Is it just me, or are you sometimes not quite sure how to pray? Well, I found something in the ancient Old Testament book of Amos that gives a great framework for how to pray, and you are going to love it.
Today you’ll learn three ways to pray that will boost your confidence, draw you closer to God, and guarantee that God hears you. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness when it comes to praying as we ought. And, since Jesus is interceding for us at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34), we, like Amos, can intercede for others.
Isn’t that good news?
Well, if you need a little help learning how to pray, here are some FREE tools to help get you started:
Amos interceded for Israel, and we need to intercede for each other too. This free prayer guide will help you to pray for revelation and wisdom, strength and endurance for the ones you love. It’s beautiful, and you can personalize the verses with the names of those you love.
If you could use someone to prompt you in praying, this might help too. With these free prayer texts, I’ll send you a daily prompt to seek the Lord in prayer. You’ll receive 7 text messages (one per day for a week) with 7 prayers to help get you started.
You can also go to JenniferRothschild.com/Amos to find lots of other free resources to help you in your spiritual journey.
And if you’ve already listened to the podcast, jot down these three reminders of how you can pray like Amos:
- Confirm God’s authority.
- Call out for His mercy.
- Confess your frailty and your need.
Alright, my friend, until next week, be persistent in praying for the people you love because God is listening for your voice. He desires for you to call out to Him on behalf of others, and you can intercede for them because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]
Learn More About My Amos Bible Study
- Watch the video trailer and pre-order the study here!
- Watch the session one video for FREE, and download the first week of study.
- See the full list of Amos freebies!
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4:13 Podcast: Can I Pray Like Amos? [Episode 206]
Jennifer Rothschild: Is it just me or sometimes are you just not quite sure you know how to pray? Well, I found something in the ancient Old Testament Book of Amos that gives a great framework for how to pray. And you are going to love it. Yep, this is the second and the last week that we are going to learn from the Book of Amos. Today, on the 4:13, I'm going to give you three ways to pray that will boost your confidence, draw you closer to God, and guarantee that God hears you. Plus, you are going to get a free download for Scripture prayers for the ones you love. So get ready to pray like Amos today.
K.C., here we go.
K.C. Wright: Welcome, welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you and I up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Now, would you welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.
Jennifer Rothschild: Hello, our people. So glad you're back with us at the 4:13. Me and K.C. are always happier when you arrive. And you may have noticed we're doing something special this week and last week. So if you missed last week, check out that episode. Because I have been teaching from the Book of Amos, K.C. and I have. We've been talking through some passages in the Book of Amos because they're so relevant to living what I call the God Life, which is the Good Life, and we want to live the Good Life. The reason we're doing that is because my Amos Bible study, which is video based, has just released, so we want you to be able to check it out.
But there's just such good stuff in it that I don't want you to miss out, and so I have just picked a couple of things in it that were the most -- well, I say the most. I loved everything in it. But two that I think you will really appreciate. We're going to talk about praying like Amos today, because sometimes we just don't know how to pray.
K.C. Wright: Yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: You know?
K.C. Wright: Yeah, yeah.
By the way, it's not just you. I'm a pastor and I still get nagging doubts of how to pray. Like Scripture says, I don't know how to pray as I ought.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, exactly. I think we all experience that.
In fact, one of my funniest moments with prayer, I was at a friend's football game. I had been visiting them, they live on the East Coast, and they all wanted to go with their friend group up to see somebody's son's football game. All right? So this is like 12 people removed from anything I would be interested in, right? But I love my friends.
Okay, so we get up to this stadium -- it's in North Carolina, it's a college game -- and we get there a little late. Turns out we are sitting on the home side when we were actually visitors. Okay, so that's mistake number one. So as we're sitting there, all my little Southern friends, they are, like, all talking about how nervous they are that they got to win this game. And so one of the ladies -- her name is Angela -- she's like, "Let's just pray. Dear God, please help them to win the game. You know, these boys have worked so hard. And we're just asking you in the name of Jesus, would your glory fall on this" --you can hear it, right? Okay. She's going on and on and on.
