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Water Your Life

Sprinkling Can

by Dennis Pollock

While we often speak of rain as a bad thing, the Bible generally speaks of it very positively. We say, "Into each life some rain must fall," but when Jesus tells us that the Heavenly Father sends rain on the just and on the unjust, He is saying that God is good to all, sending His refreshing rain even upon the wicked, ungrateful, and godless. Biblical Israel was an agricultural society, and the worst possible event was a drought. When the rain is shut off everybody suffers. The prophet Joel opens his book with the description of a terrible drought: "The seed shrivels under the clods, storehouses are in shambles; barns are broken down, for the grain has withered" (Joel 1:17).

Jeremiah describes the awful situation of the man who trusts in others or in himself, but has no faith in God:

Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. (Jeremiah 17:5,6)

Where there is no water, there is no life. Dry, salt lands are fit for nothing and are never inhabited. Such is the condition of the man who does not place his trust in God. The answer to cracked, parched land is water. The only thing that keeps a desert a desert is the lack of water. Let any desert begin to experience regular rainfall, and it will cease being a desert. Give it enough water and Death Valley will become a tropical rain forest. In the book of Job, the question is asked, "Can the reeds flourish without water?" This is a rhetorical question and the only possible answer is no. Neither reeds, nor oak trees, nor corn, nor wheat, nor daisies, nor roses, nor pineapple plants, nor grass, nor hedges, nor fruit trees, nor green peppers, nor cantaloupes, nor blueberry bushes, nor any other living plant can flourish or even live without water.

A Watered Garden

Isaiah writes, "The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail" (Isaiah 58:11). In the Old Testament God uses physical realities to reflect spiritual truths. It is not just plants and crops that need watering; our lives need the water that only God can give. God is the Source of life. Regardless of how severe the drought conditions, He can ensure that we are healthy and flourishing, like a watered garden. And there are so many areas of our life that need heaven's waters! We can experience drought in our spiritual life, our marriage, our finances, our joy, our work, our ministry, and our relationships, to name a few.

The prophet Amos records God saying to Israel: "I also withheld rain from you, When there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part withered" (Amos 4:7). What Amos is describing might be called a partial drought. Our lives are often in partial droughts. We may be prospering and flourishing in one area, and utterly parched and dying in another. Our finances may be flourishing while our marriage is dying; we may be excelling in our career while our relationship with our children is terrible. We may physically healthy while spiritually in critical condition. How beautiful are general and widespread rains, that bring heaven's blessings to every part of our lives! The answer to any and all droughts, whether partial or general, is God, and His designated Fountain, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as farmers must have rain, God's children must have the rain of heaven, the living waters of the Holy Spirit enriching every area of their lives. While nearly all Christians would agree with this, for many this is simply a matter of trying to do their best to succeed, and hoping that God will bless their labors. In truth, there are divine protocols for receiving regular spiritual rain throughout our lives. Let us consider four of these fundamental protocols.

The Process

First – We must pray. A passage from James makes this clear. James tells us:

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:17,18)

In a drought condition, the answer to drought is found in the link between three concepts: prayer, rain, and fruit. Elijah prayed, heaven gave rain, and the result was fruit. Praying people get more rainy seasons that those who rarely pray. When droughts appear, wise people know exactly what they must do – they must pray. Prayer doesn't always mean instant rain. In Elijah's case he prayed and sent his servant to the sea seven times to look for any evidence of a rainstorm. Finally on the seventh time a small cloud appeared, telling Elijah that the answer was on the way. So don't expect that the clouds must pour down rain five second after you have finished praying. But by all means look for the rain, and the fruit in your life that divine rain will inevitably produce.

The second protocol is: Prayer must be targeted. There is a reason why snipers never use shotguns. A shotgun sends out many pellets that scatter in different directions, which is great for killing a small, fleeing rabbit at forty feet, but terrible for bringing down a moose four hundred yards away. A sniper's rifle is designed so that it shoots a single bullet a long distance on a straight, unwavering trajectory. A shotgun is general, a rifle is specific. If we want our prayers to reach heaven and bring definite results, we must learn to be specific.

