Have you ever watched a storm brewing? Because of the wide-open spaces at the beach, my family and I were able to sit out on a deck this summer and watch a storm taking shape on the horizon. We could hear the rumble of thunder as the purple-black clouds piled higher into the sky, and we could see the pulsating glow as lightning flashed in the distance. As we dashed for safety, the storm broke all around us with deafening ferocity. Then it passed, exiting in a glorious sunset, leaving the ocean sparkling and the earth refreshed.
As I watch the evening news on television and read the morning paper, I feel like I’m watching a storm build up on the horizon of the world. It seems only a matter of time before it breaks out all around us. I hope by the time you read this, the clouds will have broken and the brilliant sunshine will have prevailed.
Yet I can’t help but wonder, is there a storm building in your life? A storm of ill health? Job loss? A broken relationship? Death? As terrifying as storms can be, and as much damage as they can do, sometimes I find that I actually need a storm …
… To Open My Eyes to His Presence
- How does Nahum 1:3 describe God’s presence in the midst of the storm?
- How does Luke 9:34-36 seem to confirm that God can be in the “clouds”?
- Read Ezekiel 1:1-5, 22, 26-28. When and how did God reveal His presence to Ezekiel?
- Read Isaiah 6:1. What major event in Judah’s history did God use to open Isaiah’s eyes? Apply this to your life.
- Describe the experience the three Hebrew children had in Daniel 3:8-27; the experience the disciples had in Mark 6:45-51; the experience John had in Revelation 1:9-17.
- Could God be trying to reveal Himself to you in the clouds of your life?
… To Bend My Knees in Prayer
- Read Psalm 50:3,15. Divide the verses into phrases that address the presence of God, prayer, power and praise.
- What helps motivate us to pray? Give phrases from Psalm 50:15, 86:6-7 and James 5:13.
- Why do you think troubles or “storms” compel us to pray?
- Describe the storms that compelled prayer in the following passages, and apply each to life today: Genesis 18:20-33; Joshua 7:1-9; 1 Samuel 1:1-20; 2 Chronicles 18:3-4, 20:1-6; Daniel 9:1-4; Ezra 9:1-6; Nehemiah 1:1-11; Mark 14:27-36; Acts 4:1-31.
- Which of these storms have you experienced? How did the storm affect your prayer life?
… To Live My Life With Power
- What do you think is required in order to experience God’s power? Read Matthew 8:5-13, 20:29-34; John 9:1-7; Acts 1:8.
- How did the people in each of the following passages experience God’s power and how was that experience related to prayer? Read Exodus 14:5-31; 1 Kings 18:16-39; John 11:38-44; Acts 12:1-17, 16:16-34.
- When have you truly experienced God’s power? On reflection, was there a link between your experience of His power and prayer–either your own prayer or someone else’s?
… To Fill My Lips With Praise
- From the following passages, describe the journey that led to praise: Exodus 15:1-18; 2 Samuel 22:1-7; Jeremiah 3:19-23; Psalm 13:1-6, 34:1-10; Daniel 2:1-23; Habakkuk 3:16-19.
- How does praise help us along the journey, especially when we encounter storms? See Isaiah 61:3.
- Read Psalm 27:1-6. Which phrases refer to God’s presence? Prayer? Power? Praise?
- Do you think your praise would be as full and heartfelt if you had never experienced God’s presence, God’s answers to prayer and God’s power–especially during a storm? Could that be one reason God has allowed the clouds to gather on the horizon of your life?
If an eagle wants to soar in the sky, it needs a storm to provide wind currents to lift it into heights it could not otherwise achieve on its own. If you want to soar higher in your personal experience with God, do you need a storm, too? Name your storm. Right now, would you thank God for how He is using it in your life? Then spread your wings of faith and get ready to soar.