"Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel."Psalm 78:41 (NKJV)
Have you ever blamed God for unanswered prayer? or for being not fair? or have you tried to link your behavior to the answer and so when you really wanted something from Him you were on your best behavior, just hoping he would approve of you and give you your desires? Have you ever bartered with God saying something like, “if You do this for me, I’ll do that for You?”
Of course you have! Let’s be honest, we all have. But what if this thinking was actually limiting us - especially in our prayer life? Wouldn’t you want to remove that limitation and open the door for more answered prayer and more spiritual authority?
There's a story in the Bible that I believe could really help us remove these limitations and allow us freedom and give us more answered prayers and miracles!
2 Kings 4:1(NASB) 1 Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”
Elisha was a prophet of God who is most famous for being the apprentice of the great prophet Elijah. However, Elisha is credited for twice as many miracles in his life time as Elijah and became the most respected and feared prophet in his day.
The woman in this story was the wife of one of the prophet’s sons whom Elisha knew, so the chances are good that he was familiar with her and she with him.
2 Kings 4:2 (NASB) 2 Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
Elisha knew her problem and yet he asked two very strange questions, “What do you want?” and “What do you have?” These questions are weird because EVERYBODY knew what she needed and what she wanted and yet Elisha still asked. Why? I believe he was testing her. He wanted to know if SHE KNEW what she wanted and if she was bold enough to say it. James, the brother of Jesus, made this statement in regards to prayer in James 4:2,
"You do not have, because you do not ask. "
The second question Elisha asked is "What do you have?" This is a key question as well, because she didn’t have anything. That’s why she needed a miracle, but yet he asked anyways. Why? Let's keep reading to find the answer.
2 Kings 4:2-4 (NASB) And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. 4 And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.”
Notice, he didn’t just do a miracle and leave. He gave her a task, a responsibility to fulfill. The size of the miracle was really determined by the level of action she applied to her faith. Notice Elisha instructed her not to limit the miracle. He said, "don't get a few."
2 Kings 4:5-7 (NASB) 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not one vessel more.” And the oil stopped. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
There are two important lessons to learn.
- God will use what you have - so ask...what do I have? Some people lack because they don’t release the common things to God. God asked Moses in Exodus 4:2 "what is in your hand?" Moses replied, "a rod." God used what was in his hand as a foundation for most of the miracles he did through him. He used the rod to turn into a snake; to turn the Nile River into blood; to part the Red Sea; to get water from a rock and many more! What's in your hand?
- You need to know what you need - pray specific prayers. My mentor and Spiritual hero, Dr. George Hill says, “Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific.” Pray specific prayers. Your vision determines the size of your miracle! If you can see it, you can seize it!
Question: Do you know what you have? What is in your hand? What are your strengths? your opportunities? and have you been specific with God? Do you know what you want? What are you specifically asking for? believing for?