Friday, August 19, 2011

Surviving Spiritual Drought – Pray for Rain

Now Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower." So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees. He said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." So he went up and looked and said, "There is nothing." And he said, "Go back " seven times. It came about at the seventh time, that he said, "Behold, a cloud as small as a man's hand is coming up from the sea." And he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.' " In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. 1 Kings 18:41-45

I don’t necessarily like the counsel when it is given.  “Well brother, it sounds like you need to pray about it.”  When my situation is difficult, when my way is unclear, when my mind is confused and my emotions frustrated, I want answers.  I want clarity.  I want relief, and I want it delivered pronto! 

“Pray…”  Being told to simply pray can feel like a cheap response…a trite and predictable solution to complicated problems.  At least that’s what my emotional reaction can be.  However, it is also good counsel. 

Yesterday, we read 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God calls us to repent, humble ourselves and pray, seeking his face.  The scripture tells us that if we will do that, that God will hear from heaven and heal our land (including ourselves).  So here we are, praying for rain…literally, and figuratively.

One of our members called me a few weeks ago and said: “I don’t think we know how to pray…because we’ve been praying and it hasn’t been raining!”  In spiritual drought, the wait can be brutal.  When…When will God finally break my drought?  Why doesn’t he send the rain?  I don’t know.  But keep praying!

Elijah – “Go back and look again!”
It had been a long season of drought.  In fact it had been three years since God had closed up the heavens.  Streams had dried up and the whole land was suffering.  Finally, God told Elijah to inform Ahab that it was about to rain.  Elijah sent his servant to go and check out the clouds.  The report came back…nothing.  Clear skies.  “Go back and check again!” Elijah instructed.  Again, there were no clouds.  The scriptures record that while Elijah stayed on his face before God in prayer, he sent his servant back seven times to check the skies, and on the seventh time there was but a cloud the size of a man’s fist in the sky. Elijah told Ahab to get ready…Rain was coming! 

Sometimes, it’s next to impossible to keep up faith when we need rain and the skies haven’t a cloud. My heart doesn’t want to keep praying when I have been dry for so long.  In Elijah’s day, it hadn’t rained in three years!  What incentive was there to keep looking?  Faith.  Elijah KNEW that God had said it would rain again.

We often don’t know when our drought will come to an end, but we are instructed to keep praying for rain.  Though our time of spiritual drought seems like it will never end, we are encouraged to remember that since the beginning of time, not a single drought…NOT ONE has lasted.  Rain has always come!  Pray for Rain!!

Scriptures to claim:  
Many times He would deliver them; they, however, were rebellious in their counsel, and so sank down in their iniquity. Nevertheless He looked upon their distress when He heard their cry; and He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.  Psalm 106:43-45

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