Elijah’s prayer in 1 Kings 18:41-46 is interesting reading on persevering prayer; it contains many lessons for us to learn from.
Elijah had the sound of the abundance of rain which he was determined to actualize. A sound is a sensation perceived by the sense of hearing. For the spiritually sensitive person, sounds may be heard in the inner man than in the ears. It may be false or real. But Elijah had cause to believe the sound he heard because God had promised him that he would send rain. God said to him, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth” (1 Kings 18.1 NKJV).
Convinced that he heard the Lord correctly, Elijah gave himself to unceasing prayers to actualize the sound he heard. Persevering prayer brings into reality what our spirit man sees or hears; persevering prayers are unceasing and seek the attainment of the promises of God. It is unwavering in the pursuit to actualize the promises of God. “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth” (1 Kings 18.1 NKJV). What sound of future blessing do you hear? Is it kingdom related? Does it glorify Christ? Then, it is from God, give yourself to it and pursue it.
His posture in prayer, his head buried in between his knees, says a lot about his determination to get a response from God. It teaches us that prayer is a serious business which requires serious attention. Elijah did not bring the casual poise some of us have to prayer. He was determined and focused. Granted we all have different personalities, but we can also be serious when we want to.
After the first attempt, the response of his servant who went to check out if the rain cloud was forming, was, “There is nothing.” Enough to discourage any intercessor! But the prophet was adamant, “Go again” he said to his servant. Persevering prayer requires persistence. Those who persevere in prayer have a streak of stubbornness.
The cheering news Elijah wanted to hear came during the seventh time. The fist-like cloud was all he needed to know that the breakthrough had come. “Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare and go down before the rain stops you.’” (1 Kings.18:44 NKJV).
What could have happened if Elijah had given up after the discouraging reports, “There is nothing.” That we don’t see any immediate results during our prayers does not mean that the evidence would not come. There is always a build-up or a gathering of momentum before we get to the climax. To give up midway would have meant an anti-climax, a loss of momentum. Keep on building up the momentum in whatever you do in the kingdom. Keep on serving, keep on studying the word, keep on living a holy life, keep on worshipping, keep on giving and sowing, keep on trusting in the Lord, and keep on confessing the right words. Like Abraham keep on hoping against hope; someday and sometimes, they will all add up. God sees and knows your efforts and labour of love. In due season, the results will come!
Once Elijah was sure the rain was about to fall and had announced it to King Ahab, with the help of the Lord, he then, outran the King. The hand of the Lord gives us speed and helps us to overtake.