Like Elijah We Must Learn To Persist In Prayer
The Bible reminds us in James 5:17 that Elijah was a human being like you and me. It says, “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!” (NLT).
Although a great and mighty man of God—in fact, he was one of the greatest prophets that ever lived—he was subject to the same temptations you and I are. He had the same kind of needs, desires, wishes, and interests. Let us take a look at some of his human limitations and inadequacies:
- Elijah sometimes got it wrong! Would you believe that such a mighty and great prophet would get things wrong? But he did! For instance, there was a time when he thought he was the only righteous person alive in Israel. And God had to remind him that he had reserved unto himself seven thousand people who were righteous, holy, and separated to him, and who had not bowed to the god Baal (1 Kings 19:13–18).
- Immediately after the miracle of Mount Carmel, when God showed up and the fire of the Lord fell from heaven upon Elijah’s sacrifice, Elijah was so scared that Jezebel, a woman, would kill him that he ran for his life. A man who had called down fire from heaven only a few days earlier was so scared that Jezebel would kill him that he took to his heels and ran for dear life (1 Kings 19:1–4).
So if Elijah, frail and human as he was, could prevail in prayer, so can you, because God is no respecter of persons. Acts 10:34 tells us that there is no favouritism with him. In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Bible says that God’s eyes are constantly looking throughout the entire world to find those whose hearts are right for his purpose so that he may reveal himself to them and show himself strong and powerful on their behalf.
So how did Elijah persist in prayer? In 1 Kings 18:42–44, we are told that Elijah prayed seven times. He continued in prayer until he received an answer. Seven is the number of perfection. It is God’s number. In effect, Elijah prayed the mind of God; he prayed the will of God; he prayed until he received his breakthrough; he prayed in the Spirit.
If Elijah could, so can you and me!