Praying for rain in dry places

Published 7:30 am Sunday, October 8, 2023

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“Drought conditions continue to expand,” a recent headline states. “Many locations…. have not seen measurable rain in nearly 20 days. Combine that with plenty of early fall warmth and the result has been expanding drought concerns,” says WSFA Meteorologist Tyler Sebree.

According to another WSFA report, “Covington, Conecuh, Monroe, Clarke, Washington, Escambia, Geneva and Mobile counties are experiencing severe to extreme conditions, which have affected the ability to produce crops.”

“Citing widespread and worsening drought conditions, starting Friday (October 13) the Alabama Forestry Commission will stop issuing permits for outdoor burning,” the Alabama Daily Mail published. ‘“The fire alert is not going away until we receive significant precipitation, meaning several inches of rainfall,” State Forester Rick Oates said in a statement Wednesday. ‘“Unfortunately, there is no rain in sight, so the restriction must remain in effect indefinitely. With this extremely dry weather, any fire can quickly spread out of control threatening lives and livelihood, not to mention destroying our forests.”’

The grass in our yard crunches when we walk on it. Our shrubbery’s shriveling. It’s struggling to survive. The drought, coupled with record-breaking high temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s for months, have parched the south Alabama soil.

If you believe the old sayings, then let’s all wash our cars and we should get rain. I posted a picture on Facebook showing someone walking down a dry street holding a red umbrella. The message on the picture read, “Prayer is asking for rain. Faith is carrying an umbrella.” I keep an umbrella in my car. I think I’ll start keeping it nearby at work, home, church, wherever I go.

I’ve talked to people who are praying for rain. I thought of the Old Testament prophet Elijah who prayed for rain because it had not rained for three and a half years. He told King Ahab to get ready for a downpour for he could hear the sound of an abundance of rain.

Now he wasn’t speaking as a meteorologist, but as a man of faith. Elijah went up to the top of Mt. Carmel and began to pray. He would pray and then send his servant to look toward the sea. After the seventh time, the servant saw a little cloud the size of a man’s hand. Then, more clouds filled the sky and there was a great rain (1 Kings 18:41-45).

Have you ever experienced a drought in your soul? At times, my soul seems parched and dry. That’s the way David felt when he wrote, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips shall praise you.” (Psalm 61:1-3 NKJ).

Best-selling author Ann Voskamp writes, “When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, (and) let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us?”

Let’s pray for rain for our land and in our lives!

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”