Great and Mighty Things
A devotional by Dana McNeely
I have a fondness for the old preachers. One morning this week, I was reading Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a 19th-century British preacher. A single word jumped out and stuck with me all day. Reserved. I pictured a sign on an empty table in a banquet hall. A plaque on a closed door. A place set apart for a select group. When I see that word, I instinctively want in.
Words from an old sermon
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” ~Jeremiah 33:3 KJV
Spurgeon shared different translations of that last phrase. One version translated “I will show thee great and fortified things.” Another, “Great and reserved things.”
The preacher went on to expand the idea of reserved things, special things in the Christian life not easily attained. While there are feelings common to all believers, such as feelings of repentance and faith, joy and hope, there is a higher place of communion with Christ. A secret place. A hidden place.
He wrote, “We have not all the high privilege of John, to lean upon Jesus’ bosom; nor of Paul, to be caught up into the third heaven. There are heights in the knowledge of the things of God … God alone can bear us there; but the chariot in which he takes us up, and the fiery steeds with which that chariot is dragged, are prevailing prayers. Prevailing prayer is victorious over the God of mercy.”
Prevailing Prayer ~ The Example of Elijah
Spurgeon’s reference to the fiery chariot in which Elijah rode to heaven brings to mind the prophet’s persistent prayers—and their answers.
He prayed, “Lord, make good your promise. You said you’d make the skies as brass, should the people turn from you—and they have. Lord, stop the rain!” And God stopped the rain for over three years.
He prayed, “Lord, this widow opened her home to me. Don’t bring this tragedy upon her!” And the boy came back to life.
He prayed, “Lord, show the people you are the one true God—and I am your servant.” And fire came from heaven.
Following the Example of Jesus
Jesus exemplified persistent prayer. He began all things with prayer. He prayed before he was baptized (Luke 3:21-22), before preaching in Galilee (Mark 1:35-39), and before he raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:4-44). He was praying even before his disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1-4). He followed that with the parable of the neighbor coming to a friend’s house at night and knocking … and knocking and knocking.
These examples encourage me. If there is a reserved place of special communion with Christ, a higher place, it is still available to all. Persistent, believing prayer will add our name to the reservation.
For further thought:
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” ~Matthew 7:7 (NLT)
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
~James 5:16b (NLT)
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thess. 5:16 (NLT)
What have I left out? Plenty! What are your favorite thoughts and verses on prayer?
You can read Spurgeon in a Devotional “Morning and Evening” in the free YouVersion Bible APP.
Previous post on prayer ~ Prayer That Gets Answered
Inspired by the Bible story of Elijah and the widow’s son, Dana McNeely wondered why the prophet had come to stay with these two. Who were they? What was their life, before? And how did the boy change after dying, seeing the other world … and coming back?
Dana began research for her novel, “Rain,” which tells the story of the three-and-a-half-year drought from the boy’s perspective.
No stranger to drought, Dana lives in an Arizona oasis with her hubby the constant gardener, two good dogs, an antisocial cat, and migrating butterflies. She writes biblical fiction, cozy mysteries, and has written for magazines and newspapers. Her short story “Death in the Butterfly Garden” appears in SoWest: Killer Nights (2017).
Connect with Dana on Facebook, Twitter, or DanaMcNeely.com