A Brief History of Prayer

Jesus assumed that His disciples would pray, because they were Jews. Ever since their great ancestor Abraham, the Hebrew people had learned to call upon their God for help in time of need. Abraham prayed for the innocent people living in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18). His grandson Jacob begged for protection from his angry brother (Genesis 32:11). Faced with a daunting task, Gideon asked for guidance (Judges 6:22, 36- 39). Barren Hannah asked for a child (1 Samuel 1:10). King David responded to God’s promise of an everlasting dynasty with thanksgiving and petition (2 Samuel 7). His son Solomon asked for wisdom, and received that plus long life and wealth (1Kings 3:5-14). King Hezekiah received healing and extra years by simply asking God (2 Kings 20:1-8). The list goes on and on. Repentant Manasseh and Jonah were delivered from the full penalty for their disobedience. Ezra and Nehemiah found wisdom, strength, protection, and provision to rebuild fallen Jerusalem. Daniel received supernatural revelation. The Old Testament is filled with prayer, notably in the Psalms, but also throughout the length and breadth of the histories and prophets. Why? Because God enjoys giving good gifts to His people. He knows what we need, but likes to have us ask Him for it anyway. Indeed, He commanded Israel to pray: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15). God receives honor when we call upon Him to demonstrate His power and His pity. More glory comes to Him when we praise Him for his answers to our humble, believing requests. No wonder Jesus assumed that His disciples would pray!