Today I was reading Ezekiel chapter 37. You remember the story. In a vision God shows Ezekiel a valley that was full of dry bones and told him to prophesy over the bones commanding them to live again. I’ve read it before, but this time several things struck me.
First of all, in the vision God tells Ezekiel to speak to the bones. Why does he tell Ezekiel to do it? He is God after all. Why doesn’t he simply show His power by commanding the bones himself? The answer is profoundly simple; because God likes to work with us. He loves interacting with us and partnering with us to serve His Kingdom and His people. He delights in us seeking His face as we minister to others and as we come before him together in the Prayer Center and privately in our homes. He loves being with us.
Secondly, I noticed that in the vision Ezekiel had to command the life two times. Through his first command God brought the bones together and put skin on them “But there was no breath in them.” (Ezekiel 37:8) So Ezekiel again followed Gods instructions and “the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet.” (Ezekiel 37:10) Persistence is the point. We don’t always see immediate results from our prayers do we? I’ve been praying for some things for years and while it may not look like my prayers are being answered, I’m going to remember Ezekiel and pray it again because God is working something out. Some things take time. I believe that God gave us this example to encourage us to keep praying, keep listening for His instruction and we will see life in the old dry bones again. He says “I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live.” (Ezekiel 37:14).
What exactly are we talking about here? The nation of Israel 2,600 years ago? Israel now? Yes, of course. But could the metaphor also be applied to the United Methodist Church? The popular culture of America? A broken body or a broken marriage? Could it apply to my tired weary heart? Yes, all of the above and more. If… God can raise Lazarus from the dead at the sound of Jesus’ voice, and He did. And if… God has given that same Holy Spirit to dwell in the heart of every Christian, and He has. Then it is because He has given us the Holy Spirit, that God can use our weak and broken prayers to call life and breath into hearts, into His church and into nations.
What would happen if our community came together in persistent prayer? Would we experience new life? Maybe even revival? Would we dare to believe that God could raise up our dry bones and the dry bones of Katy and even our nation? The Great Southwest Prayer Center exists to invite us to this sacred calling of relationship with Him to believe and ask Him for the things that He longs to do. We’d sure love to have you too.
Be encouraged. God has chosen you. He has partnered with you, to be persistent and call out life where we see no life. He is pleased with your faithfulness. He has said “My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Ezekiel 37:27)
Lord, come and breathe Your life into us. Amen.
Stephanie Leggett, The Great Southwest Prayer Center