sinned in that sense. It is absolutely human to question God and ask "why me"....or "God, how could You let this happen to me (us...or such and such a person)! Who has not done that? However, please be careful even in your questioning of God as it can go over the line as Job did in the long discourses in the middle of the Book of Job. How God answered Job was amazing and a study for another time. The lesson here is question the Lord respectfully and accept His explanation, which most likely will be "wait or My Grace is sufficient for thee"!