THE BEGINNING OF PRAYER
Genesis 3:8-15


Genesis 3:8-15. ďAnd they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10: And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11: And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12: And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13: And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 14: And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.Ē

Prayer can best be described as a personal conversation with God. We generally think of prayer as asking God for something, but thereís much more to it. I feel that I fall short of reaping the full benefits that God has planned for me because of my lack of communication with Him. God wants to hear from us. He has even asked the Believer to ďPray without ceasingĒ [1 Thessalonians 5:17]. When we donít respond we diminish the power He supplies in the life of the believer.

Iím sure most believers pray on a regular basis, but Iím not sure we ask for the right things. For instance, when we set down to read our Bible, do we always pray that the Holy Spirit will open our understanding, or do we just read and hope? Do we pray with unselfish motives, interceding for others, or are our requests mostly for our own benefit? God wants to supply all our needs but He also wants us to be aware of the needs of others. I believe that God wants to hear our praises and thanksgiving most of all.

For the Believer, understanding the necessity and power of prayer is a must. Itís our privilege to converse with God on every detail of our every day life. Nothing is too big or too small for God to care about, so make contact with Him often.

One time I asked a lady of a different faith why she prayed to Mary. Her answer was that Jesus might be too busy to answer and since Mary was His mother, she could put pressure on Him to answer. I pointed out that Jesus told us to pray to God the Father, in Jesusí name, and He never mentioned praying to His mother. John 16:23. ďVerily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you.Ē

In the first two chapters of the Bible, God spoke a number of times but there is no record of anyone answering. Then, in Genesis 3, a conversation is recorded between God and Adam. Genesis 3:9. ďAnd the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?Ē Adam and Eve were hiding from God, and they heard His voice in the garden. God spoke to Adam before this, but this is the first conversation recorded between God and man in Scripture.

Conversation is a necessary part of prayer or there is no prayer. There are only two involved in true prayer, you and God - and no one else. Others may be present, but in this account there were two people present: ďGod called unto Adam.Ē There can be two or two hundred present, but real prayer is always a conversation between one person and God himself.

There are a lot of kinds of prayer like prayers of thanksgiving, or intercession, and various forms of requests but the fundamental thing is, they are all simply a conversation, a dialogue, between an individual and God.

Jesus taught this about prayer in His Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:6: ďBut thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.Ē When He said, ďBut you, When you pray..." He was addressing His disciples individually. He didnít say ďif you pray.Ē God takes it for granted that the believer is going to pray. He said, "When you pray, go into your closet, and shut the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret." He didnít mean that the only place we are to pray is in a literal closet. He is saying, "Shut the world out. Donít be thinking about what other people think of your prayer. Talk to God and God alone.Ē

Itís interesting to listen to people pray. Some arenít praying to God as much as they are praying for the benefit of those listening. You hear some amazing things. I knew a man who, whenever he prayed, almost invariably would begin with ďYes, dear God,Ē and continue talking to God just exactly as he would if he was talking to a beloved and respected friend.

Heís in glory now, talking face to face with His Savior, but I still miss his honest way of praying. It all comes down to this: prayer is a conversation, simple and direct, between you and God. That is what you see in this opening account here in the Bible.

Genesis 3:8-9a: ďAnd they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9: And the LORD God called unto Adam,Ē

God came to the garden in the cool of the day to talk with them. This would seem to be a daily thing in Adam and Eveís lives, hearing Godís voice and having a conversation with Him.

Talking to God is prayer, so the Garden of Eden is where prayer really began. Sad to say, the first prayer recorded in Scripture was in the Garden after the fall.

Man was created in the image of God so God may have appeared to Adam and Eve as another human being while they were still in their sinless and holy state. Up until this time, man was sinless and holy and thatís the only condition under which man could have seen God.

If He did appeared as a man, itís a picture in a faint way of the time coming when God Himself, in the form of Christ in His incarnation, would become a man, actually one of us.

In verse 9, God takes the initiative. The Lord came into the garden and called out for the man. Nowhere does it say that Adam or Eve saw Him, but a conversation ensued. All prayer consists of a conversation between God and man.

