Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you are turning their hearts back again. – 1 Kings 18:37
"'Shout louder!’ Elijah said. ‘Surely [Baal] is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’ So [the Israelites] shouted louder…but there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.’” 1 Kings 18:27-29.
How many times have you wondered if God was paying attention to you? Have you ever (gasp!) doubted that God answers prayer? Or more poignantly, that God answers your prayers? Without announcing my suspicion on a highway billboard, I do occasionally succumb to the fear that God may just be deep in thought or busy taking care of other, more important matters. If it is true that doubt, like faith, is a learned skill (Mark Lilla, NY Times Magazine), then I no doubt have learned an age old skill.
Then last week happened. I was in a place emotionally where the only thing I could do was sit…and let my iPod worship for me…and sigh out in prayer, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Help me to trust in your faithfulness, and know you are God…to me.”
Remembrance by Matt Redman took its turn in my ears, and the words flowed through my thoughts. “Oh, how could it be, that my God would welcome me, into this mystery?” Yes, I thought. How could it be? God welcomes me into His mystery. But wait! God welcomes me. He knows me. I didn’t doubt. I believed!! For the first time (ever in my life!) I heard words that spoke of belonging, of being known and loved, and not a shred of doubt, disbelief, or denial crossed my thoughts. Just pure, unadulterated belief! God had, for the moment, healed my chronic skepticism of all good things pertaining to me. And it wasn’t arrogant. It wasn’t prideful. It was a sweet, humble confidence in the Lord’s love for my soul. I believed!
After Elijah taunted the Baal-worshiping Israelite and watched as no one responded, no one answered, and no one paid attention, He then turned to his God in prayer. “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you are turning their hearts back again.” And God responded, abundantly. Fire reigned! The offering doused in water instantly dried up. The entire altar: bull, kindling, stones, and water bath, all gone in an instant! And to top it off – rain. After seven years of surviving in dry-as-a-bone wasteland and barren cropland, God brought rain. This was no little whisper of a promise to come. This was an outright display of majesty and power. This was abundance at its best.
God had heard my quiet murmur of a prayer. I didn’t need to shout. I didn’t need to shake God from his deep thoughts or pull a number on his waiting list. He already welcomed me into His mystery. He heard all the little whispers I managed to breathe out in the middle of a hectic day. And as I prayed in His will, He answered abundantly.
Monday: Lord, help! I haven’t planned for our art co-op this afternoon. I need a dish for the party tonight. And I still have to purchase a gift for the baby shower.
Lord: All your supplies are in your closet. Use that Tastefully Simple box hidden up on the top shelf…and like the box says, “Just add water.” Oh, and make sure to answer your front door. I sent a friend over with your baby shower gift.
Tuesday: Lord, please help me find ways to improve my writing.
Lord: How’s a 200-word writing contest for the upcoming Chronicles of Narnia movie release? Or how about another longer submission for Xulon Press? (I put them both in your Inbox). If those don’t interest you, the Christian Writer’s Guild has an online Writing Essential class and an upcoming writing conference that I designed with you in mind. But just in case you’re looking for something today, MOPS is looking for work we’ve already written to complete their upcoming newsletter. Just send it in. They’re waiting to publish it.
Wednesday: Lord, help my unbelief.
Lord: You already believe. Just listen to this.
Last week happened. I didn’t need to shout louder. All I needed was to pray in His will, however soundless it may be, and to watch Him work…abundantly. Maybe I could learn new tricks after all.
What prayer have you withheld from God under the suspicion that there would be no response? Do you trust Him with everything, even your doubt?
May I pray for you?
Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief. May we look to you for every little thing, waiting in expectation for your abundant response. For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. Psalms 145:13
The Power of a Praying [Woman, Parent, Wife, Husband, Teen, Kid, Church, or Life] by Stormie O’Martian reaches anyone eager to discover the power of prayer in their lives.
Mom’s in Touch Ministries A prayer ministry that impacts children and schools worldwide for Christ by gathering mothers together to pray. The website provides a listing of MITI groups around the nation, downloadable prayer sheets, conferences, encouragement and more!
Christ Our Life a sermon by Tim Keller, best-selling author and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NY Free download! Listen to pastor Keller convince you that doubt, like faith is learned…and much more!
The Only Hope by Bebo Norman. You can find this joyful retelling of God’s amazing abundance on his self-titled album Bebo Norman.