Intro: Last time I preached on Overcoming Depression, I did not know that it would be a series. But, today I am beginning a series. I am planning to preach on Elijah, a man of PRAYER, PURPOSE, PASSION, FAITH, and VICTORY! I do not know if each of these will be a separate message or if I will be combining some of them together. But, by the end of this study, I want you to know Elijah better and ask the Lord to make us also people of prayer, purpose, passion, faith, and victory!
More just a human like us, Elijah was an effective instrument of righteousness in God’s hands. What God did through Elijah, He wants to do through us! Let’s examine Elijah as a man of prayer today.
I. Prayer Is Communication With God!
Elijah was a man who communicated with God. Here in James 5:17 & 18, we are told of the time when Elijah asked God to prove Himself as relevant by shutting off the rain for 31/2 years, and God answered prayer! John Bunyan said, “Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised!” Prayer is both an action and an attitude! It requires us to both speak and listen, but it also demands that we understand that prayer is having an audience with the God of Heaven! Our attitude must be right when we approach the Lord of Lords and King of Kings!
In I Kings 17:17-24 we have the story of when Elijah asked God to restore the widow’s son back to life, and again God answered prayer! Remember how he stretched himself over the boy three times before feeling the life reentering the lad. Prayer is talking with God, but it also requires obedience on our part to see God’s will accomplished!
II. Prayer Is A Time When God Talks To Us!
If we do all the talking in our times of prayer, we are not truly praying! Communication involves talking and listening, and we must do both to truly pray! God talked back to Elijah, for after he asked, God would answer!
In I Kings 17:3 God told Elijah to go the Brook Cherith and He would provide for him there. Elijah could have protested and said, “God I know where there is a river – the Jordan – couldn’t You let me go there and take care of me?” So often when we hear the Lord speak to us, we have an alternate plan of action! God wants simple obedience from His creation, not suggestions from His children.
In I Kings 17:9, God told Elijah to go to Zarephath and allow a widow to provide for him. Now, it is one thing to allow the Ravens to feed you, but take food from a poor widow just does not sound right! Remember, when Elijah arrived in Zarephath, the widow was picking up sticks to cook the very last of her meal for her and her son’s last supper! “Take food from them? God, You must be kidding!” But, because Elijah listened and obeyed God, not only was his life spared, but also both the widow and her son did not want for food during the drought!
If we will pray – God will speak to us and will supply all our needs as well as He did Elijah’s!
III. Prayer Is Sweet Fellowship With God!
Oh, the joy of communion with God! When we pray, we know of God’s great love for us because of His sweet presence that we feel! In His presence there is fullness of joy! We can be struggling with the world’s greatest issues and sneak away in prayer and find His joy becomes our joy! In the middle of the greatest turmoil, we can find His presence with brings us peace and joy! We often experience great unrest because we have not sought His rest! We often experience many needless anxious days all because we have not found Him to be our present help in times of troubles!
IV. Prayer Strengths The Child Of God!
“A week without prayer makes the Christian weak!” If you are always slipping and falling short of God’s plan for your life, you need to strengthen yourself with a life of prayer! “But, Pastor, you just do not understand! I truly try to pray, but I can’t sense the presence of God!” God says that when we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him! Go looking for God, and God will find you!
Conc: Prayer is the most effective instrument of righteousness that a Christian can possess! If we will pray, God will be released to act on our behalf. When we fail to pray, we keep God from coming to our assistance and helping us! Elijah was a man just like us, and he prayed!
~ Pastor Erny