Rise Up, Oh Lord!

This morning I decided to start a new book of the Bible, 1 Corinthians. I had it in my mind to read, let’s say, well, at least a chapter or so of the book. So I began reading chapter 1, verse 1, and it was great! Then chapter 1, verse 2, and it was great, too! Then the Lord clearly spoke to me, “Pray!” But I kept reading. Oops. That’s the same problem I had last time, if you will recall – going one step ahead of the Lord. I felt utterly grieved in my spirit.

What could be so important that the Lord would “barge in” like that and tell me to pray, after I had just started reading the good book of 1 Corinthians? Surely the Lord didn’t want to upset my Bible reading, did he? Well, as it turned out, I closed my eyes (was already kneeling) and began to pray. And oo la la, did I have a prayer to pray! God evidently DID have something for me to pray about!

And this is what I prayed, the words effortlessly coming from my lips, as though the Lord himself had put them there and was just waiting for me to spill them out so that he could, in turn, respond to them.

“Father, Canada and the United States (*) have gone so far astray. Just look at all the people that are rising up against you! There are so many of them! They are rising against you, against your people, and against your word! Lord, are you not going to defend your word? What are you going to do?” (* insert your own country)

This, friends, is the key question in all of this. So often we take the “political” approach – signing petitions, calling up government representatives, getting on the phone and organizing rallies, and the whole gamut! But, do we pray? I can tell you for sure that I want nothing to do with all of those “things” if the Lord has not specifically called me to that! Instead, I just want to pray, and then … speak! Let me explain.

Do you realize that Elijah – a single man – prayed that it would not rain in Israel, and it did not rain for 3 years? Referring to Elijah, the Bible says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Are you righteous? In other words, are you right with God? If so, you can pray just like Elijah prayed, and be heard. Of course, it must be Spirit-led. You wouldn’t want to pray for “no rain” when God was telling you to pray for something else. In this case, however, the “no rain” had a purpose. The purpose was that it would “force” the king of Israel (Ahab) to acknowledge God’s Lordship over the land — that Ahab did not have ultimate power, God did!

Indeed, the lack of rain was used as a disciplinary agent against wicked king Ahab to show him who was boss. Without rain, the man was ruined. Today, make no mistake about it, we need to pray like Elijah. Maybe the prayer is, “Lord, stop the rain!” That, of course, would not be enough. We’d have to also TELL THOSE IN AUTHORITY LIKE ELIJAH DID THAT “[As] the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1). Otherwise, how will they know that Christians are praying, and how will God get the glory? This is why Elijah spoke. He had to, otherwise he’d only be doing half the job that he was commanded to!

Elijah was a bold man. He knew that he had the “in” with God! He was able to be – yes so bold – as to actually tell king Ahab, “there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” Awesome! And, I tell you for sure, this same type of thing can be repeated! Will it? My honest opinion is, it will. However, that does not mean that there will be no problems. Back in Elijah’s day, there were plenty of problems, I would say as many or more than we even see now in our nations. So don’t get the idea that having authority (through an established relationship with God, personal sanctification, and fervent prayer) means that there will be no problems. There will always be problems and it does not mean that someone will not want to hunt you for your life — after all, Elijah was hunted himself.

But what victory! That is what I like best in reading the accounts of Elijah! What victory, and what glory! This, of course, brings me back to my prayer of this morning, “Lord, are you not going to defend your word? What are you going to do?”

My dear and precious friends, I sincerely doubt that it is God’s will to let his precious word, or his people, or his name, be crushed, ruined, and stomped upon, as we are clearly seeing happening in our day. It is my firm belief that God himself desires to “rise up” through a holy and committed people, and display his glory, just like he did back in the days of Elijah. This of course, will mean sacrifice — giving up your time and energy doing “other non-essentials” to commit yourself to prayer and things that will really make a difference in light of eternity. Do you have a relationship with God? This is number one. Secondly, are you living a holy life? This is number two. Finally, are you fervent in prayer? If the answer is “yes”, make no mistake about it, you are positioning yourself to be used of God in a mighty way.