Saturday, November 20, 2010

Praying for the Rain

James 5:17-18 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

The Lord had judged the nation of Israel for their continued rebellion. The judgment that came was a severe drought that lasted 31/2yrs. The prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab to a stand off with the false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. During this confrontation both parties built altars to their God. They determined that the God that answered with fire would be the true God. When the false prophets of Baal had exhausted themselves with pointless praying to a false God that could not answer, Elijah prayed. When he prayed the one true God answered by fire. The people responded with shouts of praise that the God of Elijah was the one true God.
Then Elijah began to pray for rain. The land had withered physically, but the people were more than parched spiritually. Elijah got down on his knees and began to cry out to God. Meanwhile he had instructed his servant to keep his eyes on the horizon to look for rain clouds. The Bible records that 6 times Elijah prayed with no apparent result, yet he did not give up. Why? For one thing he had seen God miraculously sustain him over the last three years, as ravens brought him food, and a tiny brook supplied him with water in drought. Furthermore he had just seen the fire of God come down from heaven. He believed that God answers prayer.
Then it happened the 7th time he prayed, his servant came back with the word, " there is the cloud the size of a mans hand in the distance." Elijah gets off his knees declaring that there was an abundance of rain on it's way. I am so amazed when I read this. Not one single drop had fallen. What if the cloud blew away before it arrived? Elijah knew this was the Lord. He had an amazingly clear perspective that others did not have. He could see what others couldn't. I believe the reason was because he was a man of prayer.
What are your seeking God for at this moment? Perhaps you have prayed four times, or six months and there doesn't seem to be an answer. Don't stop praying. There is the sound of the abundance of rain in the distance, God is about to move powerfully.


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