Elijah was a man who prayed great prayers of faith and who saw God deliver him time and time again. On one occasion ‘… He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Then he prayed again, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops’ (James 5:17-18). He did have to persevere in prayer though, he told King Ahab that there would be rain and then went to the top of a mountain to ask God for it. He sent his servant seven times to go look at the sea before he told Elijah ‘…A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea…’ (1 Kings 18:44). At this Elijah told him to run to tell Ahab before the rain stopped him (1 Kings 18:44).
Now we are all going to face times when we need to persevere in prayer, we are called to pray and not give up (Luke 18:1). This can be hard and takes courage, determination and faith. It requires you to hold onto God and his promises (Hebrews 10:23), in some cases over a long period of time.
Someone I know became a Christian at 12 years old and at that point started to ask God to save her parents and began to witness to them. Then when they were both in their 80s they had health difficulties and needed a carer to come into their home. The carer was a Christian lady who shared the gospel with them; they both put their faith in God in their last days and had Christian funerals.
I find this testimony and the story of Elijah both inspiring and challenging. Inspiring because God always hears our prayers (1 John 5:14-15) and nothing is impossible for him (Matthew 19:26). As James 5:16 says: ‘….the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ I am also challenged because although God’s timing is perfect it is seldom ours as God has his own sense of time (2 Peter 3:8). Waiting on God and persevering in prayer can be tough, but as I write about in my post Great is Thy Faithfulness we are in good company waiting on God; each day we have to choose to trust God.
Other posts on prayer on my blog include: