Power of Prayer

In our Nehemiah (Old Testament book) series we discussed his powerful prayer. An important element of Nehemiah’s prayer is conventual relationship; addressing God this way “…who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments.” (Neh. 1:5).

This is affirmed in more detail in the book “Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out” by Walter Brueggeman (2018). He cites Exodus 2:23 - 23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.

The narrative changes in terms of how the people are identified. Several times in chapter one they are called ‘Hebrews’. The author’s interpretation of the label goes back to Pharaoh’s Egyptian slave community as someone “with no legitimate membership in society and therefore exceedingly vulnerable to the whim of the powerful” (p. 11). Yet, in 2:23, when the Israelites groan, it rises up and is heard by God; “he (God) remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.” No longer are they marginalized, forgotten, oppressed people. God heard their conventual cries, so God looked on the Israelites with concern (vs. 25). The unbearable suffering in the cry of hope that transposes the Hebrews into Israelites, breaking the monopoly of silence that Pharaoh preferred, moves God “from absence, to notice, to recognize, to promise.”

What does that mean for you and me? What is our God construct? When we pray, are we praying as children of God; who were made in God’s own image, lifting our prayers to a loving parent? Or are we praying to an apathetic, disinterested, far off, infinite being; who may or may not exist? Which kind of prayer would get your attention?

Here’s to a powerful prayer life.

Blessings, Pastor Michael

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