Praying for Rain

Posted on: March 22, 2016 Written by
Praying for Rain
Photography by: Jasmina Mihoc from iStock          

A few summers ago, I moved from a lush land with four seasons to a desert with two: hot and hotter. I thought I came prepared, but before long I was suffering from a common wilderness malady: dehydration.


Every day, I kicked up dust on my walk to Arabic classes. Most of the time when it rained, it stopped again before I could get to the window to see. My soul empathized. It longed for a lengthy rain that cleansed and refreshed, but got—if anything—drops that came in big, dirty splatters and muddied everything in sight while leaving my soul drier than before. I was lonely, and I felt oceans away from downpours and rainbows.

I saw a rainbow on the way to school. God remembers my little corner of the Arab world.

I scribbled furiously in my journal those days. I asked myself, Did I really mean it when I said, “Yes” to the ends of the earth? I wrote of wanting to quit. I dreamed of escape hatches. I fantasized about job postings I had read online. On my “good” days I longed to sneak away and get on a plane before anyone noticed I was gone. This time, I wrote one day, I am imagining what I would take with me and what I would leave.


I made a list of thoughts that troubled me and things that made my life here so difficult. I was surprised by the list’s length, yet I am sure I missed a few:

Quitting will give me the life I want.

I will not find a husband as long as I stay hidden here in the middle of nowhere.

God does not want me to be happy (specifically as it related to finding a mate).

I do not have the right background, skills, training, or experiences to do this work.

If I went home—or somewhere else—I could actually use my gifts.

I am not helping anyone. I am not doing any good here.

People back home will stop supporting me if I cannot feed them with great stories.

I am not as (adjective) as (name).

I am not going to make it. I may as well quit now.

Then God gently whispered to me, “I am never the author of lies.” He began to teach me that even if I do not get an eject button, He is good—even in the desert.

My prayers gradually changed to: Give me new vision so I can see beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death to the green pastures and the still waters.

I thought of October’s rainbow, and I started to pray for rain.


I have always loved the story of Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. God seemed absent from a land where no one had been able to shake the rain out of heaven for years. Those who believed, I imagined, felt much like I did: parched. Then Elijah came along with grand, arrogant promises, and God revealed Himself.

This time when I read, it was the rest of the story that grabbed my attention. After God wowed with His God-ness (Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench 1 Kings 18:38), He sent an abundance of rain. A heavy rain (1 Kings 18:45).

God, I need a heavy rain!

When I ask God to send soul rain, do I expect a light dew or a gully washer?


Thomas Merton says, “The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience.” I asked God to show me His goodness. I knew little else, but I knew deeply that God was good.

Months Later

Sometimes I just really do not like being here. Still. It is not the gut-wrenching heart throbbing of November. It is the dull ache of knowing the cost of obedience, knowing my life is not my own, and knowing I would never choose here—the desert.

Guess I’m staying.


Question to consider: When I ask God to send soul rain, do I expect dew or a gully washer?


©2016 Thrive.

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  • Karen Hendrickson

    Thank you so much for your honesty. May it rain chocolate or something like that on you when you least expect it. God bless you for keepin’ it real and for staying the course!

    Karen Hendrickson

  • Claudia

    “If I went home—or somewhere else—I could actually use my gifts.” How many times I have thought this! Now 40 years in the ministry and I am amazed at how little I have used my gifts! Seems I do everything else but… Yet it is all part of learning to serve others for His glory! I appreciate your article very much.

  • Julie McFadden

    Thank you. I needed this today…this day of spiritual dryness and emotional dehydration. Amazing that God sent a heavy downpour outside my study window at the very moment I was reading the article!

    • We are so glad @disqus_aGpqLqufUH:disqus that God loves you so well. =)