Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Mountain of Fire and Prayer

Mt Carmel is another of my favorite spots in Israel. After Joshua, Elijah is my favorite Bible character. It was on this mountain that Elijah had the contest with the prophets of Baal to see which God would send down fire from heaven. After winning the contest, Elijah had all the prophets of Baal killed. He then told Ahab it was going to rain (it had not rained for 3.5 years) and he went on to the top of Mt Carmel to pray.

I gave the devotional on this very thing at the top of the mount. The picture is of me speaking on this special mountain top. I told how James 5 teaches us that the energetic prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much. Of all the great examples of prayer in the Bible, it then uses this example from the life of Elijah as seen in First Kings 18. I pointed out five aspects of Elijah’s prayer life that made it an energetic prayer life that accomplishes much. They are:

1. He prayed in solitude. There is something powerful about getting alone with God where no one else can see you or hear you!

2. He prayed in faith the promises of God. God had already promised rain. Elijah prayed that the promises of God would be fulfilled. This is a great and energetic way for us to pray today.

3. He prayed in humility. He crouched down on the ground and put his head between his knees. So many today pray prayers of great arrogance as they reduce God to some kind of glorified bellhop who is at their beck and call. Elijah remembered who God was and who he himself was and he assumed a body position that demonstrated humility.

4. He prayed expectantly. As he prayed for rain, he sent his servant to see if storm clouds are gathering. As I heard my Grandpa Distler once say, “If you’re going to pray for rain, carry an umbrella.”

5. He prayed persistently. When the servant came back and reported no sign of rain, Elijah kept praying. Each time he sent his servant to look but the answer of no rain in sight remained the same. This did not stop Elijah. After the 7th time, a sign of rain was seen. I think we often don’t see answers to our prayers today because we have no patience. We ask God for something once or twice but if it doesn’t happen, we give up. The example of energetic prayer from Elijah is to keep on praying. It’s the old P.U.S.H saying…Pray Until Something Happens!

We ended our time on Mount Carmel by giving each person a chance to go off on their own and pray, just like Elijah did. How cool! We then went to lunch by Mount Carmel. This was without question the best falafel sandwich I have had in Israel. When I get home I have to find a place that makes a good falafel sandwich.

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