“April showers bring May flowers.” When I was growing up in Maryland, this little bit of a rhyme was doubly true. March and April were rainy months, and flowers started blooming in earnest in May. Out here in California we don’t get rain in April. By the end of March we can pretty much plan BBQs without setting aside rain dates. But as far as I know, wherever you might choose to live, there are seasonal rains. And seasonal rains are more or less expected – we assume that we will, of course, get rain in January and February.
There are seven different Hebrew words that can be translated with our English words for rain, showers, downpour, etc… Three of those terms were technical in nature; they referred to specific seasonal rains.
It is one of those technical words that we come across in Zechariah 10:1:
Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; It is the LORD who makes the storm clouds.
We could read more literally, “Ask the LORD for the Spring-rain.”
This month I invite you to consider how that verse should inform and shape our prayer lives. In my prayer life, I generally find it to be true that I pray for things that I believe need some special act or dispensation from God. I am praying for the unusual. “Heal my friend whose doctor says he will not recover.” Or, “Reconcile that couple who have separated.” I would go so far as to say that in twenty some years of different types of ministry, most prayer requests that I have been asked to pray for have been requests for the unusual; the not-to-be-humanly expected; the miraculous. Those are things we should pray for!
But consider a paraphrase of our verse from Zechariah: “Ask God for the things you expect, the typical, the mundane…” When your marriage is going well, ask him for marital peace and joy. When the economy is up, ask for job security. When you have every reason to expect rain, ask for rain.
“In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6).
This month as we sun ourselves in our enviable Southern California climate, let’s remember to humbly and gratefully ask him for the blessings and joys that we experience. Especially those blessings that we expect in due course, those seasonal rains. Remember that however typical, ordinary, or expected a blessing might appear to be, God is himself the Giver of
“every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).
Behind every expected seasonal rain, the extraordinary fact remains: “It is the LORD who makes the storm clouds.”