It was the original Super Bowl. The Lombardi trophy was not the prize and the loser would be put to death. Elijah had watched as the King of Israel, Ahab, desecrated the Temple of the Lord with the new religion of his wife, Jezebel. God had called Elijah to send a message to Ahab to let him know that God was serious. The message was a three year drought. The effect of the drought finally reached the top echelon of society and Ahab had to do something. He called for Elijah. And Elijah suggested a dramatic competition between the God of Israel and the gods of Jezebel.
Elijah would build an altar. The prophets of Jezebel would build an altar. They would each offer a sacrifice on their respective altars. Then Jezebel’s prophets prayed to their gods and asked for fire to come down from Heaven to consume their sacrifice. Nothing happened. They even began to cut themselves as part of their religion to provoke their gods to doing something in response to their prayer. This went on for some time and nothing came of it. Now, it was Elijah’s turn. And this brings us to the Verse of the Day:
1 Kings 18:37
Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
Elijah stepped forward with a quick and simple prayer. The prophets of Jezebel had gone on and on trying to get their gods to pay attention. They even sliced their own skin and shed their own blood to get their gods to do something. Elijah simply said, “…So these people will know that you, Lord, are God.” He did not have to shout, dance around, cut himself. Aren’t you glad that our God is always ready to help us (Psalm 46:1). We don’t have to work to get His attention. His eyes are always on us (2 Chronicles 16:9).
But why did God wait? Elijah and God were working together. God was waiting for Elijah and Elijah was glorifying God. The Bible says we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). The Lord calls us to pray to Him. Prayer is so much more than bringing a Christmas list to God to fulfill. Prayer is to reflect on the goodness and character of God that we might praise Him. It is to remember His ways that we might follow them. It is to submit to Him that He might purify our hearts. It is to position ourselves aligned with God and His will. But prayer then is also to ask the Lord.
He waits for our prayers that we might know He is God. If God preempted our prayers every single time (because He does preempt our prayers often to care for us), we would chalk it up to coincidence or worse, luck. The Lord waits for us to pray and to ask so that it is clear when He does deliver, we know that it was Him. We prayed and He answered. No luck. No coincidence. Just a loving Father waiting to give us good gifts.
How is your prayer life? Do you go into prayer with a list of desires before letting prayer move your heart into the right perspective and attitude first?
Leave me a comment about how your prayer life is doing. What are you doing well and what could be better?
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!