“I have called you friends.” (John 15:15)
Why does a man of valor need to pray? Prayer is our connection to God. If we do not pray, we will have no friendship with God. The more time we spend talking with the Lord and listening to what He may want to say to us, the closer we will become to God. How close do you feel to your wife and children? If you spend little time talking with them, you cannot have a warm and meaningful relationship. The same is true with God!
A Man After God’s Own Heart: David
Only one man in the Bible is called “a man after God’s own heart.” King David (1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 14:22). Why was God so close to David? David spent a lot of time in prayer. Imagine all the time he had to pray when he spent his days and nights out in the fields taking care of his father’s sheep.
As a very young man, God gave him the strength to protect the sheep from lions and bears. When he went to the battlefront to check how his older brothers were doing, he volunteered to fight the Philistine giant Goliath. He told King Saul, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37 ESV). God heard David’s prayer and gave him the strength to kill Goliath. After this, Saul took David with him into battle, and soon David was made an officer in Saul’s army. David was successful in all that he did because God was with him (1 Samuel 17:12 – 18:30).
There are 150 Psalms in the Bible, and David wrote well over half of them. Most of those Psalms are prayers to God; others are songs of praise. In Psalm 32, David wrote, “Let everyone who is godly pray.” (Psalm 32:6 NASB) And in Psalm 5:2 he wrote, “Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray.” (NASB) When David prayed, God acted. And later, God never turned His back on David through his years of hiding from King Saul’s insanity—Saul wanted to kill David—or through David’s forty years as King of Israel.
A Man Just Like Us: Elijah
Men of God have always talked with God by praying fervently and often. One of the most godly men of the Old Testament was the prophet Elijah1, who listened to the voice of God and always obeyed God’s commands (1 Kings 17:17-24).
God directed Elijah to live with a widow during a three-year drought sent to punish the people of Israel for worshipping Baal and to turn them back to Him. She was able to provide food for Elijah, herself, and her son because God never let the food run out, thanks to Elijah’s prayers.
Then the widow’s son became sick, and after a few days he died. Elijah prayed aloud for his healing. He prayed intensely. He placed the boy on his bed, stretched himself out over the boy three times, and prayed for the Lord to restore the child to life. The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer; the boy started breathing and sat up. Then Elijah took him back to his mother.
The Lord had big plans for Elijah because he listened to God and always obeyed Him (1 Kings 18:18-46). God had Elijah build an altar and place a bull on it to be a sacrifice. He called together the 450 prophets of Baal, a powerless idol, and challenged them to pray to Baal to send down fire upon the altar and burn up the sacrifice. They prayed aloud to Baal for hours. Nothing happened! Then Elijah prayed aloud to the one true God. The Lord sent fire down upon the altar, and it burned up the sacrifice and the wood and even the stones of the altar.
After killing the 450 prophets of Baal, Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel where he bowed down to the ground with his head between his knees and prayed to God. Soon a heavy rain began to fall. A three-year drought ended! In a short time there was grass to feed the animals in the fields. With God’s provision of frequent rain, the crops grew and provided food for all the people. Then the people turned away from Baal and worshipped the one true God.
Because Elijah was so faithful to his Lord, God performed many miracles in response to Elijah’s prayers.
Prayer is our connection to God.
1 Yet James describes Elijah as “a man just like us” (Berean Study Bible, James 5:17).