1 Samuel 7:3 And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, if you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign Gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve Him only, and he will deliver you out of the hands of the Philistines.
1Samuel 7:3-10 Samuel told Israel to turn away from the false Gods, and humble themselves before the Lord and ask forgiveness from God and be obedient to God and that God would protect them from the Philistines. The Philistines came after them, and the Israelites told Samuel to keep praying for God to save them. Samuel not only continued to pray for them he also made an offering of a lamb.
God heard him, and caused the Philistines (who were the enemies of Israel) to be terrified by thunder and let the Israelites chase them off and kill them. Isn’t the idea of God scaring off your enemies by thundering at them kind of amazing?!! Since God created nature making a little convenient thunder is not a chore for him at all!
Proverbs 9:10-12 (NIV – Bible Gateway website)
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For through wisdom your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
Note: The people of Israel were doing wrong and had a crisis which caused them to turn their attention back to God. Think about occasions when people are far from God, and have a personal crisis in their life (or an emergency situation) which causes them to turn back towards God.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. (NASB)
When those crisis occasions come about in a person’s life it is awfully nice if your relationship with God is really close and in good standing. It’s a case of, “Why wait for a crisis?” to turn your focus back to God. Also think about how important it is to be in good standing (meaning have a good close personal relationship or friendship) with God when talking to him through prayer. Think about how you feel about friends who are fair weather friends, and only are nice to you when they want something. Do you feel like giving that person what they want? How do you think God feels when we don’t give him a thought unless we need something?
Think about God’s overwhelming forgiveness in this story, and how they gained forgiveness through prayer and obedience to God’s command. To get the maximum impact in your prayer life, you must have a good relationship with God. Just as you must have good relationships with your friends for them to be there for you in your time of need.
This does not mean that you will never have troubles, but that you will never be alone in your troubles. If you are in close communication with God, then your troubles are easier to bear.
Psalms 119:67-68 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. (NASB)