With over a million acres charred by wind-swept wild fires, the state’s governor has asked Texans to pray for rain. Is it right to pray for rain? While it needs no political personality to make the call, praying for rain is biblical. Elijah prayed for rain and God sent rain (James 5:17-18). The Psalmist implied we should make the desires of our heart known to God (Ps. 37:4). The writer of Hebrews suggested that we could go “boldly to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16). While it is true that God sends rain on the just as well as the unjust (Matt. 5:45), we must realistically remember that sometimes God says “No” to our petitions (Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying for the “cup” to pass) and sometimes God says “Wait” to petitions (Paul praying for his “thorn on the flesh” to be removed). As Jesus prayed in the Garden, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done” (Lk. 22:42), so every prayer request should end with a “Nevertheless.” It is right to ask God for rain, but only if we submit our desires to His greater will – “Nevertheless.” Just like parents respond to a child’s request based on the good of the entire family, so God responds to the requests of some of His children on the basis of His will for all creation. While God may choose not to prevent wild-fires, He can and will use their results for “good” to those who “love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). With this tough promise in mind, we must walk (and pray) by faith.
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