K.C. Wright: Oh, bless her.
Jennifer Rothschild: And it was very sweet. Very sincere. I'm not bashing it, because it was very sincere. Okay. But I'm sitting there like -- I just never would think to pray for football.
K.C. Wright: Right.
Jennifer Rothschild: But anyway, some people do. And way to go them.
All right. So anyway, she says, "Amen." And then as soon as she says, "Amen," I hear this voice from, like, two bleachers down from us, and it's this real cranky voice. And he goes, "I really don't think God plays favorites when it comes to football." So, you know, Mr. Cranky over there, he's making his announcement about his doctrinal pronouncement about prayer.
Anyway, so Angela goes, "I know, I know. I'm so sorry. But we just can't lose this game," you know. And I'm sitting there, like, thinking, what in the world? It was really kind of funny. And then I'm thinking we are actually on the home side. At least we should be praying for them also if we're going to be praying at all --
K.C. Wright: Right, right.
Jennifer Rothschild: -- for the football team.
Anyway, but as I'm sitting there, I'm thinking it's so interesting what we pray about and, like, does God hear those kind of prayers, you know? And if he does, does it register with him, like, "Okay, that's twelve prayers for the home team and six prayers for the visitors. Okay, home wins." Right? It's, like, a confusing thing is the point.
K.C. Wright: That's right. Well, I hear Billy Graham in my head right now. Billy would always say -- if you watch the old clips, he would always say, "The Bible says."
Jennifer Rothschild: Uh-huh.
K.C. Wright: You know, it's never Billy's opinion. It's not his thoughts. He would always say, "The Bible says."
Jennifer Rothschild: "The Bible says," yeah.
K.C. Wright: Well, let me tell you what the Bible says. Philippians tells us to pray about everything.
Jennifer Rothschild: Well, now, see, there you go.
K.C. Wright: I Thessalonians, there it is. So I'm telling you, we can pray about everything without ceasing.
But do we really know how to pray so we get a response from God, not just Mr. Cranky?
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, right?
K.C. Wright: Romans 8:26, the Bible says, "The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he," God, "who searches the hearts of men knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God, which we know to be the Word of God."
Jennifer Rothschild: I mean, that is so comforting, right? Because we don't know how to pray as we ought often. We just don't. So I'm grateful the Spirit is interceding for us.
But I will say this. As I was studying the Book of Amos, I found something in the Book of Amos that I thought was a really great example of how we ought to pray. Because Amos was interceding for the nation of Israel. And we want to pray like this. We want to pray like Amos. We want to intercede for others with the right heart, all the while knowing and trusting that the Holy Spirit is interceding for us because we don't know how to pray as we ought. So I thought it would be cool for us just to dissect Amos' prayer so that we can be people who pray like Amos. So you're going to see three ways to pray like Amos.
And K.C. will read the Scriptures in a minute, but let me just give you a little backstory here before I tell you the three ways. Okay? So Israel had been very naughty. They had not followed the Word of the Lord, they had not repented. And so here we are in Amos 7, and he's like, I know these people are about to be destroyed -- I'm really paraphrasing this for you guys. Okay? I know these people are about to be destroyed. And so Amos has this vision of, like, Israel being consumed by fire, and then Israel's land being taken over by locusts and -- so basically as he sees these vision, he calls out to God and he's like, "Please don't let it happen, Lord, don't let it happen." God ends up relenting. But it's this prayer that we're going to look at. Okay?
So the first way that we pray like Amos is this: When we pray like Amos, we begin with confirming God's authority. Confirming God's authority. Okay? So he saw those visions of locusts and fire and then he begins to pray. So, K.C., let's hear the actual verses of this prayer.
K.C. Wright: "When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, 'Sovereign Lord, forgive. How can Jacob survive? He is so small.' So the Lord relented. 'This will not happen,' the Lord said. This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me. The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire. It dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then I cried out, 'Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop. How can Jacob survive? He is so small.'"
