By Sarah Frazer, Crosswalk.com
Did you know the Bible has some pretty radical and modern views of women? God in no way demotes, diminishes, or devalues women. In fact, all throughout Scripture we read how He reaches down, offers them His hand, and pulls them into a place of honor.
Eve was given the promise of a Son. (Genesis 3:15-16)
Hagar was seen by God and given water when she was thirsty. (Genesis 21:15-19)
Deborah was a judge for the nation of Israel and led the men into battle. (Judges 4:1-9)
And God chose a young woman, Mary, to bring the Savior into the world. (Luke 1:26-38)
If you like to read biographies of great men, you will find so many of them speak of their mothers or grandmothers. In many cases, the prayers of these women helped these men succeed. We can learn a lot from the prayers of women in the Bible, too.
These women were not extraordinary. They were normal, everyday women used by an amazing, wonderful God. Let’s look at the lessons we can learn from the prayers of women in the Bible:
1. Hagar’s prayer for water reveals to us that God will provide our needs. (Genesis 16:6-14)
Hagar was Sarah’s maidservant. Sarah was married to Abraham, whom God had promised a son. The problem was: Sarah was barren. So she gave Hagar to Abraham and they had a son. Only it didn’t turn out well for Sarah. She became bitter and in a moment of anger threw the maidservant and her son out of the family.
Hagar stumbles through the desert in search of water only to find herself utterly alone. In her desperation we see God step in. Hagar names Him the “God who sees” and we are reminded to take all of our needs to God, because He will provide. (Philippians 4:19, Psalm 81:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9)
2. Miram’s prayer of praise reminds us that every triumph is the Lord’s. (Exodus 15:19-21)
Miram was the sister of Aaron (the first of Israel’s priests) and Moses (the great deliverer who stood before Pharaoh). In this passage we see a short praise song right after God parts the Red Sea. In this pinnacle event, highlighting God’s redemption of Israel, Miram offers a prayer of thanksgiving.
In her beautiful prayer we see a truth spoken throughout scripture. Every triumph is the Lord’s. Many would give Moses credit for the parting of the Red Sea, but we know God was the true deliverer.
It is God who deserves our praise and thanksgiving when we get that raise at work or a door opens up. Miram’s prayer reminds us to give God praise in every situation.
3. Deborah’s prayer of God’s glory demonstrates how God is at work in the great and small. (Judges 5:1-9, Judges 5:31)
Deborah is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. She is the only woman judge mentioned in the book of Judges. God used her to strengthen Barak’s heart when God called him to defeat the Israelite’s enemies.
Deborah and Barak’s victory was only made possible because of God. When we trust God to work in the small (and big) details it will come out in our prayers. How are you praying? Are you praying in faith that God will work? (Hebrews 11:6, James 5:16-18, Ephesians 3:12)
God is still the same God with the same power.
4. Hannah’s prayer for a child invites you to bring your heart’s desires to God. (1 Samuel 1:10-16)
Hannah’s prayer in the beginning of 1 Samuel is not recorded word-for-word. We know from the previous verses that Hannah was praying for a child. I know many women who have struggled with infertility and that pain lingers.
In a moment of desperation Hannah pleads to God, asking Him to give her a child. Although we don’t know her exact words, we know she poured out her heart to God with tears. The most beautiful thing about Hannah’s prayer is that after she prayed, she felt better.
Was she immediately pregnant? No. In fact she had no proof God would even give her a child. But pouring her heart out to God allowed peace to break through the pain.
Maybe you can do the same with the heartache you hold in your heart. Cry out to God, He still cares!
5. Esther’s prayer gives us an example of how to ask others to pray for us. (Esther 4:15-16)
Once again, we aren’t given the exact words Esther prayed, but there is a lesson here. A young orphaned girl, raised by her uncle, becomes Queen in Disney-movie-like fashion. Only she discovers a plot to destroy her people and must go before the king to ask for his help. She risks her life in doing so.
So what does she do? She asks the people around her to pray for her.
Are you asking those around you to pray for you? I know it is humbling and scary even to request prayer; but, we are commanded to pray for one another (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13). Reach out and ask others to pray for you.
6. Mary’s prayer of blessing shows how focusing on God’s character offers our hearts joy. (Luke 1:46-55)
Many people have written and sung about Mary’s prayer. I love that we get a glimpse into the heart of our Savior’s mother in these verses here. The angel has just told Mary she will give birth to a Son. He will be the Christ, Immanuel, the Messiah.
Her response is not one of “I’m so happy for me;” rather, it is a direct prayer of praise to the God of heaven. I love how she describes God as Savior, mighty, holy, merciful, and strong. Focusing on God’s character in our prayers is the best way to find joy. Comparison, discontentment, and anxiety will steal our joy, but Mary offers a solution. She says that we need only look to God and see all He is. Then we can rejoice.
What beautiful examples these women are to us today. They were not perfect, but they served a loving, faithful God. It was because of their intimacy with God they were able to learn the lessons they did. May we look to their faith for inspiration and gain encouragement to continually pursue a better prayer life.
Sarah Frazer is a writer and Bible study mentor at sarahefrazer.com. She is the wife of Jason and mother of five. Although she serves in her local church, holds in-home Bible studies, and is preparing to be a full-time missionary to Honduras, her passion is to encourage women to get in the Bible. Sarah is also an author of three self-published Bible studies for women. She share tools for deep-rooted Bible study at sarahefrazer.com. Download her free prayer challenge at sarahefrazer.com/prayer.
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