Prayer and the Process
“Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!” –I Kings 18:43-44, NLT
How do I know God is going to say yes to my prayers? This is a common question many people have as they seek a confident prayer life. However, it’s important to recognize that prayer is not just about the answer; it’s also about glorifying God in the process of waiting for the answer. It is our responsibility to check our motives and believe God hears us.
We see an example of the process of prayer in this story of Elijah (I Kings 18). Elijah climbed to the top of the mountain to pray for rain to come. As he waited for the rain, he continued to pray, believing God would answer. When he finally saw a small cloud, he told Ahab to go get ready because the rain was coming. Elijah knew what to pray for, and God heard him the first time he prayed. But there was preparation that needed to take place in order for Elijah to receive the answer to his prayer.
It is no mistake that God waited until Elijah prayed seven times before He answered. In the Bible, seven represents completion. In this story, seven represents the completion of God’s process regarding Elijah’s prayer request.
God does not want merely to answer our prayers; He wants to spend time with us to prepare us for the answer that will come. Many times we want to skip over the process involved in engaging God in prayer as we wait for our answer. But it is this very process that works maturity in us and prepares us for the answers our prayers bring (James 1:4).
“The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came. Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory.” –R.A. Torrey
Bible Reading Plan: Luke 8
Prayer Focus: What prayers of yours are still waiting for an answer? Throughout this fast, thank God for His process at work in you….and trust Him.