The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.– James 5:16c-18
Scripture reading: 1 Kings 18:41-46
There are more blessings here than simply the rain. For example, Elijah commands Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink.” The contest on Carmel is more than a contest. It is a covenant renewal ceremony. Elijah prepares the altar as a burnt offering. In the Old Testament the burnt offering was followed by a fellowship offering. There is a feast after the fire – wonderfully depicted in the Lord’s Supper. We remember the sacrifice of Christ and then eat His flesh and drink His body. Fellowship restored.
Then there is the rain but before it comes down, prayer must go up. Yes, God said He was going to send rain but He still wishes to be asked for His promise to be fulfilled. So with humility (notice Elijah’s posture) and persistence (seven times) Elijah prays on behalf of his people as their mediator even as Christ intercedes for us so the blessings may fall. And the Lord answers. How much we owe to our Mediator’s prayers.
Then there is that peculiar detail at the end of the chapter. It must be significant because the hand of the Lord is involved. He gives Elijah energy to lead Ahab on the 17-mile journey back to Jezreel. It appears that for a while anyway, things are as they should be in Israel. There is confession, fellowship, rain, and the Word of the Lord(represented by Elijah) leading the way of the king. The king was never meant to follow his own wisdom. Nor are we.
Suggestions for prayer
Praise God that He is willing to have fellowship with sinners through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ and thank Him for the Lord’s Supper. Pray that God would make us men and women, boys and girls, who pray for His promised blessings that we may glorify and enjoy Him. Ask Him to teach us His Word so that we would know His promises and live according to His commands.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.