Never Give Up
by Debbie Kenyon with Chris Olson
InterAct missionary Debbie Kenyon recently shared this brief devotional with her supporters. She and her husband, Dale, serve First Nations people in Alberta. It has been reposted with her permission.
James 5:17-18 says: “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.”
Elijah was a man just like us, yet his prayers were powerful. The Lord used him to defeat the enemies of Israel and point the nation back to God. Here are some things we can learn to help our prayer lives.
Elijah learned to be utterly dependent on God.
Remember the story? He was hiding from King Ahab, and he had no way to meet his own needs. He found himself entirely at the mercy of God, doing his best to walk in obedience. The Lord provided as only He could. He used the ravens to bring him bread and meat and provided a brook from which to drink. We may sometimes feel that the “wells run dry at my house,” but we know God’s faithfulness hasn’t.
Elijah prayed boldly for God to move.
In 1 Kings 18, you can read the account. King Ahab confronts Elijah, but Elijah retorts that Ahab has allowed Israel to worship false gods. Elijah proposes a direct test of the powers of Baal and the Lord: he and Baal’s prophets will each take one of two bulls, prepare it for sacrifice and lay it on wood, but put no fire to it. Both would petition their god to ignite the altar and consume the sacrifice.
The pagan prophets’ ecstatic appeals to Baal to kindle the wood on his altar are unsuccessful, but Elijah prays to the Lord, and He answers by raining fire upon his altar. This outcome is taken as decisive by the Israelites, who slay the priests and prophets of Baal under Elijah’s direction.
Elijah was bold, asking with incredible faith. He obeyed what God had told him to do. He prayed to ask God to prove this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant.
Elijah’s prayers pointed the world back to God.
Elijah’s prayers were about pointing the world back to God. He knew the Lord would not let this challenge go unanswered and trusted him to act. He did not pray simply for his own needs. In 1 Kings 18:37, he prayed, “Answer me so these people will know that you, oh Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” We are to be a people giving all the glory to Him.
Elijah prayed fervently until he saw the answer.
In other words, he never gave up. He petitioned God for no rain, then for rain, asking God seven times for this to happen. It’s an incredible story. Elijah prayed through until he received an answer. Prayer is about ordinary people calling on an omnipotent God. He is willing to do far more than we could ask or imagine.