“Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone.”
In this truly wonderful little verse in Zechariah a precious truth is opened up for us that we so often find ourselves taking for granted. Zechariah has been speaking the Word of the Lord to the people of God, showing them that God’s faithfulness to his covenant promise to Israel will be revealed in the years to come as a great blessing on the Day of the Lord. God is going to deal with the nations, judging them, and calling some to redemption that they might be included in His people. He is also going to refine His people so that they will truly exhibit the righteousness of God in this sin stained world. The refining will lead to the prosperity and security that God has been constantly promising. It is a sure thing, because God is faithful. He will uphold His covenant promises to His people, especially as those promises have been established in the shed blood of the sacrifice. Looking ahead, we know that these promises are in fact established in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Nothing can be more secure or certain than that. So we look to the fulfillment of God’s promise to us. In fact we rejoice right now in that fulfilled promise. On account of that finished work of Christ we now find ourselves redeemed and adopted into His family.
Here is the precious word from Zechariah which he piles on top of the wonderful things he has been writing. God has promised these blessings, so come before Him and ask Him for them. The promise is and invitation to sincere, heartfelt, believing, expectant, confession and prayer. Ask Him for rain in the springtime the prophet writes. This is not the only time in the Word of God we see this link between our need, God’s promise, and the call to prayer. In Nehemiah 1:4 we read about a Godly Servant in King Artaxerxes’ court who receives distressing news from friends in Jerusalem and who immediately cries out to God in prayer. We should note that Nehemiah had the promises of God through Jeremiah and Daniel to lead him to understand that God was restoring His people. Still he goes before God in prayer.
“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.” (Nehemiah 1:4-7)
Nehemiah goes on to continue praying scripturally seeking the Lord’s providence in very specific ways in his life and in the life of His people. He prays courageously, specifically, and expectantly, confessing his sins as well has the sin of the people of Israel. In Daniel 9:1ff we see that Godly man doing exactly the same thing in response to God’s prophetic promises to him.
I believe that this is God’s calling on His church today. We have been given wonderful promises regarding God’s faithful working in our midst as He brings about the wonderful redemption which we have in Christ. We know that these promises are secure because they are rooted in His faithfulness. So often we take them for granted. God will do what He will do, we reason. What God is doing is calling us to prayer. We are to sincerely, confessionally, expectantly ask Him for the very things He has promised us, following the pattern which he has revealed to us in His Word. God is calling His Church to prayer. Praise God!!