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To finish off the fire-POWER show that proved God was Real and Baal powerless, Elijah had one more thing to do to top the day off.
“You’d better go eat dinner,” Elijah told Ahab. “I hear a big rainstorm coming.” Remember, it hadn’t rained in three and a half years. Do you think Ahab believed it would rain now all of a sudden just because Elijah said it would? All I can say is… Ahab took off for dinner.
Ahab started eating up his dinner, and Elijah went up on the mountaintop with his servant.
Elijah knelt down and put his head between his knees and prayed for the rain to come.
Then Elijah told his servant, “Go up a little higher on the mountain and look out towards the sea.“ The servant hiked up to look to see if there was a rainstorm coming yet.
Hike, hike, hike.
The servant came back. “I didn’t see anything, sir — nothing.”
Elijah kept praying. “Go back and check again,” he told his servant.
The servant hiked, hiked, hiked, and looked, looked, looked.
He returned to Elijah. “No, Sir. Nothin’.”
Elijah kept praying.
“Go check again,” he told his servant.
The servant checked again. He was getting a little sweaty with all this hiking. Nope. Nada. Nothin’.
He returned to Elijah. “Still no rain coming, sir.”
What do you think Elijah should do? Do you think just because he prayed three times for rain and nothing happened that God probably was saying “no” to his prayer? Do you think Elijah should just give up and say, “Oh well, I guess it isn’t what God wants.” No! This was important! And it was what God’s wanted. Ahab and the people needed to see God’s power. Sometimes it’s the most important things that we’re praying about that need the most prayer, without giving up. When we pray like that, it shows God that we really care about what is important to Him.
Elijah kept praying. He sent his servant to check a fourth time, a fifth time, a sixth time. Each time: Nothin’. Nope. No rain. Finally on the seventh time, the servant looked out at the sea.
“I see… I see… I see something!” The servant bounded down to Elijah and told him, “Come look, a teeny, tiny cloud, the size of a man’s hand, is rising up from the sea.”
Elijah smiled. He knew this teeny, tiny cloud meant that God had answered his prayer for rain. “Go,” he told his servant. “Go tell Ahab he’d better hitch up his chariot and get on home before the torrential rain stops him!”
Torrential rain? It was just a teeny, tiny cloud. Have you ever seen rain come from a teeny, tiny cloud the size of a man’s hand? Me neither.
But, Ahab got moving! Even as Elijah spoke and as Ahab hitched up his chariot and took off home as fast as he could, the sky darkened with clouds, the wind blew — OOOOOO — and — FLASH, BOOM — thunder and lightning… and then torrential rain, rain, rain.
Then God energized Elijah with power — super running power. Elijah tucked his coat into his belt, and ran so, so, so fast that he ran right past Ahab’s horses and chariot and beat Ahab home. (I imagine him laughing in the rain the whole way, don’t you?)
Do you realize that even with all the amazing and Incredibly Credible things that happened because Elijah prayed they would, Elijah still was a man just like us? He was just a guy, a person like you or me. And yet, he prayed that it wouldn’t rain. And it didn’t. And he prayed that it WOULD rain. And it did. God heard him because he was His friend and because Elijah was so connected to God that he knew what to ask God about — he knew what God wanted. The passionate prayer of a man who is Righteous can DO BIG THINGS! So when you pray, don’t give up! Keep praying about what’s important even when nothing seems to be happening for awhile. And keep your eye out for an answer from God, because it just might start as a teeny, tiny cloud the size of a man’s hand.