"But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm." Matthew 8:26
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fairly quiet person. I don't usually purposely seek out conversations and interactions with people. I like listening, especially. It's hard to really listen to someone when your mouth is full of chatter all the time. But God's been working on me and my quietness. There is certainly a place for quietness and stillness, but God's basically been showing me all kinds of instances in scripture where the voice was used in a situation. The example I posted above is a perfect one, and it fits very much with today's dangerous hot weather. Let's see what was happening prior to this verse.
"Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” " Matthew 8:23-25
A great storm had come up- such a strong storm that their boat was covered with waves. Jesus' disciples were all fishermen- they were used to rough seas and storms that would come up. That's simply a part of the way of life for a fisherman, so when we read these verses, the fact that they were literally fearful for their lives says a great deal about the seriousness of this storm. They specifically said that they were perishing- they were in danger of losing their lives, so we know this storm was really awful. Yet, Jesus slept on through it until they came to wake him. When he was awoken, Jesus chided them for being fearful and showed them one of the secrets of being a child of God. Jesus SPOKE into the winds and the storm calmed. We can read the same account in the book of Mark:
"And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But
He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to
Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm." Mark 4:37-39
In both instances, Jesus arose and rebuked the wind with his voice. He didn't stay quiet and just think the words to calm the storm. He physically opened his mouth and sound came out in the form of words.
A few months ago I had an awful, awful dream. I had a dream that I had new infant nephews, but they were dying. They were dying in our arms, and in my head I knew that I knew that what they needed was prayer. They needed me to open my mouth and speak healing words to their body in the name of Jesus, but I was distracted. Every time I would think about opening my mouth to pray out loud over them, something would come up and the words never came out. It was horrible, and I woke from that dream with a sense of grieving for the loss of these precious babies. At first I was really worried that this was a dream that spoke of future events, but the more I mulled on it, the more I realized that God knows what speaks the most to me. He knows just how much my nieces and nephews mean to me, and He used that idea to convey a message to me about the importance of learning to speak the Word to my situations around me.
The message was certainly received. If I don't at least try to open my mouth and give voice to the words rolling around in my head in minor situations, what will happen when the major situations come up? If I am too fearful to speak to my garden and bless my plants and encourage them to be fruitful and multiply (for fear the neighbors might hear me and think I'm loony), how am I going to be able to speak life into that person who was just hit by a car in front of me? If I am too fearful to "practice" by going outside and speaking to that thunderstorm to dissipate, how am I going to know what to do when there is an actual tornado bearing down on us?
The thing is, Jesus actually took the time to tell us how to do this! The Lord's Prayer is the perfect model for how we should pray for our situations. Here are the first few verses, which we all know:
"Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:9-10
The first thing we do when we pray is we praise God. He loves to hear the praises of his children, and I kind of think it gets his attention real good. Like when my daughter tells me that she really likes the dinner I've prepared, it gets my attention, it makes me happy to hear such praise from my child. The Father is the same way. But then look at that next verse, that is the key. God's Kingdom is come, His will be done, on earth as it IS in heaven. Think about that! Are there tornadoes and tidal waves and earthquakes in heaven? Are there diseases in heaven? Are there cancers and heart attacks and arthritis in heaven? Of course not! Heaven is a perfect place, and part of this praying business is to align heaven and earth. To cause that which is in heaven to be the reality here on earth.
I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matthew 18:18
All of these verse together bring forth a very lovely idea. That we can use our voices to spread God's Will here on earth. It's certainly not His Will for man that we perish in harsh weather events or suffer disease that the devil has spread about the earth. But it doesn't do us any good if we're too afraid to open our mouths and release what Jesus is teaching us.
The awesome thing is that there is always going to be another opportunity to put this into action. Always. I have heard countless testimonies from evangelists and preachers about when they first started to pray for infirmities. One in particular decided that he really wanted to see God heal deafness, so he started praying for every deaf person he could find. He literally prayed for hundreds and hundreds of deaf ears to open, persevering and believing that it was God's Will for the deaf to hear. And then one day it happened, his perseverance and faith was rewarded with the healing of a deaf ear. He could have given up after the 200th person or so, but he didn't, he kept on, certain that there was no deafness in heaven, and as such, there should be no deafness here on earth. He also didn't just simply think his prayers for the ears to open. He spoke to them, commanding them to be healed in Jesus' name.
There are times and places for "thought prayers". I really think God understands when we're in a situation where we think our prayers, and he listens to those too. But it's the spoken word that literally affects the atmosphere around us. It's the spoken word that Jesus used to rebuke the storm and calm the seas.
It's time to put this into practice. I don't know where you live or what the weather is like where you are, but for the next two days we are actually under a dangerous heat warning. It's extremely hot and dangerous outside, and it's been intensely hot for the entire week. We had such a low-key 4th of July this year because it was too hot to even go out to the garden for a few minutes. I, for one, have had enough of this heat, and it worries me to hear about people who don't have air conditioning. It worries me a little to think about my husband outside working in this heat all day long- and all the many people like him who still have to go to work and can't sit at home in the comfort of the cooler air. I happen to believe that whatever the weather is like in heaven (is there even what we consider weather in heaven?) that it never poses a danger to everyone who lives there. And I believe this excessive heat is dangerous and not of heaven. So when I head outside in a few minutes, I'm going to put my faith into practice and rebuke the heat.
Jesus did it! He may have rebuked a storm instead of a heat wave, but by golly, it's time for us to start realizing that we are citizens of heaven, and as citizens of heaven, we have the right to bring heaven to earth. Today I'd like to do my part.