Prayer’s Beginnings

Bible Reading: Genesis 4:25-26

Let’s review.  Adam and Eve were experiencing intimate fellowship with God in an idyllic paradise.  They walked and talked with God.  They bore the unmarred image of their creator.  They lacked nothing because God had graciously provided everything they needed.  Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect harmony with God and with each other and with their world.

Then Adam and Eve sinned.  Satan deceived Eve and she partook of the forbidden fruit.  Then she gave to Adam, and he ate.  Having sinned against God, they attempted to remedy their nakedness by sewing together for themselves fig-leaf loincloths.  Their fellowship with God was broken so they hid from Him.  God subsequently declared a curse–on the serpent, the woman, and Adam.  A sin contagion was unleashed into the world.  Their only hope?  A promised deliverer, who would one day come from the seed of the woman, Who would deal a fatal blow to the devil.

Eve bore two sons, Cain and Abel.  The repercussions of sin’s entry into our world were immediately evident in Cain’s brutal murder of his brother.  Genesis 4 gives us the account and the terrible consequences faced by Cain.  Abel was dead, so Eve conceived another son, and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him” (Genesis 4:25).

Two different societies, one godly and the other godless, trace their lineage back to Cain and Seth.  Genesis 4 lists Cain’s descendants, amongst them we read of Lamech who pridefully boasted about his murders (Genesis 4:23-24).  The lineage of Cain was godless and humanistic.  In contrast, Seth’s lineage was godly and even included two individuals whose lives were marked by faith, Enoch (Hebrews 11:5), and Noah (Hebrews 11:7).  These two lines can be traced throughout history, as has been noted by theologians like Augustine, Francis Schaeffer, and even the reformers.

How does any of this history relate to prayer?  In these accounts, it is apparent those born into the godly line came to an understanding in their view of God and themselves, which led to the point where they “began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).  They understood something of God’s greatness.  Note the subtle shift in language used by Eve in the birth of Cain vs. the birth of Seth. She said of her first-born, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord” (Genesis 4:1).  Of Seth she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel” (Genesis 4:25).  She had previously begun with herself, but with Seth she acknowledged the preeminence of God–that God is in the beginning, not us.  The second subtle hint in the account is in the name given to Seth’s son, Enosh, which means “frail one” or “mortal” (Genesis 4:26)  Seth was so impressed by his understanding of man’s weakness (because of sin), he gave his son a name which communicated that truth.

In view of the greatness of God and neediness of man, and the fact deliverance must come from God, those folks “began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).  These foundational realities, which work to burden us all to pray, stand unchanged over the course of time.  People have been calling upon the name of the Lord ever since.  You and I included.  Devotion to prayer is nothing new.  We’ve a desire to be rescued from our sins and to be restored to intimate fellowship with the One who made us.  Prayer is driven by these realities.  And so, we pray.

Foundational to Prayer is the Realization that God is a Great God and that we Desperately Need Him 


I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Ev’ry hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r
When Thou art nigh. [Refrain]

I need Thee ev’ry hour,
In joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain. [Refrain]

I need Thee ev’ry hour,
Teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises
In me fulfill. [Refrain]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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