Jennifer Rothschild: So did you hear that in those few verses? He sees the vision of the locusts, he sees the vision of the fire. Both times he's like, "God, please stop." But he calls God -- you heard K.C. read it -- "Sovereign Lord." So that's the first thing that you see. He's Sovereign Lord. He is confirming God's authority. And The Message, by the way, paraphrases that phrase, "Sovereign Lord" as "my Master." I love that. Because like Amos, when we pray, we need to call God "Master." We need to confirm his authority, because that positions ourselves in the role of servant.
Because prayer is not supposed to be you and me demanding from God as if he is our servant. Right? Like, the divine bellboy. Ding. "Bring me this. Provide that." No. Instead, it's to be us as his humble servants approaching our master, desiring for him to lead and him to direct us. And so that's what Amos did. He confirmed God's ultimate authority, unmatched authority, by calling him "Master, Sovereign Lord." And we need to do the same. We acknowledge, we affirm God's sovereignty in our prayer, too.
But here's the thing that sometimes we can get confused by. If we're going to confirm God's sovereignty and authority in our prayer, we need to be clear on the difference between authority and power. There's a difference between God's authority and his power. Because often we appeal to his power because he can do anything, right? He can do absolutely anything. But sometimes we overlook the fact that sometimes his authority may not choose to use his power in a way he's capable of. Okay?
So when our son Clayton was, gosh, 3rd, 4th, 5th grade, he always wanted a Nintendo 64. That was back in the day when N64 was in. And so I would go grocery shopping once a week. Right? And so every week I would say to everybody in the family, "What do you want on the grocery list? Tell me what you want on the grocery list." You know, somebody would say, "Yogurt," somebody would say, "Doritos." Every week Clayton would say, "I want an N64, I want an N64." And why did he do that? Okay. Now, granted, he was letting me know he wanted it, and he was being funny.
K.C. Wright: Right.
Jennifer Rothschild: But he literally did it for month after month after month after month. But what it's an example of is did his mama have the power to give him an N64? Absolutely. I absolutely had that power, because I had the money in the bank, I had the ability to do it. I had the power. But my authority as his mother knew that that would be a misuse of my power, it would not be for his good. So even though I had the ability, because of my authority, my authority trumped my power and I did not get it for him. Okay, so that's just a silly example.
But here's the thing. Many of you know that I'm blind. I've been blind since I was 15. I have asked God for healing over and over and over. Does he have the power to heal me? Absolutely he does. But clearly, at this point in my walk with him, out of his merciful and sovereign authority he has not chosen to apply his power in my healing. Okay? So when I appeal for his power, I have to trust his authority.
K.C. Wright: It reminds me of the man in Luke 5:12. Here's the Scripture. Listen. The man covered with leprosy didn't ask Jesus, "If you can heal me." Instead he called out to Jesus, "If you are willing" --
Jennifer Rothschild: If you are willing.
K.C. Wright: -- "you can make me clean." Jesus said, "I will." And when Jesus replied, he said, "I am willing." Jesus didn't even say, "I am able," because God's will is more consequential than his power.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
K.C. Wright: I think that is such a great example of appealing to God's authority.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Because it wasn't just like "if you're able," it was like "if you're willing." Because even God's power bows to God's authority. So we don't want to just settle for his power; we want his will. So we appeal to God in prayer, confirming or affirming his authority, that he is sovereign, that he is our Sovereign Lord, our Master.
Okay, second. Number two. People who pray like Amos, we call out for mercy. We call out for mercy. So did you notice that after Amos called on God and he called him the Sovereign Lord, he called out for mercy for Israel. Remember? Like, when it came to the fire and the locusts, he said, "Forgive Lord. Stop, Lord, please." He called out for mercy. And we do the same thing in our prayers, because God is our master, we are his servants. And calling for mercy, it affirms his gracious character, because he is a God of mercy.
