Links Daily Devotional

Provision and Prayer

Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds. (Zechariah 10:1, NIV)

I’m not sure golfers ever pray for rain. At least not at their tee time.

We do all love green golf courses, however, and in the western United States this year, that look is not always possible. The grass needs more rain than we have received, and priorities call for that water to be used for more urgent needs. Even courses with their own wells have started to conserve, for the groundwater is deeper than it has been in a long time, and the cost to bring it to the surface is significant.

So golfers here, along with farmers and industrialists and household water users, have been praying for rain. That is, if they believe in that sort of thing.

We might be tempted to ask ourselves whether praying for rain—or any other such need—is even biblical. Should we really be bothering God with this stuff? And if so, is he listening?

Deeper still, we can possess a sort of spiritual fatalism when it comes to the sovereign work of God. Won’t it rain no matter what we pray, if that is what God wants it to do? How will our little request turn him one way or another?

In its usual simple way, the Word of God cuts through all this. When it comes to basic needs, there is no such thing as “no need to ask.”

The prophet Zechariah spoke specifically of praying for rain, which the farmers and ranchers of ancient Israel needed just as farmers and ranchers need it now. Even modern irrigation has no chance of watering the crops and animals if there is no water in the reservoirs because of drought.

Jesus too addressed the common needs we have, instructing the disciples to ask of God, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Then he went on to show them how unbelievers run around in worry, obsessed with how they will get their food, drink, and clothing. “Seek God first,” he told his hearers, “and all those little things will come as you need them.”

When a child who has been fed every meal of his little life comes to his mother and asks her to feed him, he does so out of relationship, not out of any experience that she will not. And so it is with us. We are able to trust God completely, in his plan and his provision. Yet he teaches us to pray. To express our dependence on him. To voice our humblest requests. To tell him that we trust him, even when the day seems bleak.

God’s work is to provide. Our work is to pray. As he does not hesitate in his work, neither should we in ours.

Jeff Hopper
August 12, 2015
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