Our world and our lives need better answers than just to work harder. We do not have to live in despair. When you have an awesome God, prayer changes everything.
We Can be Honest About the Struggle. Sometimes we think prayer doesn’t work. We’ve all wrestled with addictions, relationships, needs, and our health. When the answer tarries, we tend to stop wrestling with the problem and start wrestling with the prayer itself.
Let’s Struggle IN Prayer, not with it. Prayer is a process. God is moving, and you are changing. Prayer helps us “see” God’s work, plan, and will in our lives and world. Prayer builds us into the kind of people who can handle God’s Vision.
James 5:17-18 (NLT) Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
Elijah, Mt. Carmel, and a Gullywasher. Today we spend some more time with Elijah in the drama of drought, evil, and grace. The three years were up. It was time for the drought to end. It was time for Israel to see that evil never wins and that it is the cause of suffering.
Are we Ready for Things to Change? Let’s learn to pray like Elijah, a man who prayed with confidence. Too often, we pray like beggars. We need to change that.
1 Kings 18:41-42 (NLT) Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!” 42 So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.
Humility Changes Things
The Opposite of Independence. The reason we struggle praying is that we are working so hard to be our own answer. We think surely we are smart enough, strong enough, good enough, or SOMETHING enough. But, to bow my knee and head to God? Isn’t that giving up? NO! That’s stepping up; it’s honest and it’s powerful.
James 5:16 (NLT) Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
It is our humility that makes the righteous people who lay hold of GIANT answers. Can you see how James ties his teaching on prayer to the confession of sin? Then he ties that confession to our righteousness. Our righteousness does not come from effort and accomplishment. It comes by faith through confession, repentance, and dependence.
James 4:10 (NLT) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
You are not your own God, you need God. Choose the only true God. Then, things will begin to change for you. Go after things in prayer. Learn to struggle IN prayer not WITH prayer. Then you will attack the problem at its root.
1 Kings 18:43 (NLT) Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.” The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.”
Clarity Changes Things
Elijah had Clarity from the Beginning. Elijah didn’t just wake up and decide, “You know it would be cool to punish Ahab and Jezebel with a drought.” He knew that was what God wanted. Guess how he knew that. PRAYER. He was asking God for what God wanted. He was bringing the will of God in Heaven to Earth. Does that sound familiar?
Matthew 6:10 (NLT) May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
What does God want? I know what I want, BUT do I know. . . that God is good? That God desires to bless? That enemy’s works must be destroyed? That there is a lot going on around this situation? Learn what God wants and ask for it.
1 Kings 18:43b-44 (NLT) Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. 44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”
Persistence Changes Things
Seven Times? God answered with fire from Heaven instantly, but the rain took seven trips to the mountain peak. Now God WANTED to send the rain, and God WANTED to light that fire. BUT, one prayer was instant and another required persistence.
Matthew 7:7 (NLT) “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
Why Is Prayer Sometimes Delayed? We don’t know all of the pieces that are moving on our behalf. Daniel had to wait 21 days once for an answer because of a battle in the heavenlies (Dan 10). Paul sought the Lord 3 times over his thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:9). And, there is also God’s timing. God not only knows WHAT needs to happen, He knows WHEN, too.
1 Kings 18:44b-45 (NLT) …Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” 45 And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel.
Expectation Changes Things
It didn’t Take Much for Elijah to Get Moving. He had everything else. And when he heard about that cloud, he knew the time had come. He knew God wanted to do it. So, Elijah expected God to answer.
How to Learn To Expect God To Answer. Start writing down what you are praying for. The problem is not that God isn’t answering, it is often that we forgot we asked and just absorbed the answer into our routine.
Notice the little answers that add up to BIG answers. Often a big answer is a culmination of a lot of little answers. Sometimes God sends an obvious MIRACLE. And sometimes He sends 100 little ones.
What do You Expect from God? God wants to do more. God can do more. God will do more. But he does it WITH us. So, let’s get in sync with Him.