Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Man Like Us

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. James 5:17-18 NIV

Do we really believe that Elijah was a man just like us? Have you noticed that the Bible doesn’t gloss over even the greatest heroes weaknesses? They are laid out for all to see. We have a tendency to put those who appear on the pages of Scripture in a specialized category in our hearts and minds. We shouldn’t do that. They were people, in their human nature, just like us. Ultimately God wrote them into His story and that is what gives them and us our significance. At some point in time God called them into a relationship with Himself. The depth and quality of any relationship depends on communication. He talks to us through his Word and prayer. We respond to Him through conversation…we talk to God… that is what prayer is. It is simple and profoundly important. We really don’t need to complicate it. We don’t need formulas or big theological words.

I love this quote by Rick Warren: Imagine I walked in the door one evening and my kids said: "O, almighty procreator of our family. How wonderful thou art, who sovereignly deposits our allowance to us. Oh, the majesty of thy wonderful self! We beseech thee to come eat dinner with us." I'd check their temperatures to see if they were sick! I don't want to hear that. I want them to say, "Hey! Dad's home. Good to see you, Pop!" I'm not saying to be flippant in prayer, but that's how you make contact with God. You just talk with him in a genuine and heartfelt way."

Elijah was very specific in his request and we should be also. When I was a young a mother I heard a sermon that really challenged me to teach my children to pray for specifics and not just in generalities. The pastor was very pointed in his analysis of why parents are hesitant. We don’t want our children to be disappointed if God doesn’t answer, so we foster low expectations with non-specific requests. He stepped on my toes, but more importantly he convicted my heart. I asked the Lord for opportunities to encourage my children to pray for specifics. Of course He came through.

My daughter overheard my concerns that the lack of rain was hurting our large garden. Big brown eyes looked earnestly into mine and said, “Mommy, let’s ask God to bring rain today.” I swallowed hard because I knew that there was no rain in the forecast all week. We joined hands and prayed that God would bring the needed rain to our garden. She happily and confidently went outside to play in the bright cloudless day with her brother. I had my own prayer session asking God to deal tenderly with her young faith. Imagine my delight when a couple of hours later the kids were dashing to the front porch to get out of rain shower that was falling as the sun shone almost as brightly as her little face. There was no doubt in her mind or mine that the Lord of the universe had stooped to hear and to answer her request. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Of course my daughter had to grow in her relationship to God in prayer. She had to learn patience and perseverance and how to stand on His promises. But I would say she learned one of the most important aspects up front…when you pray say….be specific. The Lord hasn’t changed He still asks, “What do you want Me to do for you? Matthew 20:32 Remember to say, “Thank you.”

MY PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the privilege of bringing all our concerns to you in prayer. Help me to be clear, help me persevere and help me to have high expectations because of who You are.

MY CONFESSION: I will be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will let my requests be made known to God. Your peace will guard my heart and mind. I stand on Your word! Phil. 4:6-7

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