1 Kings 18:43
“And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.”
One of the most incredible accounts of prayer comes from the verse above. It was after the great answer to prayer when God sent fire from Heaven to consume Elijah’s altar that he tells his servant to go and see if there is any rain on the horizon. Israel had been in a famine at the word of Elijah, and after the great victory against the prophets of Baal, Elijah tells Ahab there is going to be rain. When the servant goes to look toward the sea, he didn’t see any clouds on the horizon, but this report from the servant didn’t stop Elijah’s prayer and God’s answer.
Prayer is one of the most important acts of the believer’s life. You will have a listless Christian walk without prayer, but you will experience the greatest victories of faith by praying. The degree to which you excel in the Christian walk will be determined by whether or not you continue to pray when there is no answer. Several important lessons can be gleaned from Elijah’s prayer for rain.
First, don’t expect God to answer every prayer the same way. Elijah had just experienced God’s miraculous answer with one prayer on mount Carmel, but he had to pray seven times before God answered his prayer for rain. The greatest mistake you can make in your prayer life is to expect God to answer every prayer in the same timeline and in the same manner in which He answered prayers in the past. You can avoid having a discouraged prayer life if you don’t put God in your box by how you expect Him to answer your prayers.
Second, don’t be discouraged with no answer. Elijah didn’t let the lack of God’s response to keep him from praying. Just because God doesn’t answer immediately doesn’t mean you should not pray. When God doesn’t seem to answer your prayer, let your response be to go back to the altar.
Third, when there is no answer, keep praying. The saints of the past used to call this, “Praying through.” You may not have had the answer you prayed for, but let me encourage you to pray again. The greatest display of faith is when the believer prays again when God doesn’t seem to answer their prayer.
Fourth, don’t stop praying until you get for what you are asking God. Elijah didn’t stop praying because there was a little cloud. When God begins to answer your prayer, don’t stop until you get your whole prayer answered. You must keep praying until God answers everything for which you are asking.
Fifth, act in faith that the answer is there. When Elijah heard that there was a small cloud, he acted in faith and told Ahab to quickly get to the house because the rain was coming. Faith is the greatest motivator for God to answer a saints prayer. When God sees the faith of His children is when He acts because He knows it shows their faith in His ability to answer their request.
Sixth, in God’s perfect timing, He will answer. It is interesting that Elijah told his servant to go seven times. Seven is the number of perfection. In other words, God will answer your prayer in the perfect time and when you are perfectly ready for His power to be displayed. Until you see the answer, let me encourage you to continue praying and trusting God that He does hear and will answer your prayer.