All the talk about the dead of winter has me thinking about the hope of spring. I have a huge tree in my yard. I know that in the next few weeks, as the weather warms, the branches will sprout little green buds. They will be the first signs of life in that sleeping giant. I know that as the days grow longer, those little buds will grow into huge leaves that will fill every inch of that mammoth with life. It will shade my lawn and my home all summer long. I know because this is the course of nature. It is not wishful thinking, but a hope I can count on. It is a dependable annual cycle.
It is such a great picture of the hope we should have as we pray. When we take our requests to God, we have confidence that he hears us and that he is working in every situation (1 John 5:14). It is his nature to be involved in our lives and active in each request we make. In the same way that the small buds appear on the tree, God’s answer to our prayers may begin in small ways.
God has done some of his greatest works with small beginnings. Abram left his home and family at God’s direction. He had one son, Isaac, who had two sons. Eventually, God made the entire nation of Israel from that one man and his wife. David was the youngest son in the family, left out in the field to tend the sheep. But, God made him King of Israel. Jesus came as a baby in a manger and became the Savior of the world. God accomplished his greatest work by starting with small beginnings.
As we have been looking at the story of Elijah this week, we learned how persistent prayer moves us closer to God. As we focus on God’s promises and remain wholly engaged, prayer will also move us toward hope.
1 Kings 18:44a
Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”
When Elijah heard that a small cloud had come up over the sea, he knew that God had acted. In that small beginning, Elijah knew the rain was coming.
When we see the changes in our circumstance and in ourselves, we can have hope in God’s working in those small beginnings. Not a wishful hope but a confident expectation, knowing that God is at work. The final results may not be what we initially requested, but our faith will be strengthened because we have recognized God at work.
What areas of your prayer life need to be instilled with hope, a confidence that God is working through your prayers?
Where have you been looking for big changes and may have missed the small beginnings God is bringing about in your life?
Start a journal where you record the requests you are making to God in prayer. In that journal, provide space where you can record the ways in which God is working in each situation. Include how he is moving in your heart to address the need. Your faith will grow and your hope in prayer will be strengthened as you recognize God at work.
Father, thank you for your promises concerning prayer. Your word tells me that prayer is powerful and productive. Help me to have confidence in the truth that you are working in my life as I pray, and in the lives of those for whom I pray. Help me to see the small beginnings in my own heart as well as in the circumstances of life and to be strengthened in the hope I have in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
This post was written by Terry McGraner. Terry is an engineer at Dana Corporation. He facilitates GrowthTrack and leads a Group at the South Toledo campus. He is married and the father of four adult sons. He loves spending time with his family and communicating the truth of God’s Word to make an impact in the lives of others.
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