Summary: This is about prayer.
Let me bring everyone up to speed on what is happening. King David wanders around on the roof of his palace and notices a beautiful woman. He has an affair with her. She gets pregnant. He tries to trick her husband into spending the night with her. When that doesn’t work, he sends her husband back into battle with orders to have him killed. He gets killed.
David sits and stews about this for several months. He has become alienated from God. We read in Psalm 32:3-4, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” David was in deep conviction over his sin. It wasn’t a blissful time for him, thinking that he had gotten away with something. It was agony.
Some months after the affair, the prophet Nathan confronts the king with his sin. David cries out, “I have sinned against the Lord.” David confessed and repented. Nathan told David that the Lord would not take his life, but the child would die. Nathan then went home.
Turn with me to 2 Samuel 12.
Read 2 Samuel 12:15b-24.
In this passage we see the true power of prayer. Prayer is perhaps the most important part of our Christian walk. Without it, we die. Marriage doesn’t work without communication. Our relationship with God doesn’t work without communication. In Psalm 51:3, David said, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.”
In Romans 8:38-39, the apostle Paul wrote, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Notice there is one thing that is not on that list. “Sin” is missing from that list. Sin is what separates us from the love of God. Notice that David said that his sin was constantly in front of him. David’s sin had separated him from God.
Now his son is sick and he commits himself to…
I. Prayer and Fasting.
David’s goes headlong in prayer for his son. For a whole week, David did nothing but pray while lying on the ground. Twenty-four hours a day he prayed. He didn’t sleep. He didn’t eat. All he did was pray. He refused to allow anything or anyone distract him from his prayer. His servants tried to comfort him and give him something to eat, but he refused. This raises a question.
A. Why do we pray?
Has that question ever occurred to you? Why do we pray? What’s the point in prayer? Why bother praying? God’s just going to do whatever he wants to do anyway. We’ll come back to that a little later.
1. David prayed for his son to be healed.
The answer to David’s motivation is found in verse 22, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’”
David was praying for the healing of the child. His motivation was to have God heal his infant son. His prayer was that God would spare the life of his son.
2. We often pray with same sort of motive.
Often our motives are similar to David’s. We want God to answer our prayers. We give God our list of “needs” and expect him to go through and check off each need as he answers it. We sometimes treat God as sort of a heavenly Santa Claus.
We should be careful about what we pray for, because God may answer our prayer the way we want.
I am reminded of a story that a friend of mine told me once. Anthony is one of the godliest men I have ever met. He told the story of how he was expecting a check to arrive in the mail any day. He really needed the money, but it hadn’t come yet. He prayed a quick prayer that went like this: “O, God, if that check arrives tomorrow, I’ll give you ¼ of it.” Well the check arrived the next day. He couldn’t go back on his word. So be careful what you pray for.
Sometimes our motives aren’t the best, but that brings up another question.
B. Why does God want us to pray?
Earlier I compared praying to God with communication in marriage. If Tammy and I just walked right past each other and didn’t speak, how would that affect our marriage? It would slowly deteriorate. As time goes on, it would get worse and worse. Communicating is how we grow closer together. We have been married a little over ten years, and we are closer now than we were ten years ago. We are closer than we were five years ago.