I grew up in Arizona and Texas, so praying for rain is just something I was brought up to do. I was not, however, given advice for what to do when God overwhelms you with an answer to that prayer. I feel like many of you probably have similar feelings, as in the past few days I have heard everything from, “I will never stop praying for rain!” to “Rain, rain go away!” Yet even in the midst of flooding, it somehow seems wrong for us to pray for the rain to stop, especially since drought has so often been a part of our lives.
I find myself wondering if perhaps the reason that we don’t know what to pray for in the midst of a flood is because we are praying for the wrong thing, or at least expecting the wrong things from our prayers. We pray for rain because it’s something that we need and we feel that if God answers this prayer then things will get better. Yet when that prayer is answered, we don’t know what to do. New problems arise with the sudden influx of water and we are also reminded that we still have the many other issues in our lives.
All of this makes me wonder, is rain really the thing for which I should be praying? We all know that it will rain eventually. The Earth has done a great job of surviving for about four and a half billion years. So what is the thing that we truly desire? I find that quite often I am not really praying for rain or whatever thingthat inhabits my prayer. Most of the time I am praying for a better life. For the better days that are associated with rain in the midst of a drought, and ironically the sunshine that comes at the end of the flood. I am always looking for the greener pasture on the other side.
I know that I should not be praying for rain, but rather for the faith necessary to sustain me in the midst of the drought. So often I pray for answers, for some miracle from God instead of the wisdom, patience and courage to seek the path that God has already laid out before me.
In the book of 1 Kings we find the story of Solomon and his famous prayer. Solomon asks God, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind.”
I want to be more like Solomon, because faith isn’t needed when it rains. Faith is needed in the midst of drought, both literal and metaphorical. So I hope that you will join me in praying the serenity prayer, instead of asking for God to fix problems that we know God will take care of, as God has done for billions of years.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
My friends, we cannot change the weather, but we can change how we respond to difficulty and drought, frustration and flood. I pray that we have the wisdom to know the difference, and like Solomon has shown us, it is never a bad idea to pray for wisdom itself.
Today I do not pray for rain, but nor do I pray for the rain to stop. Rather, I pray that God will give me wisdom and show me how I ought to act in the midst of drought, flood and everything in between.
Have a wonderful week my friends,