Register today for VBS 2022!

Calling on the Name of the Lord: A Genesis

By Gianluca Cueva

“…At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD.” - Genesis 4:26

For the next six Sundays pastor Mike will be preaching on what Christians have commonly called: “the Lord’s Prayer”. In tandem with Sunday mornings, we will be doing a biblical theology on this crucial Christian discipline and topic every Friday blog. But, what is biblical theology? (glad you asked!) One branch in biblical theology is the discipline of choosing a biblical theme in Scripture (e.g. Temple, Resurrection, Land), and running that theme throughout Scripture (from Genesis to Revelation), observing how it develops, grows, and changes.

Our concise six-week blog series will be painting with broad brushes, and aiming to cover the broad sweep of prayer throughout Scripture. This will allow us to have a more complete view of the grand scheme of prayer throughout Scripture. But this also means we will not be able to fully cover all of the rich prayers found in the Scriptures. However, if this topic does interest you, we would highly recommend this book as a resource for further study.

So where do we begin? Where Scripture so often begins: the book of Genesis. While some may want to begin with Adam and Eve speaking to God in the garden, scholars argue that these interactions don’t necessarily fall under the commonly understood category of “prayer”. Biblical theologian Gary Miller argues that, “prayer is taken to refer to the deliberate activity when human beings call on God when he is not immediately present.”

If we work using this definition, our first example of prayer would come in Genesis 4:26. And the text would seem to confirm this definition for it makes clear and emphasizes that this is the start of something new, something different is taking place that hasn’t occurred before, and in this case it’s prayer. But why does prayer begin here?

In the previous chapter, God promises Eve that one of her offspring would crush the head of the tempter and deceiver (Gen. 3:15). However, it quickly becomes apparent that Cain and Abel would not be the fulfillment of this promise. And once Seth is born, there may have been hope that perhaps he would be the one to crush the head of the snake. But soon Seth too would go the way of every person. The hope would then fall on the next descendent: the son of Seth, Enosh (Gen. 4:26). And it was during that time that people began to pray. But why?

It soon becomes apparent and clear to the people that the one to crush the snake would not come to them as soon as they may have thought. What’s left for the people to do? To call on the name of the LORD. Prayer at its very beginning and core is defined by God’s people calling on God to fulfill his promises. Prayer is therefore gospel-centered, it’s for a fallen world, for it begins as a cry for God to save and rescue according to his promises. In other words, “prayer begins in the Bible as a cry for God to do what he has promised - to deal with the reality of sin by delivering on his covenant promises.”

This week in light of this reading, ask yourself: What has God promised us that we should be calling on his name for? What has God promised for our world, community, neighbors?

In many ways this blog series will be borrowing and based off of Gary Miller’s “Calling on the Name of the Lord”