“Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You are turning their hearts back again, ” (1 Kings 18:37)
“Prayer opens the channel between a soul and God; Prayerlessness closes it. Prayer releases the grip of Satan’s power; Prayerlessness increases it. That is why prayer is so exhausting and so vital. If we believed it, the prayer meeting would be as full as the church.” (Alan Redpath)
Does God really listen to our prayers? Does he really hear us when we cry out to Him? Have you ever felt that after praying and praying and praying with no apparent answer in sight that maybe you’re prayers are not good enough?
Sometimes we pray for a long time about big things, like a health issue or a prodigal child or a difficult work situation, and things don’t get better. We wonder if God’s been paying attention.
Many of us who have prayed for years for the same thing have sometimes lost heart amid the ups and downs of waiting for God. And then we’ve wondered how God could possibly answer our inconsistent prayers. This is how the accuser can use God’s word to discourage us.
Jesus is clear that faith in prayer is vital, and since the Bible says He is He is “forever interceding for us”, maybe we can be bold in His promises about what will happen when we pray in faith. (Hebrews 7:25)
“If you have faith and do not doubt . . . if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:21–22)
I need this kind of boldness as I persist in crying out to God, even though I know that my prayers are never good enough.
The truth is that God more than makes up for our inadequacies when our trust rests first in the person of Jesus, rather in stressing out that we don’t yet see evidence.
We aren’t good enough, but Jesus is. And because He has earned His Father’s ear, we can rest assured that God does….hears our every prayer.
Remember on Mount Carmel ( 1 Kings 18:37) when Elijah prayed the prayer of all prayers, when he pleaded with God to be God.
“Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You are turning their hearts back again, ”
Remember how there was a crisis going on in the land, a drought had come and just seemed like things weren’t getting any better?
God brought several different characters together from different places, different views, and though this drought, bring them all together to see their limitations in line against God’s supremacy.
The whole power encounter on Mount Carmel was happening, Elijah was saying, that they may know this! That God is the one who turns hearts back to Him! That is what it means for God to be God……
This whole thing started with a drought (1-2) that lasted 3 1/2 years when God told Elijah to go and hide himself, wait it out. And now it was time for Elijah to present himself, to come out from the hiding. The drought didn’t begin or end because of Elijah’s determination or will, but at God’s will.
This drought was so bad that king Ahab himself was out roaming and searching for pastureland, when through divine appointment God arranges a meeting between king Ahab’s trusted overseer of his house, Obadiah.
Obadiah was stressed and fearful that if he couldn’t find Elijah he’d lose his life. Fast forward, Elijah reassures Obadiah he would meet with king Ahab.
Then comes the great challenge atop Mt.Carmel where Elijah challenged King Ahab to gather together the idol prophets of Baal and Asherah for the big meeting at Mt. Carmel; a meeting that wasn’t Elijah’s idea, it was at the command of God. (1 Kings 18:36), a God inspired plan… a plan to confront and eliminate these prophets of Baal and Asherah so that there would be no question that the coming rain was sent from God, not from Baal.
The ground rules were set, two bulls would be offered up in sacrifice. The prophets of king Ahab were asked to call down their gods and consume the bulls with fire. A lot of time passed by, they “called on the name Baal from morning till noon, saying, “O Baal hear us”.
Elijah had some chuckle with them suggesting maybe their gods were on a ‘bathroom break ‘ The prophets get more animated cutting themselves with knives until they were bleeding, but after an even longer time past, no voice, no answer.
Elijah proceeds to repair the altar and fills four water pots with water and pours it on the burnt sacrifices. He had three times the water , ” so that the water ran all around filling up the trench. Elijah prayed, “then the fire of the Lord fell, consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the woodman and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.”
“And when all the people saw, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”
And then Elijah goes to Jezreel (41-44) tells Ahab to get ready because there is the “sound of abundance of rain” coming. Rain was on the way. Ahab would go eat, Elijah would pray.
“It came to pass a seventh time” This was Elijah’s 7th prayer, he was not taking ‘No’ for an answer because he had great confidence that God would answer his prayer, that God would send rain, Elijah was being stubborn in his persistent prayer to God, and finally there was the cloud, “as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea.”
The evidence of the rain came slowly, but it was coming and finally, “there was a heavy rain.”
Sometimes God uses supernatural means to answer prayer, sometimes He uses natural resources and exercises His authority over His creation to submit to His plan. And know this, everything God does has a plan, and that plan is based on His nature, that He loves.
Sometimes a drought or some other distress comes into our own lives and we don’t have the strength or the wisdom to overcome it, and sometimes we begin to look around and see all the unbelief, all the shaking of fists at God and it looks like we’re outnumbered, that we’re all that’s left who love God trust Him , sometimes we forget, that God is here, and He hears our prayers and is working out invisible details all along, not just in those you’re praying for, not just whatever the dilemma, but God is working things out and in you as well.
Elijah prayed 7 times, persistently that the rains would come, and when it came, it came as a small insignificant looking cloud.. but when it came, there was no doubt that the resulting heavy rain came in God’s perfect timing. But all this happened that we might see that persistent prayer results in significant results.
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)