"Elijah forms a fitting example of the power of prayer, but effective and meaningful prayer is never an isolated religious exercise, something unrelated to the rest of a person’s spiritual life and walk with God. The prayer that accomplishes things and gets God’s ear, is the outflow of a vital relationship with God. It is born of one’s burden, concern, and the reality of God in one’s life. It flows from a sense of need, a heart full of faith, and from the desire to see God’s purposes accomplished and His glory manifested." - J. Hampton Keathley III
The hour is urgent. As we proceed on our journey through life, we will encounter times of testing. The circumstances of end-time living require a new level of preparation and dedication. Hardship, difficulty, and even wondering if we will ever be ready to do what God has laid on our heart, does have its fulfillment in God's timing. God is testing our faith. He is making us passionate in prayer.
He is doing a work in us that only He could do, and it’s personally tailored to each one of our lives.
God knows what it will take, and He wants to live with us in such a way and to such an extent that no opposition will be able to alter our single-minded dedication, our fearlessness, and our steadfast obedience. Believe it or not, there will be a time when we will thank Him for every moment that we have had to wait and persevere. Our muscles are becoming strong, and we may not even know it at the moment. Let's look at the life of Elijah for encouragement during these times of testing. We can learn many lessons from his life.
The Remarkable Life of Elijah
"Elijah lived with God. He thought about the nation’s sin like God; he grieved over sin like God; he spoke against sin like God. He was all passion in his prayers and passionate in his denunciation of evil in the land.”
Elijah was a man who was absolutely dedicated to God in every way. He lived in God's presence. He had learned to abide with Him moment by moment. His prayers were passionate and were the outflow of His life. He felt the way God felt about sin. He knew the power of God, and he saw it demonstrated in the days in which he lived. He persevered in prayer and believed in a supernatural God who could do anything.
There were the qualities of faith and fearless dedication in the life of Elijah. He lived by faith and experienced the power of God in his life during days of difficulty. Elijah's simple trust brought God's provision when none seemed to be possible. The challenges we face can be met only with this kind of faith (1 Kings 17:1-10). When Elijah spoke the Word of God, it was backed by the manifest presence and power of God. This brought the conviction of the Word of God (1 Kings 18).
God is preparing us for the miraculous. It is through our intimacy, our daily walking with Him in obedience and living by faith in an increasing measure, that God will enable us to see the miraculous in our life. This attracts the world and will bring in the harvest.
In what way is God testing your faith today?
How is He bringing personal growth in your life by testing you in a way that seems far beyond your human limits? Think about it. God is personally devoted to your spiritual growth. How does faith grow? Look at Elijah's life. He lived outside his own personal comfort zone and in the miraculous presence of God. Often we are tested in our prayer lives when we don’t see immediate answers to our prayers. Elijah had to learn to wait and persevere in prayer during times of testing and difficulty.
Elijah was fearlessly dedicated to God. His devotion made him a bold spokesman for what was right (1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 1:3-4). Instructions about where to go and what to do came from his relationship with God (1 Kings 17:2-6, 19:9-18). God knew the best plan for Elijah's life, how He could best use him, and what would bring the fulfillment of his destiny.
In the same way, God knows the plans He has for you. He knows what you will need and how to get you there. He is devoted to you. He wants you to walk in simple, childlike trust, where you learn to obey His promptings moment by moment. Entrust yourself afresh to His perfect design, and He will bring you to the place that is purposed just for you. You won't miss it if you walk in obedience and stay wholly dedicated to Him.
In what area do you sense the promptings to obedience from the Holy Spirit? How can you personally go further in your dedication to Him and in your prayer life? Meditate and think about it. Elijah obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit even when it was difficult, and God came through for him on every occasion. What gave him such courage to obey God? He had courage because He lived with God in intimacy and close fellowship. He was passionate in prayer and had God's purposes and burdens engraved on his heart.
In 1 Kings 17:1, 7, we see how Elijah obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, even when it didn’t make sense and when it was far beyond his human understanding. It wasn't an easy thing to do, and it took courageous faith when he said to Ahab:
"'As the Lord the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word'… Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land."
This was an amazing miracle. Remember another miracle when Elijah called down fire from heaven? As a result the fire burned up the sacrifices, the people fell on their faces, and they proclaimed God as Lord (1 Kings 18:37-39). It’s hard to obey God’s promptings in difficult circumstances. But a young man named Matthew did just that. He obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit in a very difficult situation just as Elijah did. Miracles happen when in fearless dedication we obey God.
In August 2007, while traveling home across the I-35 W bridge in Minneapolis, Matthew was facing bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hour. I imagine that Matthew was dedicated to God and knew how to listen to Him in prayer. As he was driving he was praying, and suddenly he had a vision of the bridge shaking and starting to snap and break. He saw two cars go off the edge into the river. He asked the Lord what it could possibly mean. He felt the Lord was telling him to immediately stop.
He was only 100 feet from the bridge. There were about 100 people in the line of traffic behind him, and some were honking their horns. But he stopped. He saw people going around him about 20 feet from the bridge and then it actually did snap and crash. He saw two cars go off the bridge.
Matthew sat in his car and thanked God. People started to come up to him and thank him. He realized at that moment that if he hadn’t listened and obeyed the Lord, it would have been tragic, and many would have been killed on the bridge that day. Matthew realized the importance of being prayerful, obedient and ready. His obedience to God saved the lives of many others. Lives are affected by our obedience to God.
What would you have done in that circumstance? Would you have stopped right in the middle of a busy highway?
(My family's home is not far from this area and my brother was supposed to be on that bridge at that time, but his UPS truck was unexpectedly delayed at the airport. Those airport delays never happened before. Another miracle from God!)
Let’s learn the lessons from Elijah during times of testing. Let's pray that God will bring each one of us into a more singleminded dedication, a more fearless faith, and a more steadfast obedience. This will help us during difficult times. Let's learn to live with God intimately the way Elijah did. Let’s take up the challenge to be men and women of radical prayer who believe in God’s supernatural guidance. As we obey the leading of the Holy Spirit, God will provide the strength, wisdom, and resources we need to live Godly lives with a Kingdom purpose.
The Intercessors Arise International and Nations House of Prayer Equipping Center websites will help you during times of testing. Included are dozens of motivational teachings on prayer and intercession along with resources to help you in your daily walk with God. Please pray for my husband and I as we are in Athens, Greece during April helping to start a House of Prayer and ministering to the refugees.
"To the question, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’ we answer, ‘Where are the Elijah’s of God?’ We know Elijah was ‘a man of like passions' as we are, but alas! We are not men of like prayer as he was! One praying man stands as a majority with God! Today God is bypassing men - not because they are too ignorant, but because they are too self-sufficient.”