Read Hebrews 11:20–31

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

ReflectWho or what are you currently burdened for in prayer? Have them in mind as you consider today’s passage.

Faith helps us to overcome our fears, shuns comfort to do what is right, is proved through obedience and trusts God to intervene in his perfect way and timing, rather than depending on our own efforts. Pause to consider each example and any challenge it may bring to you personally.

Now return to verses 20 and 21, which address the impact and empowering of faith-filled words. Verbal blessings passed from father to son were important in Hebrew culture. In fact, the writer viewed these examples as acts of faith, for these blessings became true even when younger sons bypassed the natural order of inheritance (see Gen. 27 and 48).

At times, we pray words from our desires or feelings as to how we want God to act. God hears and lovingly responds to such prayers, though he is not a god to be cajoled into doing our will.

Other times, we may wait on God’s Spirit to inspire us with his heart for a situation (see Rom.

8:26). Proclaiming aspects of God’s nature and purpose fills our words with faith, encouraging us to pray with confidence and perseverance.

Apply

Rather than merely telling God what you want, listen to him now, and let his Spirit guide your prayers.