Praying With Expectation

Praying with expectation can be risky,
but praying without expectation is a waste of breath.

Let’s take a lesson on praying with expectation
from The Circle Maker.

It was the first century BC and
a devastating drought threatened
to destroy the generation before Jesus.

Desperate people called on the prophet Honi to pray.
With a six-foot staff in his hand,
Honi began to turn like a math compass.
His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical.

90 degrees.

180 degrees.

270 degrees.

360 degrees.

He never looked up as the crowd looked on.
Honi stood inside the circle he had drawn.
Then he dropped to his knees and
raised his hands to heaven.

“Lord of the Universe,
I swear before your great name that
I will not move from this circle
until you have shown mercy
upon your children.”

The words sent a shudder down the spine
off all who were within earshot.

It wasn’t just the volume of his voice.
It was the authority of his tone.
Not a hint of doubt.

This prayer didn’t originate in the vocal chords.

Like water from an artesian well,
the words flowed from the depth of his soul.

His prayer was resolute yet humble;
confident yet meek;
expectant yet unassuming.

Then it happened!

As his prayer ascended to the heavens,
raindrops descended to the earth.
An audible gasp swept across the
thousands of congregants who had encircled Honi.

Every head turned heavenward as
the first raindrops parachuted from the sky,
but Honi’s head remained bowed.

The people rejoiced over each drop,
but Honi wasn’t satisfied with a sprinkle.
Still kneeling within the circle,
Honi lifted his voice over the sounds of celebration.

 “Not for such rain have I prayed,
but for rain that will fill
cisterns, pits, and caverns.”

The sprinkle turned into such a torrential downpour
that eyewitnesses said no raindrop was smaller than an egg in size.
Once more he refined his bold request.

“Not for such rain have I prayed,
but for rain of Thy favor, blessing, and graciousness.”

Then, it began to rain calmly, peacefully.
Each raindrop was a tangible token of God’s grace.
And they didn’t just soak the skin;
they soaked the spirit with faith.

 It would be forever remembered as the day.
The day thunderclaps applauded the Almighty.
The day puddle jumping became an act of praise.

It had been difficult to believe in miracles the day before the day.
The day after the day, it was impossible not to believe in them.*

As Hurricane Irma pounds the Caribbean Islands and
threatens the southern US,
it’s time for women of prayer to pray for God to stay his hand.

Just as the ancient prophet Honi
demanded rain,
we can ask God to take the wind out of Hurricane Irma.

Just as Jesus calmed the sea in Mark 4,
we can ask for Hurricane Irma to
Be Still.

Will you join me and the other women in the 
Belonging, Believing, Becoming More Like Jesus Group
in prayer over the next several days
to diminish, deflate and deflect
Hurricane Irma?

God Almighty,
you reign over heaven and earth.
As our country recovers from Hurricane Harvey,
we watch angry radar images of
the strongest Hurricane on record make its way
across the islands and toward our borders.

God, we beg you to calm this storm.
Take the wind out of Irma.
We ask you to deflate and defeat this storm.
Calm the storm and seas!
We ask you to turn Irma away from land.
God, we know that you can and
we ask what you will
demonstrate your power over nature
and protect your people.

We also ask for heroes to rise up and for restoration to be swift
for the people of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla,
Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Saint Maarten,
Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy, British Virgin Islands,
U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra,
Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti,
Guadeloupe, Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

We ask these things in the
Mighty Name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

*The account of Honi may be read in its entirety
in The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.