Monday, May 5, 2008

One tiny cloud

I love reading stories of faith. The story of Elijah in 1 Kings really hit me today. Praying with complete and utter confidence is often a foreign concept to me. I long for the ability to pray like this. I would love to say that I am a person that prays and truly leaves my praise, thanksgiving, and requests at the feet of Jesus. I think I have a long way to go.
Elijah amazes me, here's the story:
James 5:16-18 (NLV) " The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next 3 1/2 years. Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green and the crops began to grow again."

Ok, so Elijah had prayed to God that there would be no water falling on the land, no rain, no dew, nothing... and God honored his request. Three and a half years later, Elijah tells Ahab "Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain." (1 kings 18:41) Elijah then goes to the top of Mount Carmel, puts his face to the ground and earnestly prays for rain. Here's the first thing that hit me: Elijah told Ahab that rain was coming even before he prayed for it.... He was that confident that the Lord would answer his prayer.

Elijah then told his servant to go and look out over the sea. The servant came back and had seen nothing. Probably clear, blue sky as far as he could see. Again, Elijah told him to go look out over the sea.... again, he reported back that he'd seen nothing... 6 times, the servant saw nothing....6 times!

This didn't discourage Elijah at all, he continued praying, earnestly and like the prayer had already been answered. I mean, I know that by the 2nd or 3rd time, I would have decided that God wasn't ready, maybe this wasn't his will, or maybe I'd misunderstood.... But Elijah was not phased, his faith did not fail...

The seventh time the servant looked out over the sea, he came back and reported: "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising over the sea." (1Kings 18:44) Imagine what that must have looked like. Elijah's servant is standing on top of a mountain looking over the sea.... a cloud the size of a man's hand! Seriously?! That must have looked like a speck from his point of view....

Elijah's response was this: "Go and tell Ahab, Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you." (1Kings 18:44b)

At that moment, Elijah knew that God had answered his prayer. He prayed without ceasing, he prayed earnestly until his prayer was answered, and he prayed with complete confidence that rain was coming no matter what the circumstances alluded to.

I can't imagine what the servant was thinking when Elijah responded this way... I would have thought he was crazy... a tiny speck of a cloud, and we needed to hurry so the rain wouldn't stop us from getting down the mountain?

How fitting that the cloud was described as being 'as small as a man's hand'.... ONE man's hand was lifted in earnest prayer, and it literally changed the fate of a nation. Crops would grow, people could drink, their lives were saved...

I want to be like Elijah...How can I pray like that? How can I have faith like that? Some days it seems impossible....So I will try to remember Elijah, one man's hand lifted in prayer, and the one tiny cloud...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow Jamie..thank you so much for sharing that here! I am finding little time to spend alone with the lord since the baby was born, and amidst the chaos I tend to forget how very necessary it is to cast All of our cares on Him. Thank you so much for sharing such an encouraging word.