PrayerBlind Bartimaeus had been calling out to Jesus, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" When Jesus called him to Him, He asked a strange question: "What do you want Me to do for you?" Everybody in the crowd knew exactly what the man wanted of Jesus. He wanted his sight. And Jesus surely knew this. But it was important that Bartimaeus declare it. Just a general, "Have mercy on me" wasn't good enough. The child prays, "God bless Mommy and Daddy and Aunt Martha…," and for a child that is a nice enough prayer. But when the child becomes an adult, he must go beyond that and pray for specific needs, articulating the desires of his heart and needs of his life. We must learn to approach the throne of grace with specific petitions on our lips, and with Biblical promises that give us a reason to expect an answer.

Proverbs tells us: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6). We are not just to acknowledge God in a general way ("Lord I need you in my life") but in specific ways (Lord, my job situation is shaky. I need your wisdom, Give me favor with my boss, and the supernatural ability to do my job well"). Is there any major area of your life that you do not pray about? Do you pray about your ministry but not your family, your children but not your marriage, your health but not your career… We must cover all the areas of our lives and acknowledge God and our need for Him in all things. Imagine a garden in drought conditions where you went out and watered your corn but left your tomatoes to languish. You watered the north part of the garden thoroughly but left the other part totally dry. Who would do such a thing?

A third protocol in seeking God's favor on all of our lives is that Prayer must be regular. God is big on daily: "Give us this day our daily bread." Don't ask for bread for the year, and then ignore God for the next 364 days. Don't pray for your spouse once, and then go five months before you think of them again. Manna came to Israel daily. Every day except the Sabbath they must make the effort to go out and gather heaven's blessings. So we must daily pray for the favor and blessings of God on our lives and ministries. If you were planting a garden in a desert, what good would it do to water your garden once every six weeks? In ancient Israel, the priests would offer the morning and the evening sacrifice every day. Many times our prayers go unanswered not because we never prayed, but because we failed to "give God no rest until He established" (Isaiah 62:7) the desires of our hearts.

Sporadic, do it once in a great while, praying will never be as effective as regular prayer. Prayer is called the incense of the saints. In Exodus God instructed Moses to build an altar for the offering of incense, and said: "Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations" (Exodus 30:7,8). There was to be a never-ending daily offering of incense as a sweet smell to the Lord. This represents our regular daily prayers. We must send our incense toward heaven unceasingly.

The fourth protocol for seeking the blessings of heaven on our lives is the most important of all: Prayer must be based entirely upon Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death and resurrection. We cannot argue God into submitting to our desires, nor can we hope to earn them through upright living. Our only hope of succeeding when we approach that holy throne of the Almighty is to base our faith, our request, and our hope of a positive response upon the pristine and perfect righteousness of Christ. This is why we are always to pray in His name. Jesus tells us, "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13). A prayer to God, concluded by a vague, "In Your name, Amen," isn't enough. Any Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu could pray that prayer.

Two Kinds...

Raincloud

This then is for Christians the means by which we can be assured a constant supply of life-giving rain on the various areas of our lives and ministries. We are not suggesting that it is impossible for praying people to experience drought, but it is impossible for praying abiders in Jesus to stay in drought conditions. The clouds will gather, the skies will darken, and the rain will fall. There are two kinds of families in this world: those that are prayed about and those that are not, two kinds of businesses, those prayed for and those not, two kinds of children, those who have prayers going up on their behalf and those never prayed for… Determine that your life, your family, your business, your marriage, and everything else connected with you will be prayed about – regularly and specifically. Then, like Elijah of old, watch for the rains to come.

In one sense, we are the ones who water the gardens of our lives. When we pray regularly, we are watering our lives, because we are engaging in the one activity sure to bring the rain. The burden rests with us. God stands willing and able to send His rain, His divine favor pouring over our lives and families and all the work of our hands, but He waits to be invited. He awaits that beautiful incense to rise from our hearts as we daily approach the throne of God with thanksgiving, praise, and petition. When you take the time to pray you should see yourself as a man or woman going out to your garden with a watering can. Take your time, making sure to carefully water every area of your life and family. Do it often and talk to God about specific needs and desires. And don't forget to remind Him of His promises: promises to answer our believing prayers, to give wisdom liberally to all who ask Him, to withhold no good thing from His children, and to provide all the needs of those who seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. What amazing privileges we have in Christ Jesus! Let us approach the throne of grace boldly and daily, as we offer specific prayers over every area of our lives, and let us watch for the life-giving rains. They will surely come!

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