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A daily devotional | People of Prayer | A oman with hands folded and looking up to the sky. Daily Devotional | When You Cannot Pray

Daily Devotional | When You Cannot Pray


Eli, the high priest, watched a woman praying intensely at the tabernacle in Shiloh. Hannah’s lips were moving, but Eli could hear no words. He mistakenly concluded that she was mumbling to herself in a drunken stupor. “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine” he told her. “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD” (1 Sam. 1:12–15).

How would you feel if this happened to you? It’s bad enough to be misunderstood. But to be so misunderstood by someone who is supposed to represent God seems like more than we can bear. Eli was an ordinary priest with many shortcomings and failures. Jesus, on the other hand, is an extraordinary priest who surpasses all those who belonged to the old order of the law of Moses.

According to Hebrews 7:15, Jesus became a priest “not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.” He is not a Levitical priest but a priest “in the order of Melchizedek,” the mysterious figure who received tithes from Abraham and gave a blessing to Abraham (Gen. 14).

Nothing in Scripture is revealed about Melchizedek’s origin, lineage, or death. Like someone who is “without beginning of days or end of life,” he foreshadowed the ministry of Christ. Jesus fulfilled all that the law of God required and died as our atoning sacrifice on the cross. He rose from the dead and “always lives to intercede” for us (v. 25). Earthly priests and ministers may let you down, but Jesus never will.

>> Let’s face it. There are times when we simply cannot pray. We may be too sad or anxious. Sometimes we are at a loss for words. When we feel that we cannot pray, we know that our high priest, Jesus, always lives to pray for us.

Pray with Us

Lord Jesus, please pray for those who are too depressed to speak. Pray for those who are too ashamed to seek Your face. Pray for those who are angry at You and refuse to pray. Pray for those who don’t know how. Thank You, Lord!

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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