In Genesis 18 we find God is having a conversation with Abraham about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God initiates that conversation, Abraham questions His decision. Abraham pleaded with God for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah after God has announced that He was going to destroy them because they were evil. Abraham asked God to forestall judgment if there are 50 righteous people in the city saying ďYou don't destroy the righteous with the wicked, do you?" Then Abraham proceeded to pin the Lord down as to how many righteous it would take in order to save the cities. He finally ends up with ten people, and God says that if there are ten righteous people in the cities the He will spare them. There werenít even ten.

Abraham displayed a lot of compassion for these wicked people, but in spite of all his pleas, Abraham wasnít more compassionate than God. Man is never more compassionate than God. Compassion is born of God. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were trying to duck God, but it was God in His compassion who called to Adam.

We read some instructions on how to pray in Matthew and John, but there are times when we just donít know how to pray about a certain situation. The apostle Paul wrote, in Romans 8:26-27: ďthe Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27: And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.Ē

There are many times that we, as Believers who want to do the will of God, donít know what to ask in prayer. Those verses take the pressure off our finite minds and put our needs into the hands of the Holy Spirit.

Weíre bound to face situations that we, in our own wisdom, donít know what to pray for and weíll feel overwhelmed. I have faced that situation several times in my life, not knowing what to ask for. We have the comfort of going direct to God in our weakness and trust our request to the Holy Spirit. We donít know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit helps us and prays through us so that our hearts seek Godís will. The Holy Spirit prays to God the Father, and God the Father acts according to what the Spirit prays for and considers that prayer as coming from us.

Since prayer begins with God, itís God who causes us to feel a need or a desire to pray, or to establish a regular habit of prayer. When God called for Adam in the Garden, Adam and Eve may have been apprehensive but also relieved that their sin was out in the open now and that God hadnít shut them out totally. Deep in their hearts they must have wanted to talk to God. God puts the desire to be right with Him in us and we respond to that.

Hereís the scenario. The guilty pair are hiding in the bushes, aware of their nakedness, feeling ashamed and guilty for what theyíve done. This feeling is something new and different and awful. Itís the opposite of what was true before they sinned.

Before this, God met them in the cool of the day at a time they could feel comfortable and relaxed. Now sin had entered in and Adam and Eve were hiding from God. The informality is gone, replaced with fear. But God takes the initiative to correct the situation and asks Adam and Eve some questions. God wants that gulf bridged between Him and man.

There are times in our prayer lives when we sense a gulf that separates us from God. Weíre either too proud, too lazy, or too dull to open our heart to Him.

What encourages me about this account is that God assumes the responsibility to change it. He does it in prayer by the asking three questions. ďWhere are you, Adam?Ē 3:9, "Who told you that you were naked?" 3:11a and finally, "What is this that you have done?" 3:13.

Itís not as if God didnít know the answers. He knows the answer to every question before He asks it. Adam and Eve really donít want to talk with God or see Him, but God very graciously calls Adam to ask him these questions. He easily could have done away with these two and started over. He didnít because He loved them. He had created man in His own image with a soul and spirit and our spirit lives forever.

The first question is very important: "Where are you?" There isnít a more important question in life than that. Whatís going on in my life? Where do I stand before a holy God?

God is using this to teach us that, in this sin-cursed earth that we now dwell in, itís very important that we know where we stand before the holy God.

Iím sure God's question was hard for Adam to explain because he knew that God knew where he was. Heís hiding in the bushes, feeling ashamed and naked and alienated from God. He knew in his heart he wasnít where he should be or was the day before. I think this is when the full impact of the situation hit him.

His lame answer was; "I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." Genesis 3:10

God's second question is "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Genesis 3:11a

God more or less asked him ďWhere did you get your information? I didnít tell you. You never knew it before. You didn't find it out yourself because itís been true ever since I created you. Youíve been listening to someone other than Me!Ē Of course, the only other creature on the scene is the serpent. Among other things, He must have told them they were naked.

