Oh, revive us! Then your people can rejoice in you again. Psalm 85:6 TLB
There is nothing more frustrating than the feeling of praying to heavens made of brass.
The Prophet Jeremiah knew what this was like. In the third chapter of Lamentations, he raises this lament,
He shuts me in so I’ll never get out,
manacles my hands, shackles my feet.
Even when I cry out and plead for help,
he locks up my prayers and throws away the key.
He sets up blockades with quarried limestone.
He’s got me cornered. [MSG]
Prayer for a cornered man
Do you feel alone and cornered?
The Message Bible gives us a prayer for the cornered man:
Help us again, God of our help;
don’t hold a grudge against us forever. You aren’t going to keep this up, are you? Scowling and angry, year after year? Why not help us make a fresh start—a resurrection life? Then your people will laugh and sing!
Show us how much you love us, God!
Give us the salvation we need! [Psalm 85:6-7]
Before this quarantine began, our book club was reading, If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat by John Ortberg.
On page 91 the author discusses prayer and desperate situations:
It is striking to me how–both in Scripture and in present-day examples–stories of water-walking are almost always stories about prayer. There is something about getting out of the boat that turns people into intense pray-ers, because they are aware that they cannot accomplish things without God’s help…
He tells the story of one man named Bob, who was challenged with a bet, to pray for Kenya every day, for six months.
So, Bob began to pray, and nothing seemed to be happening, until, he went to a dinner in Washington D.C. one night and met a woman from Kenya.
She invited Bob to visit Kenya.
He went and was appalled by the poverty he saw. Upon returning to Washington he began to write to pharmaceutical companies, describing the vast need in Kenya. He reminded them of the large amounts of medical supplies that went unsold each year, and would be thrown away.
“Why not send them to Kenya?”
And some of them did. One orphanage received more than a million dollars’ worth of medical supplies!
Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones:
The power of the Lord was upon me and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley full of old, dry bones that were scattered everywhere across the ground. He led me around among them, and then he said to me:
“Son of dust, can these bones become people again?”
I replied, “Lord, you alone know the answer to that.”
Then he told me to speak to the bones and say: “O dry bones, listen to the words of God, for the Lord God says, ‘See! I am going to make you live and breathe again! I will replace the flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you shall live and know I am the Lord.’”
So I spoke these words from God, just as he told me to; and suddenly there was a rattling noise from all across the valley, and the bones of each body came together and attached to each other as they used to be. Then, as I watched, the muscles and flesh formed over the bones, and skin covered them, but the bodies had no breath. Then he told me to call to the wind and say: “The Lord God says: Come from the four winds, O Spirit, and breathe upon these slain bodies, that they may live again.” So I spoke to the winds as he commanded me, and the bodies began breathing; they lived and stood up—a very great army. Ezekiel 37:1-10 The Living Bible
One day I heard a gentle Whisper…
One man… one man praying–is all I need to change everything!
(You keep focusing on all those who stand against you.)
What are they… ? Nothing! If I AM for you? Who can be against you? I AM the God of heaven and earth. Beside Me there is no other! [Isaiah 45:6]
Do you hear… that thunder in the distance?
The one who stands with, “The One of Heaven and Earth,” is all the majority you need. [Isaiah 44:8]
Move your focus back to Me… My face… My Word. I AM all you need! [2 Corinthians 12:9]
These “false prophets” you see… even, fear?
What are they if, “I AM” is with you?
Bow before My throne like Elijah of old with your face between your knees… [1 Kings 18:42]
See what I will do for the one who humbles himself before, The One–The Only One, who rules all in heaven and earth. [Isaiah 44:6]
- Bow now.
- Ask now.
- See now.
- Hear now.
- Know now…
What I will do for the one who bows, who humbles himself, who prays for the nations, for the broken, for the captives…
Come near… I AM eager to move on your behalf.
“When God calls people to do something, their initial response is almost always fear. If there is a challenge in front of you, a course of action that could cause you to grow and that would be helpful to people around you, but you find yourself scared about it, there’s a real good chance that God is in that challenge.” –John Ortberg
Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do…
Exodus 6:1 KJV