Pray & Dig

Pray & DigThe fact is far too many of us get ourselves into hot water all on our own, and then we want to call on God like an insurance policy to bail us out. We usually have some reasonable-sounding excuses:

  • “It seemed like a good idea at the time”
  • “It was so practical and common sense I didn’t think I needed to pray about it”
  • “I’ve done this dozens of times before and never had any trouble.”

There’s a story in 2 Kings where three kings got together for a battle. To them it seemed like a pretty good idea―there were three of them going to war against just one king, they knew the terrain, so it would be an easy victory.

Except it wasn’t.

The Bible says that after a 7-day roundabout march, the three armies were out of food, out of water, stranded in the desert, and about to be defeated without the enemy ever firing an arrow or swinging a sword.

One king wanted to blame God. The king of Israel said, “Bad news! God has gotten us three kings out here to dump us into the hand of Moab.” (2 Kings 3:10, MSG). But fortunately the king of Judah thought to ask, “Isn’t there a prophet of God around that can call on God for us?” (v. 11).

Here’s one of the most amazing things: Elisha―the representative of God’s presence―was right there with them! Think about that … these kings hadn’t asked God for help, and hadn’t invited Elisha along, but there was the prophet right in their midst!

It’s a good reminder for us: God is ALWAYS with us. But it’s up to us to recognize Him and go to Him in prayer.

When these kings finally asked God for help with their water problem, Elisha said, “It’s an easy thing for God to provide water for you. You’ve prayed, now it’s time to prepare for His supply.” The armies were called on to dig lots and lots of ditches. God would send a supply of water without rain to take care of the troops. And if that wasn’t enough, God also said He would give them victory over their enemy. As Matthew Henry wrote, “God’s grants out-do our requests and expectations.”

Pray first. Pray continually. Pray always. And then when God tells you to dig ditches, get ready for His abundant blessings. But get the order right: Don’t dig and then pray; pray first, then dig!

If you’re in the Cedar Springs area, please join me next Sunday as we continue our series The Prayers Of Elisha.

The Prayers Of Elisha

The Prayers Of ElishaElisha was a prophet whose name means “God is salvation.” And God did show His saving, healing, sustaining power through Elisha in 28 separate miracles.

But here’s the cool thing to me: Elisha is a regular guy. He comes from an average family, from one of the lesser known tribes of Israel. Elisha was a farmer, and had a few guys working for him. Other than that, we don’t know much about his background. Elisha truly was an Average Joe.

Elisha is a perfect guy for us Average Joes to learn more about the power of prayer. What God did through Elisha, He wants to do through all of us too. Please join me this Sunday as we kick-off a new series called The Prayers Of Elisha, and get ready to see your prayer life grow.

Keep Striking

Keep strikingThere is an unusual story in 2 Kings about King Jehoash. Elisha the prophet was on his deathbed, Israel was morally bankrupt and on the brink of defeat. The entire Israeli army had been reduced to fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand infantry. It was in this hour of desperation that Jehoash sought out the counsel of Elisha.

Elisha said [to Jehoash], “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.

“Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”

Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”

What made Elisha angry is what I believe makes God angry. Jehoash came to God when the situation seemed impossible, but he wouldn’t pray it through. It’s almost as if he felt like three times was enough to pray, and then he needed to take it from there.

God wants us to pray BIG, but He also wants us to pray LONG.

We need to keep striking the ground (or as Mark Batterson would say, keep drawing the circle) until God answers. God gave Jehoash a promise of victory, but Jehoash didn’t pray long enough to see it through.

What are you praying for? What promise has God given you? God is glorified when you place your request in His hands, and leave it there. Keep on praying. Keep on striking. Keep on circling until God brings about what He has promised!

We are praying all this week. If you’d like a copy of the prayer guide we’re using, please click here. If you are near Cedar Springs, please join us Friday, January 11, at 6pm for our prayer concert. We’ll be striking the ground in prayer, and then our worship team will lead us in singing our praise to God.

And join us next Sunday as we continue to learn more about praying circles.

%d bloggers like this: