May 18, 2022
Thank you for focusing on the prodigals and the need for revival today as you seek the face of God.
I have a quote from E.M. Bounds about how sometimes Christians don’t see answers to their prayers because they don’t wait long enough on God. He explains, “They just drop down and say a few words, and then jump up and forget it and expect God to answer them. Such praying always reminds me of the small boy ringing his neighbor's door-bell, and then running away as fast as he can go.”
In our study of the prophets in Hebrews 11, Elijah the Tishbite is a man of prayer who knew how to pray earnestly and wait on God. You can read his story from 1 Kings 17-19.
The apostle James wrote, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit” (James 5:17-18).
The time period in which Elijah lived was dark, the leadership was evil, and the people were misdirected; like today, the conditions necessitated prayer!
Elijah’s prayer was earnest and real. The opening words of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 are significant. “Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word’” (1 Kings 17:1).
He was physically standing in front of the most powerful man in the nation, but in his own eyes, he saw himself standing before the LORD. He lived his life in front of, in the sight of, or in the presence of the LORD.
Awareness and acceptance that your life is in the presence of God helps you to live with reality, intention, and courage. This is how Elijah lived.
After telling us, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results,” James says that Elijah prayed “earnestly” (James 5:16-17).
Elijah’s prayer came from a place of weakness. “Elijah was as human as we are” (James 5:17). He was not claiming to be a superpower. He did not elevate himself above others. He was a normal human being with a nature just like ours. He had courage and faith, which was displayed at Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). He also had fear, anxiety, and depression as he ran for his life from Jezebel (1 Kings 19).
It is comforting to know that the great heroes of the past were no different than we are in many respects. Their circumstances were different, but their humanity was the same. Elijah prayed from a place of great need, recognizing that it was His God who was truly great. This is praying in faith!
Elijah’s prayer was in line with God’s will. When a person is living in closeness with God, it enables them to sense the desires of God’s heart. It is the basis of David’s words in Psalm 37, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). It is also the framework of what Jesus said about prayer. He said, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
The closer we draw to His heart, the more we will know what He wants and what is best for us.
Elijah’s prayer impacted the nation. Imagine praying for God to stop rain and having God do just that for 3 years. The nation was brought to a standstill. They were brought to their knees before God. God used Elijah’s prayer to direct the idolatrous people back to Himself. Interestingly, Elijah’s prayer had direct repercussions for himself as well. The drought that ensued from his prayer meant no growth and therefore no food. Thankfully, God miraculously provided for him until he prayed for the rain to return again.
We may think that our praying has little impact, but this is not true. God hears our deepest longings and will answer as He, the Sovereign King, deems best.
Max Lucado once said, “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
Be encouraged from the example of Elijah and keep on praying!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel