(I Kings 18:41-46)
For three and a half years there had been a drought in Israel. Elijah tells Ahab, “It sounds like a heavy rain”. In the midst of heat, insects buzzing, cattle bawling and horses whinnying, Elijah hears the sound of a heavy rain!
Elijah goes to the top of the mountain to pray for the rain he’s already heard. Seven times Elijah sends his servant to look towards the sea, and six times the servant reports there is nothing. The seventh time, there is “a little cloud like a man’s hand” and Elijah sends the servant out to warn Ahab.
Elijah was so certain God was going to answer his prayer, he heard the rain before he prayed! He knew what God wanted done, and he knew God would do it and he had no doubts about the outcome. We wonder why our prayers appear to go unanswered. Probably the main reason is that we have no clue what God wants because we’ve never put His agenda ahead of our own.
Elijah goes to the top of the mountain to pray. He gets away from the people and the pressure of the situation he’s been dealing with and goes to a quiet, special place where he can meet with God. Jesus did the same thing – He would go up the mountain alone to pray. We need to create a special, secluded, quiet place to meet with God.
Elijah is persistent in his prayers. He sends his servant out to check for the rain cloud seven times and six times it appears God has not answered, has said no, perhaps isn’t even listening. But Elijah doesn’t give up and neither should we.
The seventh time, there is a “little cloud”. That’s enough for Elijah and he sends his servant to tell Ahab to get home before the storm. It wouldn’t have been enough of an answer for me – I would have waited to make sure the cloud grew bigger – especially when dealing with mean and cruel Ahab! Never ignore or despise the small answers. Never give up. God answers every prayer with His best at the best time.