I pray for dead things.
Not as often as I should, mind you, but I hope to get better at it.
I was thinking about dead things on my drive home from work the other night. I asked myself, Is it easier to pray that God will bring something out of nothing? Or to ask Him to bring life back to something that has died?
As soon as I asked it, I realized it was a ridiculous question. It’s true that from a human point of view, both are impossible. But we don’t pray to a God who is bound by human perspectives. We pray to a God “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17).
I had been praying for one these dead things recently—a spiritually dead-seeming country planted in the middle of a spiritually dead-seeming continent—when my regular Bible reading took me to Ezekiel 37.
“Son of man,” the Lord said to the prophet as the two of them looked over a valley littered with dried up skeletons, “Can these bones live?”
“O Lord GOD, you know,” Ezekiel answered.
Before he knew what was happening, Ezekiel found himself commanding brittle skeletons to live, and the four winds to breathe life into them. The whole valley rattled as the dried-up bones took on muscle, then flesh, then skin, and finally breath. (And clothes, I hope? The passage doesn’t say.) As an amazed Ezekiel watched, they stood to their feet. A whole army of them.
I thought about the country and continent I’d been praying for. Yes, Lord, it can live. You are the Resurrection and the Life. You give life to the dead.
Dead churches. Dead relationships. Dead countries, cultures, and continents. Dead hopes. Dead dreams. Deadened hearts and souls. Are any them beyond resurrection? “O Lord GOD, you know”—but I’m quite convinced the answer is no. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. Restoring life to the dead is what He does.
Not too long after I’d been praying for that dead country on a dead continent, I met someone who lives there. She told me some amazing stories of what God is doing. He is at work on that continent, breathing life into deadness, shining light into darkness. So much for it being a “missionary graveyard”!
Has something important to you and God died? Pray for it. God gives life to the dead. He’s still in the resurrection business.