Prayer History Begins (My Prayer Journey, Part 2)

The history of prayer and worship begins with Genesis 4:26. “At that time people first began to worship the LORD by name.”

At the beginning of chapter 4, Eve gives birth to Abel and then Cain. As we read through the chapter, we find the familiar story of the brothers and the first murder in history.

Cain and Abel both offer sacrifices to the Lord, but Cain’s is rejected and Abel’s is accepted. Scripture is vague about why the sacrifice of one was accepted and one rejected, and there is much speculation. Suffice it to say, Cain is upset that his worship is rejected and kills his brother Abel.

The Lord punishes Cain by banishing him from his family and territory and he is forced to start a new life. Through Cain’s descendants, the world was introduced to the arts and industry. He was a worldly man and indeed brought great benefit to the world around him. What was missing was worship and respect for the Lord.

On the other hand, Eve was blessed with another son, Seth, who was to take Abel’s place and carry on the family’s heritage as the new firstborn son. It was through this lineage that public worship was formed.

The paths these two brothers were on could not have been further from one another. One valued the world and one valued his relationship with God. There is a stark contrast between the ways of the world and the ways of worship, prayer, and following God. Enosh, the son of Seth, helped form and shape the way in which people expressed their desire to follow God. While Cain went his own way through disobedience, beginning with the rejected sacrifice, Seth (Abel)’s son followed God.

We have to be careful to not allow the world around us distract us from truly worshipping God through prayer and service. The things that the world offers can certainly be good, but they cannot become the sole focus of our lives.

As we seek to pray and grow closer to God, we have a choice to make: Do we follow the world and its priorities, or do we follow the Way of God? A life of worship and prayer stands in stark contrast to the life of worldly priorities.

I wonder, what in my life is keeping me from worshipping and praying? There are so many distractions and things that attempt to pull me away from true worship and prayer. Some of these things are even “good” things. But if I allow myself to be taken from my highest calling, that is, prayer and worship of God, then I have missed the mark, just as Cain missed the mark in his sacrifice. God doesn’t want my seconds – he wants the first and best parts of me.

So what about you? What keeps you from worshipping and praying the way you would like?

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