Elijah received orders one day: “Go and present yourself to King Ahab. Tell him that I will soon send rain!” (1 Kings 18:1 NLT).
That sounds straightforward, yes? God planned to send rain shortly. He told Elijah to convey the message to Ahab. Elijah obeyed. But there’s more…
“Then Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!’ 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” (vv. 41,42).
After praying for an unspecified time, Elijah told his servant to go look toward the sea. He reported back, saying he didn’t see anything. Seven times, Elijah told him to go and look. Finally he saw little cloud “about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” The sky soon turned black, and a heavy rainstorm followed.
This passage causes me to ask a question: Why did Elijah pray for rain if God had already said it was coming?
The answer? Because, for some reason, God invites and waits for man’s prayerful participation to accomplish His purposes.
I have no doubt God is fully capable of doing whatever He wishes. And yet, He tells us to bring our requests to Him and to pray without ceasing. And He moves in response to those prayers.
God could have sent that rain whenever He felt like it. But He waited for Elijah to pray, and to do so with patience and perseverance. What might have happened if Elijah had taken a nap instead, weary after the showdown with Baal’s prophets at Mount Carmel? Would the rain have come anyway or would it have tarried? Only God knows. And only He knows what happens in the heavenlies as a result of our prayers today.
Prayer makes a difference in ways we may never understand. Let’s do our part, praying with patience and perseverance until we see God answer.
Question: How have you seen prayer make a difference in your circumstances?