Read: James 5:17-18
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
This is one of those Sunday School stories. You know, Noah, Moses, Daniel, David and Goliath and yes Elijah and the supernatural powers he possessed. The problem with all Sunday School stories is they seem like fairy tales, bigger than life and certainly beyond each of us. When we think like this we miss the real message, the heart of what God was up to. Certainly Elijah could pray, but the message is more than that, the message was how he prayed. He became consumed with faith and with his prayer. He was overwhelmed by his circumstances which drove him to God. He believed there was nowhere to go but to his Father so he didn’t just come, he came and cast himself into his Father’s presence with all that he had within him. He was desperate and faith-filled. This passion marks so many of the Sunday School hero’s we find in the Bible. Nehemiah, Daniel, Moses all loved people so much that their love drove them into the Father’s heart. And yes they all ended up in desperate situations just like many of us. When the pain in your life threatens to overwhelm you don’t surrender to the pressure and run from God, run to Him as these Old Testament heroes did. Follow their example and you will find the same power and possibility they found are still available to you and I today.
The story James is speaking of took place in I Kings 18. It is a picture of pressure, the kind of pressure many of us face daily. Elijah lives under the rulership of an oppressive king, Ahab, and God is dealing with Ahab through Elijah just as He deals with others through your life today. God told Elijah to declare a drought over the land to punish Ahab and Israel for their idolatry, so he did. This creates a huge confrontation just as it often will when you and I stand against darkness. Elijah is unwavering as God desires us to be under pressure. He battles Ahab’s prophets and then he goes to the top of Mt. Carmel and he bows down to pray. This is what made Elijah so effective in prayer, he cast himself into his prayer. I’m sure the pressure of the moment and the passion he had for God both drove him to his knees, but it was here he flourished, on his knees. It was here the victory became his, when he became the prayer he was praying. Please notice that all his passion and intensity didn’t cause a break-through immediately. Seven times he prayed and six times he failed, yet he continued to pray, just as you and I are called to continue in prayer. Press through in the battle. Don’t give up, give in to the heart of God and He will work just as He did for Elijah. Why did James chose Elijah and this story as his example? Clearly the message is, “Don’t give up, press in and break-through.” Do you stay in prayer? Do you believe beyond what you see? When the Holy Spirit calls you to intercede and stand in the gap, don’t abandon your post until you see Him break-through. He is coming! Help is on the way, stay in and believe beyond.
Father, the battle is real and the pressure is sometimes huge, but I want to grow here. Teach me to press into prayer believing that when you call, you provide and when you provide I will see the break-through.