v 23. “As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you. But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away.”
Samuel continues with his warnings and his commitment to teach the people about God’s ways – he will not give up on them any more than God will give up on them. His big commitment is to pray for the nation. (v 23). He regards any failure on his part to continue this ministry of prayer would be sin. This was his calling, to plead with God for the people. They recognise this in v 19 where they urge Samuel to pray for them.
Many of us feel that prayer is ‘an extra’ in the Christian life. We pray if there is time available, and we remember to. It seems to be something that special people undertake, not a big item on the time agenda for us ordinary people. Now, we can’t all be the same; few of us are eloquent ‘pray-ers’, in fact we can hardly string together a few words in an open prayer occasion. But prayer is not a matter of fine words – and many of them into the bargain! It is the inclination of the heart to seek God’s blessing in the lives and activities of other people, painfully and haltingly expressed in prayer when none but God is listening. When you are concerned for folk and interested in the lives they lead that you spontaneously pray for them in the silence of your own heart.
It is no good asking you if you have a prayer list to work through daily or weekly in a mechanical fashion, but I do challenge you and ask if you are sufficiently interested in people to talk to God about them and ask Him to bless them. That, I suspect, was the way Samuel prayed for the people.