God in His mercy has just shown this couple that we have to discriminate in whose voice we listen to. Thatís also a warning to us.

Turn on the television and listen to the commercials. Theyíre constantly telling us, "You need this. You deserve it. You're deprived." That comes all the time, doesn't it? I canít even figure out what theyíre selling most of the time. They say, ďask your doctor if itís right for you.Ē

Iíve almost come to the conclusion that, according to the TV commercials, no matter what it is that Iím deprived of, ďfor everything else, thereís Master Card.Ē

We know from Scripture that the serpent lied to Eve. He indicated that God had cheated and lied to them. He encouraged Eve to eat a bite of this fruit and she would find what she had been looking for. ďJust taste it and see what itís like to know what God knows."

One of the most important things in the Christian life is to understand that there are voices in this world we have to reject. They bombard us continually and we have to close our ears and shut our eyes to them because theyíre coming from someone other than our God.

Then God brings up a third question, "What is this that you have done?"{Genesis 3:13a}

Adam took it like a man -- he blamed it on his wife! Eve took it like a woman -- she blamed it on the serpent. But in each answer there is the implication that God is to blame. Verse 12. ďThe woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.Ē And verse 13; ďAnd the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat."

In other words, they intimate that if God hadnít given Adam his wife and if He hadnít allowed the serpent in the Garden, none of this would have happened.

This is the beginning of that natural tendency that every one of us has to minimize our guilt, to blame someone else for what we have done. But if you read carefully, Adam and Eve both are forced to end their attempt to justify themselves with these words "and I did eat." Adam in Verse 12 and Eve in Verse 13.

When they acknowledge their responsibility, everything changes. God has no more questions. In fact, He focuses on the serpent and begins to curse him. Oh, yes, there will be certain unavoidable consequences that follow for the man and the woman because of their wrong choice. There are always consequences when we make a wrong choice. If you break the speed limit you know there is a fixed penalty for that, yet many of us do so daily.

Out of this horrible mess came both bad and good for all mankind. Out of this came our sin nature that everyone is born with but out of this same tragedy came the promise of a Redeemer for the sinner, that Man, Christ Jesus.

This Garden scene is a beautiful account of the forgiveness of God. It ends with God making clothing out of the skins of animals to clothe Adam and Eve in their nakedness.

Innocent blood had to be shed to cover their shame of nakedness. The animals that had to die in order for God to obtain the skins that made the clothing were guilty of no wrong. This pictures Jesus Christ who shed His innocent blood to take away the shame of our sin. The skins picture the robe of righteousness given those who trust Christ as their Savior.

Adam and Eve still had to leave the Garden of Eden and the world would never be the same, but God promised a Savior would come Who would defeat Satan and shed His perfect blood for their sins and the sins of the world.

God told The serpent, who is Satan, Verse 15: ďAnd I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.Ē

It was the act of prayer there in the Garden that God used to take control of their situation and help them see where they were in reality and to accept His forgiving grace and restoring love. That is what prayer does for the Believer. Itís Godís way of bringing us back into a right relationship with the Him.

Sometimes we are reluctant to pray. That was Adam and Eve's problem here. It was because there was sin in their lives. When there is sin in our lives, we find it hard to pray.

When we hide ourselves like Adam and Eve did, Godís voice is not going to let us go. Heíll keep gently calling us until we answer. He wants to deal with our sin and sometimes He has to do that with severity, but it will lead us to a place of cleansing and forgiveness and restoration.

When my girls were small they would come running to meet me when I came home. If they had been good, they couldnít wait to tell me what they had been doing all day. If they had been bad, they werenít in such a hurry to meet me because they really didnít want to tell me what they had done. Just like Adam and Eve, they knew there would be punishment for doing wrong. Then my reception was one of apprehension. They usually wanted to get it over with and get back to our loving father and child relationship.

As Believers, weíre all Godís little kids, and He wants to keep our loving relationship with Him fresh each day. If you do wrong, confess it to God right away and Heíll restore the fellowship that both you and He want.
1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

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