Listen, Harvey!

We were moving to Denver, Colorado our daughter was a baby. We got to western Iowa and the car broke down in a town where there was no motel which meant we bunked in the mechanic’s living room. The Methodist Church was hosting a revival meeting that week which I attended. The pastor listened to my story and told me his.

The last time they had a revival meeting, an evangelist was stranded in their town—just like us. During the singing time, one of the church members asked for prayer. The region was in a drought. The farmer said they should pray for rain. That congregation was not in the habit of praying that specifically, so the preacher said or something like “We’ll keep that in our prayers,” and moved forward in the service. A little later, the “stranded” evangelist stood and acknowledged he was a stranger and had no authority, but he said he felt they should honor the farmer’s request and pray for rain. So, they asked him to pray which he did. And it began to rain.

I asked the pastor if he could remember the stranded preacher’s name. He did. I knew that stranded preacher! He was a big guy, with a gentle manner and a Pentecostal faith. After a bit more conversation, I realized it was odd that the name was so easily remembered so I asked how the pastor remembered.

“Huh! There’s more to the story. I told you it started to rain. Well, it didn’t quit! Days and days it rained. Everyone it town knew the story that a stranger had come into town, prayed for rain at the revival meeting. A village meeting was called. We began to search for that evangelist.” The statement was more forceful: “We gotta find that preacher and tell him to get the rain stopped!” I don’t remember how they found him, but his name became emblazoned on the pastor’s mind. “We finally found that preacher and asked to pray to turn off the rain. He prayed. And it stopped!”

I’ve been asking God how we are to pray for the people of Texas. That story came to mind. I don’t know if it was an answer to my prayer or just that it linked to the file in my brain marked, “Rain Stories.”

Jesus told the winds to be quiet. He told the rain to stop. He spoke to the storm. This was my take away from my conversation with God. The problem Texas and Louisiana face is not the rain as much as a stalled storm. So we are to speak to the storm to move back out over the Gulf. There is a principle that anything that has a name can be addressed and it must bow to Christ. How convenient that this storm has an official name!

Unless someone has a better idea, I’m going to call the storm by name and in the name of Jesus and all the work of the Cross and Resurrection and tell it to go out over the Gulf. Will you join me?

“Harvey—turn around and dump the water into the Gulf, in the Name and power of Jesus.”

©2017 D. Dean Benton

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