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Prayer Saves Time


By Charles F. Stanley

Have you ever come to the end of a day and asked yourself, “Where did the time go?” Most people in our busy culture can relate. Modern life is full of tasks and all kinds of distractions. Knowing how to wisely manage our time and priorities can be difficult.

Genesis 24:1-67 tells the story of someone who lived efficiently. This man—one of Abraham’s servants—was probably a personal assistant of high rank within the household. He may have been Eliezer, the steward who had managed everything Abraham owned 60 years before  (Gen. 15:2). Regardless of who he was, the servant was trustworthy and God-fearing. He was given the task of selecting a wife for Isaac, something a groom’s father would normally do.

After a long journey to his master’s homeland, Mesopotamia, the servant was anxious to find a bride and take her without delay to Canaan, where her new family lived. 

The Servant and Rebekah

Read Genesis 24:1-67.

  • As an act of obedience, Abraham and Sarah had left their homeland many years before this story takes place. How did Abraham know to find a bride for Isaac among his relatives (v. 7)?

In those days, a dowry was given in exchange for a wife, not received along with her. The offering demonstrated to the bride’s family that the groom could provide for her financially. That’s why the servant took along expensive gifts (vv. 10, 22, 53).

The servant turned to prayer for guidance in his search for the right woman, asking God for a sign (v. 12). He chose something that could happen naturally but would be unusual. Because of his pure motives and the significance of his mission, the Lord honored his request. However, such prayers can be presumptuous, especially if we demand a particular outcome. They also have the potential to weaken our faith if we don’t allow God to guide us in what to ask. 

  • What specifically did he ask the Lord to use as a sign (vv. 13-14)?
  • What attributes did Rebekah possess that made her attractive as a potential wife (v. 16)?

Notice that Rebekah’s father Bethuel and Isaac were first cousins (v. 15). Marriage between cousins was not uncommon in ancient times. Also, since Abraham had fathered Isaac very late in life, it makes sense that his son would need to marry someone of the next generation.

Rebekah not only gave the servant a drink, but also offered to water his ten camels (vv. 18-19). One camel can drink up to 20 gallons of water, so her offer wasn’t made lightly. She demonstrated exceptional hospitality, kindness, and humility toward Abraham’s servant, a complete stranger.

  • Abraham’s servant told Laban and Bethuel his story (vv. 35-49). How did Rebekah’s kinsmen react (vv. 50-51)?
  • What did their reaction reveal about the general spiritual condition of Abraham’s relatives?
  • Rebekah’s mother and brother asked for a waiting period of ten days (vv. 55-56). While this is perfectly understandable from a human perspective, what might their request have indicated about their willingness to follow the Lord’s instructions?
  • Her mother and brother probably expected Rebekah to desire a delay as well. What might the girl’s response have indicated about her (v. 58)?

Before she met her groom, Rebekah covered herself with a veil, which was symbol of purity, modesty, and submission.

  • According to verse 67, in what ways was she a blessing to Isaac?

Application

Abraham’s ambassador could have wasted time looking for his master’s relatives in Mesopotamia before trying to select the right bride from among the many cousins. Prayer allowed his journey to be as short and effective as possible.

  • What occupies most of your time right now? How could committing it to the Lord help you be more productive?

Often, we worry about decisions we have to make and end up trying to make the best choice without God’s help. Abraham’s servant relied on the Lord’s guidance rather than his own wisdom.

  • Do you have a difficult decision to make right now? If so, what is it?  

Abraham’s servant traveled for many days to find Isaac’s bride. He may have preferred to find an eligible woman in Canaan, but he obeyed Abraham, who had been given divine instructions. God may direct us to do something that seems unusual or even foolish. He does not require us to understand His will, but expects us to obey it.

  • What has the Lord asked you to do that seemed ill-advised from a worldly perspective, but later turned out to be a wise choice?

The servant stopped to pray silently before trying to find a wife for Isaac.

  • How could asking God each morning to establish your priorities for the day help you be more fruitful for His kingdom?
  • How would you respond to someone who says, “I just don’t have time to pray”?

Prayer: As you finish this study, turn your worries over to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to reveal His will for your life, in both large decisions and smaller, time-consuming ones.  

 

Related Resources

Related Video

Prayer--Our Time Saver

How many times have you ever said – I just don’t have time? We may not realize it, but we are all governed by that ticking clock. In Prayer: Our Time-Saver, Dr. Stanley shares with us one of his 30 Life Principles that will help us live life to the fullest every single day. (Watch Prayer--Our Time Saver.)

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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39 comments
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  • October 29, 2012 09:43 PM

    by

    Thank you :)
  • October 29, 2012 07:07 PM

    by

    thanks God for dr stanley message. i will enjoying myself while i am gioing through such great trials the trilals i have never faced before my entire life.but dr stanley message often times did gave me some confort in this horror looks situation.
    thanks dr stanley for your obedient to our heavenly fater so he can used you to change many life including mine.
    God Bless!!
  • October 28, 2012 10:34 PM

    by

    rev. stanleys teachings have helped me i so much. i make sure im available every week to listen to him and to read my daily devotions everyday. i thank God for him ived. learned to read the word everyday and to appy what i havel learned and apply it to my life. may the lord continue to bless him.
  • October 28, 2012 09:01 PM

    by

    Absolutely beautiful!! This study shows me how trust, obedience, and prayer is so important. When I have a situation, I think of this verse: "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey".
  • October 28, 2012 06:26 PM

    by

    I am a 15 year old Christian struggling in my spiritual growth and prayer life and because of daily workload and stuff, I don't know where my priorities lie. This bible study is very helpful and I thank the Lord God for this wonderful insight. God bless, Dr. Stanley.
  • October 28, 2012 03:34 PM

