At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” (1 Kings 18:36–37)
Elijah’s prayer is answered! Fire from the LORD falls from heaven, consuming the soggy sacrifice and the altar, and the prophets of Baal are disgraces and soundly defeated. But Elijah’s next prayer is not answered.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. (1 Kings 19:3–5)
Not only does the LORD not grant Elijah’s prayer, but he provides food and sleep for Elijah before bringing him to Mt. Horeb, where Elijah is given a rare experience of the LORD’s presence. The LORD passes near to Elijah much in the same way that the LORD passed by Moses (Exodus 33:21-22). Who else in Scripture gets this privilege?!
It is more important that we pray than that we know what to pray for.
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee, chocolate chip cookies, Apple products, small video projects, and the New England Patriots.