K.C. Wright: Listen to these verses. Psalms 145:8. Thank God for the Word. Can we just say thank you, God, for your Word.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
K.C. Wright: "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love." Ooh. I always think right there, Jennifer, where the Bible says, "Behold, I come quickly."
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.
K.C. Wright: That was over 2,000 years ago, right?
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
K.C. Wright: If this quickly has taken us 2,000 years --
Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.
K.C. Wright: -- how slow is the slow?
Jennifer Rothschild: That's just a beautiful thought.
K.C. Wright: That's just a K.C. thought right there.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, but that's a beautiful thought.
K.C. Wright: And listen to this. Psalms 103:10, "He does not treat us as our sin deserves, nor repay us according to our iniquities."
Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. It's mercy. It's mercy. Ultimately, people who pray like Amos, they pray, "Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Don't treat me as my sins deserve. Have mercy. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Like, it reminds me of the tax collector in Luke 18. You may remember the story. Like, he was beating his chest. He wouldn't even lift his eyes to heaven, he had them to the ground, and he was just saying, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner." Because at its foundation, every prayer that we pray, it really is a prayer of mercy. It's an appeal to God's merciful character. Every prayer, no matter the content, is spoken from breath that God's mercy grants. Because we don't deserve anything from God, yet in his kindness he's given us forgiveness and life and a relationship with him. So every prayer that we pray, it's going to rise to God on the wings of mercy.
K.C. Wright: God is good, and his mercy endures forever. He is so good. God is so good.
Okay, last one. Third way to pray like Amos.
Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, third way. People who pray like Amos, they confess their frailty and their need.
K.C. Wright: Yeah.
Jennifer Rothschild: They confess their frailty and their need. Why don't you read Amos 7:2 and 5 again.
K.C. Wright: Amos 7:2. Here it is. "And when they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, 'Sovereign Lord, forgive. How can Jacob survive? He's so small.'" Verse 5, "Then then I cried out, 'Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop. How can Jacob survive? He is so small.'"
Jennifer Rothschild: Did y'all catch that? So we've already talked about two of the things, that he was Sovereign Lord, he confirmed his authority, and that he called out for mercy. He asked, "Forgive," "Stop." I mean, that's this idea of calling for mercy.
But then did you notice in both of those verses K.C. read, he said, "For Jacob is so small. How can he stand?" All right. What this represents is that Israel was once named Jacob. You know, Jacob's name was changed to Israel, Israel became this nation. Okay. And so Amos refers to Israel, who was haughty and big and powerful and wealthy as Jacob, pointing out that Israel was the younger brother, small, the least. It's a reminder of the frailty and the need. "Jacob is so small. How can Israel stand?"
But here's the thing, y'all. At our core we're all small, fragile, needy. And so when we pray, we need to acknowledge that to God. All of us are that way. You know, we are not the only ones. Because if you look in the pages of Scripture -- remember Simon Peter, blustery, strong, erratic Simon Peter. He was far more fragile than he even realized.
K.C., go to Luke 22:31-32, because there's a passage there about Peter.
K.C. Wright: "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." That's powerful.
Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. So y'all may not know why Jesus -- and by the way, that was Jesus speaking. You may not know why it was that Jesus said that to Peter. Okay? So Peter had just been told he was going to deny Jesus. And he was like, "No way. I will never do that." Right? And then what happens? The rooster has crowed the third time, he's denied Jesus. It is a bad scene. He didn't understand. He didn't admit his own frailty. He was convinced that he would never deny Jesus until he did. Yet Jesus says that he had prayed for Peter. Satan had said, "I want to sift that dude like wheat," and Jesus said, "But, Peter, I have prayed for you."
But here's what's interesting. Actually, Jesus prayed for all of his disciples. Because that verse that K.C. just read in Luke 22:31, when Jesus says, "I have prayed for you," y-o-u, that word "you" there in the original Greek is actually plural. Like, it's more than one. He's, like, looking at the disciples saying, "I have prayed for you and you and you and you." And I think from millennial, Jesus is pointing a finger to this day to where you are and he's saying, "Because I have prayed for you. I have been ever interceding."
