Saturday, July 28, 2007

Me, Pray About the Weather?

Bad weather stretched across the US from the Atlantic to the Pacific. There on the computer screen the warnings were visual. It looked scary. Heavy rain in the southeast. Strong storms advancing in “Tornado Alley,” and a continuing drought in the southwest.

With no rain for 78 days here our concern is for the forest. Bible camps outside of town are vulnerable. Everyone — camp administrators, fire officials, the sheriff’s department are on full alert, concerned about the potential danger. Everyone, that is, except the Christians I’ve talked to lately.

Pray about the weather? It sounds strange to petition God about seemingly unchangeable weather patterns. Perhaps it would bother Him and distract Him from more important things. It seems sort of selfish to ask for Him to fix the weather, kind of like something children would do when dark clouds advance towards the park.

Other people will claim that they don’t want to focus on bad things, only on the good things that are happening. That way they can keep on smiling, while ignoring the worldly events. They might point to the fact that in the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples He does not mention praying about the weather.

What if we believers were to pray fervently about the bad weather, and then the bad weather kept on coming, people were injured, property was lost. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?

What kind of a testimony would that be to our unbelieving friends and neighbors!

What we pray for
shows what we care for.

Of course, God is not counting how many prayers are asking for a certain thing to happen. And He does have an over-all plan for mankind. His Will will be done.

But our prayers to Him are not wasted. The Lord is developing our character. Events come at us each day, and we have a choice of how to act. If we pray for Grandma Maude’s place to be spared from the flood we can trust that God already loves her more than we do. God can answer prayer in a way that works out to be a wonderful blessing.

The Bible mentions weather: heat, storm, rain, snow, wind, lightning. Noah, Moses, Job, Paul, Elijah, and others dealt with the forces of weather. When you read one of those accounts picture what is happening. Imagine how the people are feeling, what they might be saying and doing. God is getting someone’s attention; He’s making a point.

David wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until this violent storm is past. I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill His purpose for me. . . My God will send forth His unfailing love and faithfulness. . . My heart is confident in You, O God; no wonder I can sing Your praises.” From Psalm 57 (NLT).

Perhaps as we look out the window at the drifting snow — or the pounding rain — we should be questioning ourselves. What does God want me to learn in this situation? What can I do to help someone? When was the last time I felt like this?

Prayer is not a formal, dry and unemotional reading of some holy-sounding words someone has written. Prayer is not a scientific formula. And we all know that prayer is not confined to church on Sunday.

What shall I say? What shall I pray? Is my relationship with the Lord growing strong and confident?

No need to be bashful about telling others that you pray and you converse with God about such daily stuff as the weather. “Let your light shine . . .” to give God the glory. Our part is to trust and obey.
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