FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS (DAY 4)

Take it to the Lord in Prayer

CHARACTER IN A TIME OF CRISIS Day Four

1 Kings 17: 22 ‘and the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah’

How many times have you prayed or heard others pray that God is ‘a hearer and answerer of Prayer ‘? How many of us believe this to be the case, though? If we were to put ourselves in the situation that Elijah faced in 1 Kings 17: 17-24 would we trust God?

The widow of Zarephath has just lost her son. What a seemingly cruel twist for the boy to survive the famine but to die subsequently? Who got the blame? Elijah did. It is often the case and all too easy to lash out in distress and pain to those nearest to us. It is also easy to lash out at those who like Elijah stand before the Lord as his servants too!

Interestingly, the widow thinks that there is a connection between her son’s death and her sin (verse 18). This view is not the case, but it is a common lie and condemnation of the devil, who is the father of lies. The accuser comes with such twisted thinking when we are at a low point to compound grief with guilt. When parents do wrong on earth, their children share in the effects of it, but God does not judge children for their parent’s sins. We read in Ezekiel 18:20 ‘The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him’.
What is Elijah’s solution to all this? He takes it to the Lord in prayer. He prays in faith, not doubting that God would restore the boy’s life. Elijah, as a man of faith, trusts to God to honour His promises but also believes that this supernatural God can hear his prayers too. The remarkable thing about Elijah’s prayer is how short it is! Barely two sentences in English (1 Kings 17:20-21 ). The Shorter Catechism asks the question What is prayer? To which the answer is given;

‘Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to his will in the name of Christ with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.

Elijah’s prayer is a short and faith-filled “offering up unto God of the prophets desires and in respect of things agreeable to the will of God.
We read in that beautiful verse 22 “And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived.” (1 Kings 17:22 ESV) . The widow now knows that only the involvement of a supernatural and holy God has given her son back, and she makes glad and fulsome confession of this God in verse 24. For a pagan Sidonian to say this is wonderful. God does hear and answer prayer, and in the life and story of Elijah, we will see further instances of it yet.

That we had the faith to pray for great things, and what is more believe the words of Jesus to be true. If ever there was a time tor us to exercise faith and take all things to the Lord in prayer it is now.

“With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 NIV)

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