Praying Like Elijah #4

Saturday, February 21, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

In the closing verses of the sixteenth chapter of 1 Kings, we learn of the ascension of a new king in Israel (the northern kingdom)—Ahab. As Aquila and Priscilla made a great husband-wife ministry team for the LORD in the New Testament Scriptures, Ahab and Jezebel made a great husband-wife “ministry” team for the Devil in the Old Testament Scriptures! Ahab and Jezebel encouraged the common Jews to worship the pagan god Baal: Ahab built a house for Baal, an altar for Baal, and a grove (trees carved into poles used as a heathen shrine). Later on, Jezebel did not think twice about eliminating competition—she killed the prophets (messengers) of JEHOVAH, even attempting to slay Elijah!

Israel’s decline into paganism under Ahab and Jezebel, both in its leadership and general public, caused the Holy Spirit to move in the Prophet Elijah and confront Ahab: “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1). Of all judgments, why did Elijah select a drought?

Elijah knew that Israel’s operating system was the Mosaic Law. Moses had said in Deuteronomy 11:16,17: “[16] Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; [17] And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.” Elijah simply studied his Bible to find out what JEHOVAH would do in response to Israel’s pagan idolatry, and Elijah prayed for that to happen….

Praying Like Elijah #3

Friday, February 20, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

We read in 1 Kings chapter 16: “[29] And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. [30] And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. [31] And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. [32] And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. [33] And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”

Yes, Ahab was a devilish king (the perfect match for devilish Queen Jezebel!!). As if his predecessor Jeroboam were not wicked enough, Ahab outdid him… and the other previous wicked kings of the northern kingdom, too! Ahab “did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him.” He married a pagan woman, someone who rejected JEHOVAH God, and then he built a house and an altar for the pagan god Baal in JEHOVAH’S land! He also made a “grove” (another place of false religious worship). “And Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” The nation followed him in that error!

This rank paganism is the context of the Prophet Elijah’s ministry. Now we begin to see why he prayed as he did in today’s Scripture….

Praying Like Elijah #2

Thursday, February 19, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

The Apostle James, writing to believing Israel (1:1), says just prior to today’s Scripture: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Prayer, in the Bible, is something that “righteous” people do, that believers do, not lost people. That being said, there is no so-called “sinner’s prayer” in the Bible for lost people to pray to be saved. Saved people pray in the Bible.

If you were to take a concordance and find and consider the Bible verses concerning prayer (especially the contents of believers’ actual prayers), you would see that they were always mindful of God’s Word to them. God spoke to them first and then they spoke to God: prayer according to God’s will is absolutely, unquestionably, essential.

According to James, when a saved person prays fervently (intensely, wholeheartedly), that prayer is “effectual” (it will bring about the result that God desired). It will “avail much.” There is much profit in prayer, and James says that these believing Jews are to pray for one another, that they be healed. He provides an Old Testament example, Elijah. By the way, “Elias” is “Elijah’s” Hebrew name in Greek (the language of the New Testament Scriptures)—the Greek language does not have a “j” or an “h.”

Elijah lived in a time of great spiritual wickedness in Israel (the northern kingdom, the 10 northern tribes). King Ahab and Queen Jezebel made Baal worship the official state religion of the northern kingdom. This pagan idolatry seduced the Jews, drawing them away from JEHOVAH God (in direct violation of the first and second commandments of Exodus 20:1-6). As a believer and a prophet, Elijah knew God’s Word to him before he prayed to God….

Bible Q&A: “Should Christians observe Lent?

Praying Like Elijah #1

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

A preacher recently said that his ministry has received over 93 million prayer requests through the years. He estimated that there were “several million” answers to prayer. Yet, what happened to the tens of millions of prayer requests that went “unanswered?” Did God not deem them worthy of an answer? If you were to survey Christians about their prayer lives, there would be an overwhelming response and great concern about unanswered prayer. For example, the aforementioned preacher discussed how he had even prayed over a lifeless girl’s body, and how God never did bring her back! Why is it that people often pray for one outcome and the very opposite occurs?

To further complicate the matter, Jesus said He would do whatsoever we asked in His name: “[13] And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. [14] If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it(John 14:13,14). Matthew 18:19 is often appealed to regarding prayer: “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” And yet, when two Christians join in prayer, believing exactly what Jesus said, the verses do not work the way one would expect. Why?

Can you see why unanswered prayer is such a sensitive subject? What was to be a blessing is now a burden! What is going on? Does the Almighty throw away prayer requests? If our prayer requests go unanswered, then why bother to pray at all? Elijah in today’s Scripture provides valuable insight into this most personal and most perplexing topic….

Ask and Ye Shall Receive?

Friday, September 16, 2011

“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23,24 KJV).

Unanswered prayer is confusing. Have you ever prayed to God for something, and yet you never received it? Why did today’s Scripture not work? Did God lie? Not at all. Dispensational Bible study dispels confusion and doubt: today’s Scripture was not spoken to us. Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry spoke exclusively to Israel (Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Romans 15:8).

Faith healers and prosperity preachers enjoy Matthew 18:19: “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” This too has nothing to do with us Gentiles: it belongs to Israel’s apostles.

If you pray according to today’s Scripture (or Matthew 7:7; Matthew 18:19; etc.), and do not receive what you prayed for, it is not because the Bible has mistakes, or because God does not love you, or because you had too little faith. God demonstrated His love for us, fully and clearly, at the cross of Calvary. These verses do not work today because God did not speak them to us. God is not doing today what He did with Israel in time past.

When our Apostle Paul prayed three times for the Lord to deliver him from his “thorn in the flesh,” Jesus Christ answered “No” three times (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Why did today’s Scripture not work for Paul? Again, today’s Scripture was spoken to Israel, not to Paul and us in this Dispensation of Grace.

Saints, while God will not answer our prayers in the same way He answered Israel’s prayers, He does hear our prayers. Regardless of what happens, we have “the peace of God which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:6,7).