by Robert Walker

This content is part of a series.

Pattern For Prayer (2 of 3)
Series: Prayer
Robert Walker
James 5

And I'd like to begin by focusing our thoughts to an event, which happened over 150 years ago in which a very specific prayer was answered. This is an excerpt from the life of Charles Finney, who was a Presbyterian minister, left the Presbyterian Church, went to Oberlin, Ohio, where he taught theology and was renowned for his revivalism in that particular period. It was the summer of 1853 and it was unusually hot, writes his biographer.

Hot and dry, so that the pastures were scorched and they seemed likely to be a total failure of the crops. Under these circumstances, the great congregation gathered one Sabbath at the church in Oberlin.

As usual, though the sky was clear, the burden of Finney's prayer was for rain. In his prayer, he deepened the cry of distress which went up from every heart by mentioning in detail the prolonged drought.

And he used these words, ''We do not presume, O Lord, to dictate to thee what is best for us. Yet thou dost invite us to come to thee as children to an earthly father and tell thee our wants. We want rain.

Our pastures are dry, the earth is gaping open for rain, the cows are wandering about and lowing in search of water. Even the animals in the woods are suffering from thirst. Unless thou givest to us rain, our cattle will die and our harvest will come to naught. O Lord, send us rain and send it now.

Although to us, there is no sign of it. It is an easy thing for thee to do. Send it now, Lord, for Christ's sake. Amen.''

He took a text and began to preach but in a few moments he had to step back and stop for the noise and the rattle and the roar of the storm. He paused and said, ''We would better stop and thank God for the rain.''

And that's a lovely story. It's a story I like to share from time to time. It's a story, though, that begs us to ask a number of questions. Right there and then God seems, whether it's by coincidence or the han ...

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