    by

    I look forward to Dr Stanley's programme, every Sunday. It is inspiring. I pray that God will allow you to continue to be a blessing to all of us who listen/watch your programmes.
  • October 28, 2012 11:55 AM

    by

    I would completely agree with A. Desseasaure's comments and I am so grateful to the Spirit for leading me to read this wonderful message from Dr. Stanley. I love it when God answers our prayers through such "refined" spiritual leaders. How else can they be servants of God? I know Dr. Stanley has been through so much, yet perservered through it all. The same with Joyce Meyer whom I also respond to spiritually. Thank you both for "literally feeding us the truth!" I know God loves me. I know He cares about my life. I know I must Trust Him that I can do all things through Him. I know my Savior lives and that I can return to Him through his totally sacrificing atonement. I know trials come...they have to. It's through the "zeroing in on specifics" prayer-directed teachings of Dr Stanley that open my eyes when I begin to falter, become afraid, and feel myself sink in the water as Peter. Satan is strong!!!! He wants us to falter, become afraid, pull away from the iron rod that leads us back to God. Never, Never, NEVER! give up! Come back again and again and again! Thank you sooooo much for this message, Dr Stanley! T. King
  • October 28, 2012 07:26 AM

    by

    Pray for me. I am a widow if 5 years and am still so alone.
  • October 26, 2012 05:26 AM

    by

    Wow! Totally out of this world!! what a wonderful sermon! in deed God is the owner of time!
    I'm revived.
  • March 25, 2012 10:26 AM

    by

    Proverbs 3:5-6 is one to live by. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct thy path.
  • January 17, 2012 04:37 PM

    by Patrice Morrison

    As my brother always says comming ot the end of his message "Obey the Lord and leave all of the conquences to Him.
  • January 17, 2012 04:33 PM

    by Patrice Morrison

    Like bro. Stanley says when he comes to the close of his messages "Obey the Lord and leave all of he consequences to Him." I love it.
  • January 05, 2012 11:25 PM

    by

    If you stay up late sometimes, here is a great praayer and study time, especially if you have kids, are single or married,..end your day with prayer about 11:30 p.m. and open your Bible and find some good small study material,..IN TOUCH,..or an old sunday school book and see how God will speak to you..before you realize it..God has your lessons planned for what you need..I really like studying with the IN TOUCH ministry and their study materials..PTL!!!
  • December 27, 2011 01:24 AM

    by

    God bless this ministry.
  • December 17, 2011 11:16 AM

    by

    Excellent. Chosing this bible study was so timely. The Holy Spriirt is working in me, reinforcing the need to spend much more time in prayer, drawing closer to God, reading His Word. We often want quick immediate response/solutions to our troubles so we don't wait on God or ask God, we just make our own decisions which often may not be according to God's will. I pray that Imy faith and trust in the Lord increases, and I lay my trials and tribulations before Him.
  • December 08, 2011 10:59 PM

    by

    I always learn so much from Charles Stanley! I get his devotionals and when they are finished I pass them along to a friend and she in turn does the same. They are too valuable to throw out. I travel for a living and I have even hidden them in the hotel night stand hoping they will end up in the hands of someone in need.
  • December 07, 2011 01:40 PM

    by

    i enjoy you every sunday morning/and now i can keep up on the net.thank you
  • December 01, 2011 11:46 AM

    by

    God is always faithful to those that love and serve Him. Thank you for your lesson on this example of how God responds to our prayers. How powerful is our God!
    J J. Daniels
  • November 21, 2011 07:43 PM

    by

    I got a lot from this Bible study. Today I did something I hadn't done in a while. Every chance I got I prayed. I took the time to pray throughout the day and I felt a peace that I haven't felt in a very long time. I wasn't not worried about anything or fearful of anything. Thank you Jesus and Thank you Dr. Stanley.
  • November 17, 2011 04:36 PM

    by

    When talking and trying everyday to walk in the faith makes a world of difference in my attitude. He truly gives us the references we need when we take the time to listen. Thank you Jesus for your unconditonal love. Thank you Dr. Charles Stanley for being a man of Christ.
  • October 09, 2011 11:23 PM

    by

    If you got time to worry you've got time to pray. There is no relief in worring, but comfort from the LORD through prayer.
  • September 22, 2011 12:27 AM

    by

    Prayers should be one of our first priority in our everyday life. For through prayers we were able to worship and thank Him for His great blessings and provisions. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ in the cross displayed how great and vast God's love to everyone of us. Then it should be our main mission and main goal in life to love, obey and live for God everyday. We should also learn how to honor and glorify Him in every aspect of our life. In the scripture it says" To live is for Christ and to die is gain". God design us for success and great blessings in life so there is no reason for us to live sober and defeated. Lets enjoy God everyday and love Him above anything else and anyone else with all of our hearts, mind and strength.
  • September 15, 2011 01:28 PM

    by

    Can a man be free of troubles ever. Much as i want to be free and follow peace with all men at all times, I found myself in chaos. Can prayer make me Really free ?
  • September 05, 2011 08:40 AM

    by

    This is the first time I've seen this study. WoW! Knowing how and when to pray is always a good thing. I appreciate this study and have already passed it on. Thank you.
  • February 24, 2011 03:19 PM

    by SuperUser Account

    Someone asked, "Which Bible does this church use ? King James ?"

    While Dr. Stanley does sometimes quote the KJV, he prefers the New American Standard, which is based on the oldest and most reliable original manuscripts and scholarship.

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