|Vol. 13 No. 8 August 2011||
Adam B. Cozort
Living in Mississippi, everyone knows that once the summer months come, rain gets harder to come by. This year, we have had a particularly dry end of spring and early summer, with very little rain in our corner of Mississippi during that stretch. It has been highly bemoaned by many people that the lack of rain is starting to ruin the crops because the farmers and gardeners cannot keep enough water in the soil. Our garden was no exception.
My sons have been helping in the garden every day this spring. This week, my four year old began praying with every prayer that God would send rain for our garden. Mind you, this is with a weather forecast that had no real chance of rain coming for the next week and a half. Yet, undeterred, my son continued to pray for rain at every meal, every prayer before bed and every other occasion he thought of it during the day.
By the middle of the week, something happened. One day when there was to be no rain, suddenly we had a thirty percent chance, then fifty, then eighty. That night we had some thunderstorms roll through and give us a nice dousing rain for about an hour. Last night, we received the same thing. This morning, as I wrote this, the thunder was rolling and the rain was about to begin again. My son has also not ceased to thank God for the rain in every prayer since it began.
As with so many things kids do, there is a lesson here for the adults. James said, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). There is also the example of Elijah used in James 5:17-18, showing how when Elijah prayed for it to stop raining it did – for three and a half years! Then, when Elijah prayed again for it to rain, God sent it, and the earth brought forth fruit.
If God will hear the prayers of the righteous man, what about the innocent child who has no sin to be held to his charge, but thoroughly believes in God and what He can do? I believe I have seen the answer. It is a lesson that many Christians need to learn. Many times the adults who should know better do not pray for the things that are needed because we have accepted “that’s just the way it is around here.” We forget the One who created all, and controls all, the One who waits to help those who will ask of Him those things that are needed.
Do we really believe, when we pray, that God will answer our prayers in the way that we need it? Do we believe it is enough to pray continuously without wavering for the needs of our lives? Or, have we already decided which prayers God will answer and which ones are not worth the time and effort?
God does answer prayers. He does not answer them all in the same way at the same time, but He does answer them. May we always put our faith in Him, remembering Who He is and what He has said He will do, and not in what we think will happen “whether we pray or not.”
When Jesus was arrested, many of those who had been closest to him fled (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50). During that night, Peter, when questioned, denied that he knew Jesus (John 18:15-27; Mark 14:66-72). After the crucifixion, we are told that the disciples were in an upper room behind locked doors (John 20:19).
Those who had been closest to Jesus, and had been with him through some very difficult times, became cowards at the critical time. They were neither brave enough to stand against the Jewish leaders nor against the Romans. [The apostle Peter was willing to die fighting for Christ in the Garden (John 18:10), but he was unprepared at that time to live for Christ in the face of peril. ~ Editor] However, something happened within a few days. Those that had fled and had been hiding became courageous. They were willing to go to prison for preaching about Jesus. They were willing to die for telling others about Christ.
What happened to change their minds? Jesus rose from the dead and spent time with them. They were able to talk with Him, touch Him and eat with Him. They knew for a fact that He was alive again. They could remember things that He had foretold and knew that He had told the truth. They were convinced that He was indeed the Son of God. Only His rising from the dead and appearing to them could have caused such a marvelous change in their attitude.
This is another reason for us to know that Jesus was Who He stated He was, God. You can point this out to anyone who would try to tell you that Jesus did not rise from the dead.
Study your Bible. Learn to be a courageous disciple of Christ, and if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.