And what it suggests also is that Satan is on a mission. He's out to sift all of Christ's followers like wheat to destroy. He's out to destroy. But Jesus says to his disciples, "I've prayed for you." And then he looks at Peter in verse 32 and he says, "I've prayed for you." "I've prayed for you."
K.C. Wright: Jesus prayed for Peter because he knew Peter was frail. But his prayer was not that Peter would be strengthened, his prayer was not that Peter would not fail.
Jennifer Rothschild: Right.
K.C. Wright: His prayer was that when Peter's faith did not fail and he turned back, Peter would then strengthen others. Hello?
Jennifer Rothschild: Thank you, Lord.
K.C. Wright: Jesus interceded for Peter because Peter was frail. But just because Peter was, and we are, frail doesn't mean our faith will fail.
Jennifer Rothschild: That's right.
K.C. Wright: Jesus is right now at the right hand of the Father, continually interceding for you, because -- hello? -- I continually need it.
Jennifer Rothschild: Don't we all. Don't we all. We are sustained by the prayer of Jesus too, we really are. He ever intercedes for us because we really do not know how to pray as we ought, as Scripture says. So 4:13'ers who pray like Amos, they confess to God what he already knows, that you're frail.
What does Psalm 103:14 say? That he knows how we are formed. He remembers that we are but dust. We are needy. We are small. We are frail. How can we stand without the mercy of God? We cannot stand. We cannot stand up tall enough, we can't stand firm when the wind of persecution blows, we can't stand without shaking to our core when persecution or opposition pushes on us. We can't stand strong in our faith without the intercession of Jesus. We are frail and we may fall. We may fail. But because Jesus is alive and always interceding for us, we will rise after failure and then we will strengthen others.
K.C. Wright: This was so good. Really good.
So again, here's your three ways to pray like Amos. Number one, confirm God's authority. Thank God for the Sovereign Lord and his Word. Number two, call out for his mercy. And, number three, live in constant confession of your deep need. Thankfully, we have the Helper, the Comforter, the Teacher. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness when it comes to praying as we ought. And since Jesus is ever interceding for us at the right hand of the Father right now, we, like Amos, can intercede for others.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, we can.
K.C. Wright: Aren't you just so thankful for that?
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.
K.C. Wright: So we've got a free Scripture prayer download to help you pray like Amos. Amos interceded for Israel and so we need to intercede for each other in these days like never before. So download this free prayer guide. It's beautiful. And you can personalize the verses with the names of the people you love. You'll be guided to pray for revelation and wisdom, strength and endurance for the ones you have placed on your heart by the Holy Spirit. So go to the show notes, 413podcast.com/206. You can also go to jenniferrothschild.com/Amos to find it right there, and all sorts of resources to help you in your spiritual walk.
You can get a copy of Jennifer's new Bible study. It's called "Amos: An Invitation to the Good Life." Here's an invite to get that invitation to the Good Life right there. All right? Plus you can read a sample chapter and watch the first video teaching. So check it out. And, of course, we can get you there with just one click from the show notes. We make it so easy just for you, our 4:13ers. 413podcast.com/206.
All right, our people, we love you and we mean it.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, we do.
K.C. Wright: We really do. We could not do this without you. You're the reason we do this. Until next week, keep on living the Good Life God has for you. Pray for others because God is listening to your voice. When we call, he answers. And remember, you can truly do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.
Jennifer Rothschild: I can.
Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.
Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.
K.C. Wright: True story.
Jennifer Rothschild: You know what? By the way, K.C., I can never say that verse in Psalm about the Lord remembers our frame, he knows that we are but dust, without thinking we are butt dust. We are butt dust. It just doesn't sound right, does it?
K.C. Wright: Oh, no.
Jennifer Rothschild: Way to be humble. I'm just butt dust. I'm butt dust.
K.C. Wright: I'm humble and proud of that.
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