Lesson 4: "Learning the Power of Prayer" I Kings 17:17-24
"The Lord heard Elijah’s cry…" I Kings 17:22
Elijah’s Greatest Prayer Challenge
Elijah’s greatest opportunity to trust God in prayer still lay ahead on Mt. Carmel
To prepare Elijah for this, God brought him a chance to learn what effective prayer can do. So far Elijah had passed God’s tests, and God had met all his needs. But what happens when the answers don’t seem so clear?
Illness struck the widow’s son (v. 17). And just like the brook last week, the boy’s health slowly trickled away, and got worse and worse over time
The woman’s reaction was predictable, and only human (v. 18) Does serving and worshiping the true God matter, if things like this happen anyway?
Elijah, a "man just like us", also had questions (v. 20) Why? Wasn’t God’s name and reputation at stake?
A Prayer We Should Never Forget
This was no ordinary prayer. Elijah’s emotions were evident (v. 20,21)
From the woman’s response (v. 24), she might have begun to doubt if Elijah’s God was really worth believing in
Our view of God might lead us to wonder if God is punishing us for our sins. Perhaps God is trying to get our attention, but God is very long-suffering, and His mercy and forgiveness are infinite
God honors honesty. It’s OK to bring our questions before God in prayer
#1) God prepares us for the big challenges by providing us with opportunities to face smaller challenges victoriously
It’s important to be faithful in the small things
It is in the midst of situations beyond our control that we really learn to pray
God understands our anxieties, our fears, our disappointments
OK, so why doesn’t God just always act before we speak? Why does he want us to pray first?
God is particularly responsive to our prayers when we are able to get beyond our own interests and concerns and focus on other people’s needs, but especially on God’s reputation
God never promised He would heal all physical infirmities, but He still wants us to pray. Through prayer, we learn that God doesn’t exist just to ensure our health and bring us material prosperity. While God does want to meet our needs, it comes down to whom do we choose to serve, what do we worship?