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THE SOUND OF RAIN

Most athletes enter an event EXPECTING to compete seriously and be among the winners. The military forces move into battle EXPECTING to emerge victorious. The patient consents to surgery EXPECTING to recover. The laborer works EXPECTING to be paid. The farmer plants seed into the soil EXPECTING to reap a crop. The prophet prays EXPECTING God to answer.

Here is the Word of the Lord! ( I Kings 18:41-46 ) "And Elijah said to (King) Ahab , 'Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.' So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. And he 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. And at the seventh time he said, 'Behold, a little cloud like a man's hand is rising from the sea.' And he (Elijah) said 'Go up, say to Ahab, prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.' And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah. . . ."

Note this, God had previously told Elijah that it was going to rain. (I Kings 18:1) So even before Elijah prayed for rain, he told Ahab to prepare for rain. This was a statement of faith by Elijah. He believed God when He told Elijah He was going to send rain. Once again, Elijah shows he is a man of faith, trust and prayer! How do we do in relationship to being persons of faith, trust and prayer? We may be tempted to ask: Where is the God of Elijah? But the real question we ought to ask is: Where is God's Elijah? You and I can be like His Elijah. With this account as our background, let's think about OUR prayers.

a. Many of us, if we pray at all, do not really EXPECT much to happen.

b. Many of us do not realize what it is to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.

c. Many of us do not pray prayers that are designed to produce results.

d. Many of us pray in a whimper rather than with the authority God grants us.

However, the Scripture clearly teaches us that the follower of Jesus Christ:

a. who truly prays with a pure heart and clean hands

b. who truly prays in the power of the Holy Spirit

c. who prays fervently and earnestly

d. who lives with a burden and spirit of prayer

e. who prays with the authority God grants

f. who prays EXPECTING to emerge victorious

g. who prays EXPECTING the God of heaven, the God of the church and the God of our lives to make

good on His promise as recorded in Scripture

DOES RECEIVE ANSWERS from God; incredible, positive, consistent, and definite answers to prayer!

"Call unto me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things you do not know." (Jeremiah 33:3)

The Apostle James says Elijah prayed like that. "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit." (James 5:17 - ESV) James thus gives a perfect illustration that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person produces results from the "hand" of God. This FERVENT prayer means "to be heated, hot, burning or glowing". It means to have great warmth, intensity of spirit and passion. This is much more than "whispering a prayer in the morning, at noon and night". It is more like laboring or travailing in prayer! It can be "hard work" to pray like that!

Could it be that our results in prayer are sporadic because our prayer life is weak, void of passion, absent of earnestness, a pure heart and clean hands, and EXPECTATION? Is our prayer life sporadic, occurring mostly when we have trouble or we're in a crisis? It might be that we have a "foxhole" prayer life; a crisis-prompted prayer pattern.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) "He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them." (Psalm 145:19) "What things the righteous desire will be granted." (Proverbs 10:24)

The word "desire" means "crave" or "intensely yearn for". And please take note of the qualifications God requires of us who pray for that which we intensely yearn for: righteousness, earnestness, a pure heart, clean hands, a fear (reverence) of God, a delight in Him. Delighting in the Lord means to find ultimate joy, deep satisfaction, having loyalty, making God our number one priority in ALL aspects of our life. Jesus promised: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7 - ESV)

Our effective prayer life and specific answers come through our personal, growing, maturing and love relationship with Jesus! This relationship with Jesus does not originate with our prayer life, but our personal and powerful life of prayer originates with our close and abiding love relationship with Jesus. LOVE HIM FIRST AND THEN WE'LL LOVE OUR PRAYER LIFE!

Bear Bryant, famous head football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide team had this true experience. Alabama's quarterback passed the ball. The defensive quarterback for the opposing team intercepted the pass and ran for a touchdown. The Alabama quarterback ran after him, caught and tackled him two yards before the winning touchdown and five seconds to the end of the game. Alabama Crimson Tide won. After the close of the game, the opposing coach said to Bear Bryant: "How did your player do that?" Bear answered: "Your man was running for six points; my man was running for his life."

In seriously contemplating Elijah's prayer that brought the cloud and the rain, isn't it time we fervently "ran for our life" in prayer?

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About Me

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God has blessed me with a long and fruitful ministry! I have over 40 years in pastoral ministry, retreat speaking, Evangelism, teaching and Christian Radio broadcasting.

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