Praying Homes Beget Praying Leaders
By E. M. Bounds
Samuel came into this world and was given existence in direct answer to prayer. He was born of a praying mother whose heart was full of earnest desire for a son. He came into life under prayer surroundings, and his first months in this world were spent in direct contact with a woman who knew how to pray. It was a prayer accompanied by a solemn vow that if he would be given, he should be “lent unto the Lord,” and true to that vow, this praying mother put him directly in touch with the minister of the sanctuary and under the influence of “the house of prayer.”
It was no wonder he developed into a man of prayer. We could not have expected otherwise with such a beginning in life and with such early environments. Such surroundings always make impressions upon children and tend to make character and determine destiny.
He was in a favorable place to hear God when He spoke to him, and was in an atmosphere where it tended to his heeding the divine call which came to him. It was the most natural thing in the world when at the third call from heaven, when he recognized God’s voice, that his childish heart responded so promptly, “Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth” (1 Sam. 3:9). Quickly was there a response from his boyish spirit, of submission, willingness and prayer.
Had he been born of a different sort of mother, had he been placed under different surroundings, had he spent his early days in contact with different influences, does any one for one moment suppose he could have easily heard the voice of God calling him to His service, and that he would have so readily yielded his young life to the God who brought him into being? Would a worldly home, with worldly surroundings, separated from the church of God, with a worldly-minded mother, have produced such a character as Samuel? It takes such influences and agencies in early life to produce such praying men as Samuel.
Helping Your Child
Would you have your child called early into divine service and separated from the world unto God? Would you have him so situated that he will be called in manhood by the Spirit of God? Put him under prayer influences. Place him near to and directly under the influence of the Man of God and in close touch with that house which is called “the house of prayer.”
Samuel knew God in boyhood. As a consequence he knew God in manhood. He recognized God in childhood, obeyed Him, and prayed to Him. The result was that he recognized God in manhood, obeyed Him, and prayed to Him. If more children were born of praying mothers, brought up in direct contact with “the house of prayer,” and reared under prayer environments, more children would hear the voice of God’s spirit speaking to them, and would more quickly respond to those divine calls to a religious life.
Would we have praying men in our churches? We must have praying mothers to give them birth, praying homes to color their lives, and praying surroundings to impress their minds and to lay the foundations for praying lives. Praying Samuels come from praying Hannahs. Praying priests come from “the house of prayer.” Praying leaders come from praying homes.
Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life, and had occasion from year to year to go in circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpeh. Then he returned home to Ramah, where he resided. “And there he built an altar unto the Lord” (1 Sam. 7:17).
Here was an altar of sacrifice but as well was it an altar of prayer. And while it may have been for the benefit of the community where he lived, after the fashion of a town church, yet it must not be overlooked that it must have been a family altar, a place where the sacrifice for sin was offered but at the same time where his household gathered for worship, praise and prayer. Here Almighty God was acknowledged in the home, here was the advertisement of a religious home, and here father and mother called upon the name of the Lord, differentiating this home from all the worldly and idolatrous homes from them.
Here is an example of a religious home, the kind so greatly needed in this irreligious, godless age. Blessed is that home which has in it an altar of sacrifice and prayer, where daily thanksgivings ascend to heaven and where morning and night praying is done.
Samuel was not only a praying priest, a praying leader and a praying teacher, but he was a praying father. And anyone who knows the situation as far as family religion is concerned knows full well that the great need of these modern times is Christian homes and praying fathers and mothers.
It is in the home where the breakdown in religion occurs, where the religious life of a community first begins to decay, and where we must go first to beget praying men and women in the church. It is in the home that revival must begin!
– From Prayer and Praying Men.