In James 5:17 we read Elijah was a man of prayer. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain for a total of three years and six months. Folks, when our hearts are right, God listens to us.
But he faced an even greater challenge when he faced the false prophets at Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:20-40). They agreed to a contest in which the God who answered by fire would be recognized as the true God and of course, Jehovah answered from heaven with fire. He is the only true God there is!
Sometime later God sent Elijah to live in the home of a widow and her son at Zarephath. While he was staying there, her son died. The mother was really distraught and she lashed out at Elijah – “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to bring my sin to remembrance and kill my son?” He said to her “Give me your son. So, he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed.” (1 Kings 17:1a) “Then he cried out to the LORD and said “O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy to the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son? (1 Kings 17:20) No matter what we face, it is a good thing to cry out to God and trust Him. Then Elijah stretched himself out on the child three times, and he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” I have prayed like that several times at the bedside of loved ones. There are examples in the Bible where they did exactly that, but not always. Sometimes he calls them to their eternal home. Notice what happened next – “Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.” Folks, there isn’t anything too hard for our LORD! What seems impossible to us is entirely possible with God. I don’t know about you, but my heart cries out to You – “O God, help me to trust You for everything — even the impossible.”
What joy Elijah must have felt as he picked up the boy, brought him downstairs to his mother, and said to her, “See, your son lives!” Her grief was transformed into rejoicing. Think of the power of answered prayer. In this instance, it was a powerful witness to the woman. She said to Elijah – “Now, by this, I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD, in your mouth is the truth.”
Here is another truth that is very important. When Elijah’s journey began, he was concerned about God’s reputation and the people’s perspective of God. We should be the same. Peter said that our lives should display the excellency of our LORD.
I want to close this meditation on ways that the LORD wants to grow our faith.
1. He uses small challenges to prepare us to trust Him for the big challenges.
2. When we face challenges that are beyond our control, then we really learn to pray.
3. As we follow Elijah’s life, and the widow and her son, hopefully, we realize that God really cares and understands our anxieties, fears, disappointments, and disillusionments.
4. God is particularly responsive to our prayers when we get beyond our own personal issues, focus on the needs of others, and are especially concerned about His reputation. That was Elijah’s concern at Mt. Carmel when he faced the woman’s poverty and plight and especially when her son died. As God’s children, we are supposed to live in a way that displays God’s goodness and glory. The widow said to Elijah “It is obvious you are a man of God.” (1 Kings 17:24)
So, we need to put the concerns of others and God’s reputation first. I believe this will bring a new sense of the presence and power of God into our lives.
Here is a verse that has brought me much comfort over the years. 1 John 5:14, “Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, HE Hears Us. (vs. 15) And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
I hope this meditation will help you discover the potential of prayer.
In His love,