Years ago, the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago had a radio program where they shared the true stories of those whose lives had been radically transformed when they met Jesus Christ. The stories were about those whose lives had been shipwrecked on the sea of life due to addiction of alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.
They usually ended a program with these words:
“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” Much sincere prayer, much accomplished. I know this to be true. Through prayer, we gain God’s wisdom and are able to accomplish His will for our lives.
If you were to ask the Apostle James what he felt was accomplished through prayer, he would have answered, “Are any of you suffering hardship? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the LORD. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick and the LORD will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.” (5:13-15)
If you have ever read my first book, “Jehovah-jireh Is His Name” you would know that I believe much is accomplished through prayer.
1. Day after day and week after week, I am empowered by the Holy Spirit through prayer, to minister God’s word. Elijah, the prophet, is a classic example of this.
In 1 Kings 17:1, we find this man of God confronting Ahab, the king of Israel, because of the idolatry that he and his wife Jezebel were promoting among God’s people. The prophet, with absolute confidence, said to the king ¾ “As the LORD GOD of Israel lives, I stand before Him, and there will be no due or rain during these years except by my command!”
Note: You had better be pretty sure of your God, if you are going to make a pronouncement of judgment like that.
We see a similar demonstration of God’s power in Acts 4:29-32. Peter and John had been teaching about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They were told to stop their teaching, but they said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than God, you decide, for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Where did Peter and John get such courage and boldness to respond to the authorities in this way? After they were released by the authorities, we are told they met with their own people and “they all raised their voices to God …” (vs. 24) Then, beginning with vs. 29 we read, “And now, LORD, consider their threats and grant that Your slaves (servants) may speak Your message with complete boldness while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.”
When we (God’s people) pray, the power of the Holy Spirit is released by His power and we are made bold and courageous to speak for the LORD.
2. We can witness God providing for our needs as we pray. Again, consider the life and witness of Elijah, we see at least two remarkable ways in which God provided for the prophet.
a. In 1 Kings 17:2-6, God sent Elijah to hang out at the Brook Cherith where he drank water from the brook, and ate bread and meat brought to him, morning and evening, by the ravens. Can you imagine that?!
b. The brook dried up so God sent him to Zarephath. There a poor widow cared for him. God not only blessed Elijah, but also provided for the widow and her son. (1 Kings 17:8-16)
In Philippians 4:19, the Apostle Paul wrote, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
In Psalm 34:10 we read, “Young lions lack food and go hungry, but those who seek the LORD will not lack any good thing. What a great promise and it is time!
3. Our God is omnipotent. There isn’t anything too hard for Him. Through prayer we can witness His miracles. The day of miracles is not over. Considering Elijah once again, in 1 Kings 17:17-24, we witness several divine miracles.
- A widow’s flour (meal) and oil never ran out. (There was always enough for the next day.)
- The sick can be healed.
- The dead can be brought back to life.
- Faith can be reinforced.
I know from personal experience that such miracles can and do occur. Are we willing to cry out to God and trust Him to do the impossible?
4. We, as Christians, from time to time realize we have forces that are against us. We should not be surprised. In fact, there are more Christians being killed today world-wide than at anytime in history. In 1 Peter 5:8, we read, “Be serious! Be alert! Our adversary, the Devil’s, prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”
In 1 Kings 18, we read that because Elijah was a man of prayer, deeply connected to his God, the powers of darkness were squelched in several ways.
a. The false prophets of Baal were put to shame and ultimately put to death.
b. God’s name was vindicated in a glorious way.
c. The sacrifice – wood, stones, dust and water were all consumed by the fire from heaven.
All the nations of the world are accountable to God whether they realize it or not. In Isaiah 59:18-19, we read, “So He will repay according to their deeds; fury to His enemies, retribution to His foe and He will repay the coastlands. They will fear the Name of YAHWEH in the west and His glory in the east, for He will come like a rushing stream driven by the wind of the LORD.”
5. Lastly, it is through prayer that God’s people are protected. They feel safe and secure in time of testing, trouble and failure. Let’s close our study on Elijah in 1 Kings 19.
He had that remarkable victory over the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel. Then Jezebel sends him a message ¾ “May the gods punish me, and do so severely if I don’t make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow!”
You can hardly believe what happens next.
1 Kings 19:3-5
6. “He became afraid! He ran for his life. He came to Beersheba, sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. Have you ever had a great victory followed by a horrible depression? It’s hard to imagine this is the same man who called down fire from heaven, but it is. As you read all of 1 Kings 19, and follow the communication between the prophet and his LORD, you see how Elijah’s God ministered to His servant so gently and tenderly and then recommissioned Him. All because the prayer lines were open and in use. May each of us keep the prayer hotline in use.