Children have a refreshing honesty when they pray. A few years ago, Kicks105.com posted the “Top Ten List of Funniest Prayers by Kids.” Here are a few of my favorites: 1) Dear God, Please make my parents understand that if I don’t eat salad, I do better at school; 2) Dear God, I need you to make my mom not allergic to cats. I really want a cat, and I really don’t want to ask my mom to move out; and 3) Dear God, When will my sister stop being annoying? I’m down to my last patience.
Scripture provides examples of many types of prayer: adoration (Ex. 34:6–7), thanksgiving (Phil. 4:4–7), reflection (Psalm 139), desperation and lament (Psalm 88), relinquishment (Luke 22:42), petition (Matt. 7:11), and intercession (1 Tim. 2:1). But Hosea’s prayers in today’s passage stand in a category all their own. Once again, this chapter describes God’s disappointment with Israel’s rebellion. A covenant relationship that began with such hope and joy (v. 10) took a dire turn when the people worshiped idols at Baal Peor and the anger of the Lord was provoked (Num. 25:1–9).
“Woe to them,” God said again, “when I turn away from them!” (Hos. 9:12). Then Hosea inserts a prayer of his own. But, interestingly, it isn’t an intercessory prayer for pardon like we might expect—and like we’ve come to expect from both patriarchs and prophets (Abraham in Gen. 18:22–33, Moses in Ex. 32:11–14, or Jeremiah in Jer. 14:13–22).
Hosea didn’t plead for mercy on Israel’s behalf. Instead, he agreed with God’s judgment and even asked God to deliver His discipline. Twice Hosea prayed this prayer (vv. 14, 17). That’s a hard sort of prayer to pray. But a sometimes necessary one when people have given themselves over to sin.
>> In your prayer time today, practice a new form of prayer (see list above). Thinking in these categories can encourage us to speak to God in new and fresh ways.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever” (Ps. 136:1–3).