Shavuot 2
For the week of May 18, 2002 / 7 Sivan 5762
Torah: Devarim 14:22-16:17
Haftarah: Habakkuk 3:1-19

Who Will Prayer this Prayer?

Lord , I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy (Habakkuk 3:2).

Many years ago I began to pray a certain prayer. At that time I felt that unless God would somehow demonstrate his power, just talking about him would make no difference in our lives. The prayer I prayed is found in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts in the New Covenant writings. Paraphrasing it a bit, I prayed, "Lord, enable your servant to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Yeshua."

At that time I didn't really have much of an understanding of the miraculous, except that I had no reason to believe that God had changed throughout the centuries. I assumed that if he did miracles through Moses and the prophets, through Yeshua and his followers, then there was no reason not to expect that he could and would do the same in my life. I thought if the early followers of Yeshua needed to pray such a prayer, than how much more did I.

Since that time, I have come to realize the centrality of the miraculous in the ministry of the Messiah. Signs and wonders are indications that the Kingdom of Heaven has invaded human existence. Yeshua's teaching was affirmed through acts of supernatural power. He trained his followers to do the same. To some extent I have seen the miraculous at work. I have witnessed some healings and other forms of divine intervention in my own life and the lives of others. But I can't say that I have experienced these things to any great extent.

Experiencing the supernatural can be very exciting. Being involved in one healing encourages us to expect more. But sadly when we don't see the miraculous for a time, we tend to lower our expectations. This lack of expectation then results in even fewer miracles, if any.

This week's portion from the prophet Habakkuk provides us with the perspective we need regarding these things. Habakkuk was living during a difficult time in Israel's history (what else is new?). It appears that the reality of God was something that existed more in people's memories than in their day-to-day lives. But Habakkuk prayed, "Do it again, O God!"

This is what Yeshua's followers also prayed. Their experience of the miraculous, unlike Habakkuk's, was not that distant from them, and yet they knew they still had to cry out to God for it.

There is an astounding promise that Yeshua made not long before his death and resurrection. He said,

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).

Yeshua said that his followers would not only do the works that he did, but even greater ones. Too many of us have turned a cold heart to these words. Yeshua said that we would do greater miraculous things than anything he himself had done. But instead of crying out to him to fulfill his promise in our day, we just accept things the way they are.

God does not want us to respond to his words with an "Oh well" attitude, thinking that he will do what he will do, when he wants to do it. Rather we need to stand with Habakkuk and cry, "Do it again, O God!"

Maybe you have prayed a prayer like that in the past. Maybe you have seen God work at times. But maybe you are discouraged now. Or you may have never experienced signs and wonders in your life. Yet you know that if God is God, there should be a greater manifestation of his power in your life. What should we do about it, then?

Will you pray this prayer?

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