April 15, 2018: Prayer is Labor

1 Kings 18:41-46 (NIV)
41  And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.”
42  So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
43  “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
44  The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'”
45  Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.
46  The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

 

It had not rained in Israel for over three and a half years.  Elijah had told King Ahab that it would not rain for three and a half years and it had not.  It was now time to turn the rain back on.  The land had just been cleansed of all the false prophets of Baal and God was now free to pour out his rain on his people because they had repented and turned back to him once again.

Elijah has a brief meeting with King Ahab and tells him that he should hurry home because it was going to rain.  Elijah knew it was going to rain because he had that on a promise from God that whenever he called the rains they would come.

I want you to notice how it is that Elijah goes about securing the answer God promises to send.  I would have thought he just needed to ask once for rain and God would have sent it but this is not the case.

Take a close look at the text and see how Elijah positions his body when he begins to pray for the rain to come.  He sits down and puts his head between his knees. This position was one in which most women of that day gave birth.  Now Elijah is birthing something in the spiritual realm.  Why such position and why does he have to pray so many times?  God was restoring the land but there was an unseen enemy who sought to derail every move of God.

Elijah understanding the true nature of spiritual warfare assumes the position of travail.  This is intense labor Elijah experiences as he cries out to God to send the rain.

What do we know from this section of Scripture?  We know that God had already promised to send the rain.  We know that the land was now clean of all the false prophets.

Why so much work to secure the promise of God to send train?  Could it be that perhaps the hearts of the people were still somewhat calloused by years of rebellion that it would take more effort on the intercessor to secure the promise?

When we look at our nation what do we see?  A nation adrift in a sea of immorality and wickedness.  Evil is now celebrated and good is now ridiculed.  Perhaps God is calling us to assume the position of prayer as Elijah did and cry out for God to send the rain of His Spirit that has not fallen in decades.

God send your rain and let it fall on our land again that we may see a harvest of righteousness in our ay.

 

Pastor Phil

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