Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When you think of Elijah the prophet, you think of a towering personality bossing King Ahab around like he was a child. The prophet stood alone before a huge crowd on Mount Carmel, and his prayer brought heaven's endorsement in fire flashing from heaven.
But wait a moment. Think also of Elijah's humiliation, his years of apparently unanswered prayers up in the mountains of Tish as he pleaded for Israel's repentance, all apparently in vain. The Lord had given him an understanding of truth, but it brought him pain as he was forced to watch his beloved Israel sink ever deeper in the horrible morass of Baal-worship. It seems that a precious knowledge of God's truth always brings pain to God's servant who must watch his people turn from it.
No one knows how many years Elijah spent in such apparently fruitless prayer, denying himself also in fasting. Finally the Lord invited Elijah to share the "Revelation 3:21" experience: "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne ..." Come Elijah, you have the good of My Israel on your heart. What do yousay we do for them, to save them from utter ruin?
As we study the story, it seems that the 3-1/2 years of drought was Elijah's idea (James 5:17, 18). This drastic step was the only way the nation could be awakened to reality. (Yes, Elijah agreed with what James says when he told King Ahab there would no rain until he himself, unworthy as he may have been, gave the order for heaven to send it, "except at myword"; 1 Kings 17:1.)
As the weary 42 months dragged by and all vegetation gradually dried up, the lone but sorrowful prophet was forced to watch the people suffer and some children die; he survived only by a little water trickling through the Brook Cherith, and food the ravens brought him. And when even that brook dried up, the Lord sent him to the widow of Zarephath in pagan Sidon (giving Jesus a magnificent story to tell the people of Nazareth, Luke 4:25, 26).
You too may have sincere prayers lifted heavenward daily for the good of someone else. Elijah never stopped praying, but he also let the Lord show him what to doto bring about an answer to his prayers.
Yes, pray; but such prayer may not be enough. Ask the Lord to deepen your knowledge of His gospel, especially that "everlasting" one of Revelation 14:6, 7, which is the only way the Holy Spirit can reach the heart of your beloved one you are praying for. Come, sit with the Lord on His throne. It takes more than fasting and prayer--it takes study and understanding to be at-one with Him.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: February 7, 2008.
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