Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | March 7, 2014

March 7, 2014 “Out On A Limb Prayer”

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.” (James 5:17)
Good Morning Everyone!
   This morning, those of us living in Mooresville, NC woke to the realities of an ice storm that blanketed our area. While quite lovely, it does come with its downside. My former associate, Dr Fred Coates, posted some pictures online this morning (which I was only able to access recently due to the internet being down because of the ice storm), of a large tree limb that crashed against the side of their house, snapping from the weight of the ice. Thankfully, no really serious damage is apparent, and everyone is doing just fine. Metaphorically, this makes me think of the risks involved on going out on a spiritual limb. There are times when we should, and times we should not go out on a limb. For example, it is unwise to go out on a spiritual limb by trusting God to protect you if you are engaged in some unadvised and unsafe activity unnecessarily. Remember how the devil tried to get Jesus to do that by tempting him to throw himself off the pinnacle of the temple to prove he was the Son of God? He could have done it, but the response from Jesus was “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” That’s a good example of unnecessarily going out on a spiritual limb. On the other hand, there are times we should be willing to take the risk. A prime example is boldness in praying for others. In the Book of James, we read James’ words that “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.”  Just preceding this example, James says,  “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” He reminds us that there was nothing particularly supernatural about Elijah. He was flesh and blood as are we.  But through bold and earnest prayer, it did not rain on the land for three and a half years! That’s going out on a limb. That’s bold prayer rewarded. Author Rick Hamilton writes,
“Go out on a limb when you pray for others. Take a risk. Be outrageous. Be passionate. Take a leap. Love a lot, not just a little.”
Bold, passionate, even outrageous praying for others, for healing, for strength, for guidance, for wisdom, for whatever…demonstrates confidence in God and love for the one for whom you are praying. The Enemy would have you think “Well, yeah, but what if I pray and nothing good happens from it? What will they think of me and my faith in God? Will they lose faith in God?”  The Enemy doesn’t want you to venture out on to that limb of faith. It just might snap. Then again, the prayer just might be answered as it was for Elijah. An un-prayed prayer will never be answered. Take a leap. Love a lot. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Let’s pray!
Lord God; Strengthen our confidence in You, that we might heed Your voice calling us to the Throne of Grace. In doing so, we find rich blessing and witness Your love to others. Strengthen our weak knees that we may raise up prayers confidently and with great expectation, for we ask it in the name of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen!
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