22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
These words are a portion of Samuel’s farewell speech to his people. I love these words – first, he says that God will not reject his people, because God made them his own. God made a choice. God is good, and his decisions are good. We his people may not live up to God’s expectations, but God lives up to God’s Word. God is pleased to call us his people, and that fact does not, will not change. Hold on to that truth.
Secondly, Samuel stated that far be it from him that he would sin by failing to pray for his people. Was that a surprise to you? He said it would be a sin for him to fail to pray, to fail to intercede on behalf of those he loved. I never thought of prayer in that way, not just expected, but necessary, even a mandate. To fail to pray is to sin, because you could lift up another in prayer but did not do so. That’s a sin of omission. Pray not just because you need it, but pray because another desperately needs your prayers. Don’t know anyone who needs prayer? Check out our prayer list.
Thirdly, Samuel urges them to fear the Lord, meaning that they should show God all the awe and respect and majesty God deserves. Serve God faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things God has done. All through the Bible are recorded the great things God has done. When we read about these things, we remember again God’s love and power and everlasting faithfulness to us. Then we may serve God with our whole hearts.
Humbly we come before you, dear God, because so many people are hurting or are lost or afraid, or grappling with issues greater than they can bear on their own. We pray because we love them and feel their hurt; we pray even if we don’t know anything more than their name or their need. Hear our prayers, Lord, and keep us faithful in prayer, for you can do great things, greater than our need. We give you all praise in Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.