By Mike Reed
A Rock Star Prophet
If we were questioned as to who would be considered the most dynamic and admired prophet in the Old Testament, many would choose Elijah without hesitation. His accomplishments are legendary. His story includes a dramatic confrontation of King Ahab to announce a coming drought (1 Kings 17: 1), the miraculous raising of the widow’s son in Zarephath (1 Kings 17: 8-24), and the showdown with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18: 2040). Elijah’s ministry also includes some of the most powerful prayers in Scripture.
Following Elijah’s confrontation of Ahab, God gave the prophet a directive that provides us with insight into the secret of his power. Just two words: “hide yourself” (1 Kings 17: 1). God sent Elijah to the Brook Cherith east of the Jordan, for a mandated sabbatical that would provide him with an environment of isolation. This isolation enabled Elijah to spend time of intimate fellowship with the Father as he concentrated on the Word and deepened his prayer life.
From the outside it what appear that little was happening during that isolation. God, however, was at working molding His man for future ministry challenges.
During the prophet’s time at the brook, three realities were engrained in his spirit that would provide peace and boldness in the ministry challenges Elijah faced the rest of his life: God’s providence, God’s protection, and God’s provision.
Strong in Private, Strong in Public
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with our own “brook” from which we can engage with God on the next level. Central to that engagement is the discipline of prayer. Here are five things we can do to grow in prayer during this time:
- As you pray, follow biblical examples – Studying the pattern (model) prayers found in Scripture will expand our understanding of how to pray. Two examples to consider are Nehemiah (Neh. 1: 1-11) and Jesus (Matt. 6: 9-13; John 17).
- Pray the Scriptures – The book Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney is a great resource for deepening your prayer life through praying God’s Word.
- Make this a season of intercession – Praying for others has long been the practice of prayer warriors. Make a prayer list and start immediately. Scroll through your social media connections and pray for those in need. Intercede for frontline persons serving in the pandemic.
- Pray for revival and revitalization – This is a critical time for churches around the world. Pray also for missionaries who have been displaced and are unable to return to their fields of service.
- Pray with expectation – Expectation gives evidence of our faith and faith is a major key to God’s response. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
May we follow the challenge given to us in 1 Thess. 5:17: pray without ceasing.
MIke Reed is the Missional Strategist for Community Engagement at the Jacksonville Baptist Association