The earthly brother of Jesus begins his first letter to first century Christians with two harsh realities in life, James 1:2-4 and James 1:13-15. The first is a reminder that trials are placed in your life to promote spiritual growth. Unfortunately, addictions, bad habits, and unwholesome cravings can blind you from what’s really going inside of you, Galatians 5:16. Subsequently, God can use prayer to open our eyes to solutions to life’s problems.
And God heard the voice of the youth, and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said to her, What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the youth where he is. 18 Arise, raise up the youth and support him with your hand, for I intend to make him a great nation. 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the [empty] bottle with water and caused the youth to drink, Genesis 21:17-19.
When you’re having a bad day or become depressed, you become vulnerable to self-fulfilled prophecies. These occur when you speak negative thoughts into existence. In the passage above, Hagar and Ishmael are asked to leave Abraham’s house. Subsequently, Hagar came to the conclusion that it was only a matter of time before her son would die. Hagar places Ishmael under a shrub, walking away so she doesn’t witness her son’s death.
Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. 17 Elijah was a human being with a nature such as we have [with feelings, affections, and a constitution like ours]; and he prayed earnestly for it not to rain, and no rain fell on the earth for three years and six months. 18 And [then] he prayed again and the heavens supplied rain and the land produced its crops [as usual], James 5:16-18.
However, when you cry out to the Lord with a desperate spirit, sometimes prayer opens your eyes. This can also occur when you confess your shortcomings to God. Like an addict going to an accountability group, publicly acknowledging your errors and mistakes is the first step to recovery. This opens the door for healing to begin. While there are consequences for every sin, prayer enables you to see the big picture. May Hagar’s experience help open your eyes to God’s hand in your life.
by Jay Mankus