These are perilous times in our nation, and in the entire world, when the Church cannot afford to sit on the fence. As the saying goes, “tough times make tough people.” We must be decisive, we must put on the whole armour of God and join in the battle of bringing healing to our nation. The one way we can do this is through persevering prayer.
The daily barrage of disheartening news in the nation is all part of Satan’s strategy to discourage Christians from praying. Believers must not give in to despair. Our resolve must be strong.
Both Elijah and Elisha encountered very hopeless situations which they turned around through persevering prayer. Their ability to persevere in prayer, and by the grace of God, turned a hopeless situation around should encourage us in our prayer as we face the terrible situations in our nation. There are five steps Elijah took which we shall highlight. Just as the widow’s son was seriously sick and gasped for breath so is Nigeria so sick and gasping for breath. Again, just as God brought the dead boy back to life through Elijah, so the Lord will bring our nation back to life.
“Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. (1 Kings 17:17 NKJV).
Elijah came into contact with the widow of Zarephath when the Lord sent him to her. It was a case of mutual benefit between the woman and the prophet of God. God met the needs of the woman in a time of drought through Elijah, and the prophet was sustained by the widow during the same period of drought.
Unexpectedly, the woman’s son died and the widow tried to blame Elijah for it. “So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” (1 Kings 17:18 NKJV).
Elijah’s response was to ask for the boy and placed him on the bed where he slept, possibly for body contact. Elijah’s actions are illustrative of what perseverance in prayer looks like and how it can turn situations around. First, he said to the widow, “Give me your son.” He took the problem into his hands.
Secondly, he carried him to the upper room where he stayed. That is, he identified with the problem.
Thirdly, he cried out to the Lord. “Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” (1 Kings 17:20 NKJV).
Fourthly, he stretched himself on the boy three times and cried aloud to God. “And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” (1 Kings 17:21 NKJV).
Finally then came the breakthrough. “Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.” (1 Kings 17:22 NKJV). May God hear the voice of our prayers for Nigeria!
Perseverance is not blind faith. As Oswald Chambers said, “Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen. Perseverance means more than just hanging on.”