We are all needy in one or another aspect of our lives. Being needy carries a certain stigma with it, but God in His Word says much on the topic. This is prayer exercise in four parts to help fill those black holes and empty spaces in our hearts and lives. Whether you are needy financially, emotionally, or physically, this exercise addresses all the steps to moving from being empty to full. Taking the needy widow who came to Elisha for help as our example, let us move from being have-nots to being full of the Holy Spirit and God’s abundant provision.
One of the emotions that prevent us from entering into God’s rest is our feeling of lack. We have pressing financial needs or a lack of energy and motivation to get basic tasks done. This prayer exercise is a way of inviting God’s abundance into your needy life in an experiential way.
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” 2 Kings 4:1-7
Step One: Acknowledge your need to the Lord. Notice the widow brings her urgent situation to the Lord. Her sons were to be sold as slaves unless her debts were paid. While slavery of your children may not be the situation facing you, the truth is that we do come up against situations that require immediate help. God is not afraid of your circumstances so first take the time to explain the situation to Him. We often feel like slaves to debt or slaves to exhaustion. We fall into bondage over our difficult situations. We feel the pain of a lack of love or respect. It does not have to be so.
Step Two: Acknowledge what you do have before the Lord. The needy widow only had one small jar of oil. It may be that you only have the finances to pay one bill. You may only have the energy to get out of bed. Whatever your lack, take stock of what resources you do have, and thank the Lord for that resource. The concept here is that lack, or a poverty spirit, prevents you from being grateful or recognizing what you do have. Take the time to recognize what you do have.
This is actually the most important part of this exercise. As Jesus said in Luke 19:26, For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. Rejoice in your little jar of oil, because it is a pure gift and can be the start of God’s blessing in your life.
Step Three: Gather all the pots you can. In times of financial stress, I imagine each bill as a separate urn. In times of exhaustion, I imagine each task ahead of me as an empty urn. You get the picture. Set out your empty urns, as many of them as you can find. I put out pots for the needs of my husband and children. I put out urns for my neighbors and community. Two urns in constant need of filling are my marriage and my writing. Some people find listing them out helpful in this phase. Elijah himself said, “Don’t just ask for a few.”
Step Four: Take your little jar and start filling those urns before the Lord. Some fill up slowly but be patient. As you pour out the oil from your little jar into the larger ones, praise God for the amount of oil that you do have. Praise Him for the miraculous multiplication. As you practice this prayer exercise over time, you will notice that your jars get a little fuller each time.
It takes a while for a small jug to fill up a large one, but as you do this, you will begin to experience peace in those areas of need. As you rest your cares in the arms of the Lord, you will find that the vessels in your life will start filling in the physical, not just the spiritual.
Your spiritual and emotional ones inform your physical needs. By seeking God’s oil, his blessing, his provision, you learn to have what He gives. And what God sows into your life, He multiplies.
In Philippians 4:11, Paul says, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Paul learned to be someone who in poverty was yet not poor. Part of the purpose of this prayer exercise is to learn to have in the face of need
As you see what oil you have, begin to fill the urns of lack, praise God for teaching you to have what He has already given you.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22
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