Elijah teeters on bold prayers and insecurity with cowardice behaviors. He called down fire from heaven to show God’s power to the servants of Baal and another two times to destroy 100 soldiers sent to him by the king. He prayed for rain during a drought, and prayed for the dead to be raised. Each time, God answered. Yet following a mighty answer of God to his prayers and the slaying of his enemy, he cowardly ran from a single woman’s threat.
I think I appreciate Elijah’s weakness because in my life it is often after the highest mountain victories that I find myself on the lowest valleys of despair. He prayed mighty prayers, but he also had moments of weakness like I experience. One did not negate the other in his life.
One of the greatest privileges I have as a follower of Christ is to lift up prayers for others. When I can pray for those I care about, I know God hears. When I can go to God in prayer for those whose situations I am moved by, I see God answer. When I am moved to pray for those causes that also move me into action heaven moves on their behalf. It is a powerful and awesome privilege to see God work in the lives of others as I pray.
Yet there are times in my life that I have backed down from bold prayers. It is one thing for me to pray those prayers in my prayer closet. Those moments of boldness rarely leave me feeling insure. My cowardice behaviors surface when I am called to pray them out for others to hear. As if my private prayers are more powerful than the ones said for others to hear.
So when and how did Elijah grow his confidence in prayer? Some of the examples of his prayer are:
At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” 1 Kings 18:36-37
Elijah prayed boldly, and confidently that God would prove himself as Lord, as the one who told Elijah to act, and so that the people would know Him. We can pray with confidence if we are praying for others to come back to Him.
Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!” So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.
Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.”
The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.”
Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. 1 Kings 18:41-41
Elijah was able to pray bold prayers because he humbled himself before the Lord and prayed with expectancy. He did not just ask one time and then give up, each time he knelt in prayer he told the servant to go look for what Elijah was asking God for.
Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?” And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 1 Kings 17:20-21
Elijah prayed in confidence when he asked the Lord for a blessing to the woman who had been kind to him. He didn’t understand why it had happened, but Elijah knew God could still fix it. He did not hesitate to plead the case before the Lord with boldness.
But Elijah replied to the captain, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and killed them all. 2 Kings 1:10
Elijah replied, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty men!” And again the fire of God fell from heaven and killed them all. 2 Kings 1:12
Elijah prayed with confidence to protect his own life. The king had sent for him to be arrested after Elijah had challenged the king with a word from the Lord. Elijah had sent a message asking: Is there no God in Israel? Why are you sending men to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether you will recover? Therefore, because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’” 2 Kings 1:6
Regardless of the situation, when Elijah prayed, God responded. He had a confidence in God because he would listen to God and then pray in obedience. The same God is available to hear my prayers also. I can pray with confidence when I am praying for the needs of others, when I am praying for God to make Himself real to others, when I am praying with an expectancy, and when I am praying for my own safety. If I am willing to abide with Him and listen to Him he will direct my prayers also. The more I pray, the more I will grow in the confidence to pray.
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on growth. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day.