|Theme: Prayer Brings Revival
|Focus on: Elijah
|Reading Portion(s): 1 Kings 16:29 to 18:46.|
|– Important Background Information|
|– Helps you find strength in God|
|What this article teaches you|
|When worship is neglected the altar of our heart will be broken down. Then modern-day idols will occupy its place in our hearts instead of God. The first step to experiencing revival in our lives is to rebuild the broken altar. That means putting God first once again in our lives. Then there should be an earnest desire to see God honored in our lives.
It is only then that the fire from God shall descend into our lives purifying us through its cleansing flames. It will help us to purge away all evil that has crept into our lives through the years that we neglected the altar of worship. Then we will be ready to experience the showers of blessing that God will send. As soon as you see God purging away evil from your lives pray with great intensity for His blessing rain. Do not give up even when you see no sign of it. Keep on praying and the showers shall descend in a mighty revival downpour.
King Ahab of Israel was a very wicked king. He did great evil in God’s sight. And God sent Prophet Elijah to King Ahab with the message that there will not be either dew or rain in the land for the next few years till the prophet would speak that rain would fall.
So there was a severe famine in the land. After three years God asked Prophet Elijah to present himself to Ahab. God promised that then He will send rain on the land. When Elijah and Ahab met, Ahab told Elijah that he was the one who had brought all this trouble on Israel. But Elijah told the king that it was not he but Ahab and his family who had brought trouble on the land by abandoning the Lord’s commands and following idols.
Now Elijah used this opportunity to bring a decisive turnabout in Israel. He wanted the people to know that the Lord is God. So he asked the king to bring all the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah to Mount Carmel.
At Mount Carmel, Elijah first of all challenged the people to take a decision. He wanted the people to stop wavering between two opinions. He made it clear to the people that they should either follow God or Baal. It meant that there is no possibility of following idol worship and God at the same time!
What followed was an intense drama. Two bulls were prepared. One for the prophets of Baal and one for Elijah. Elijah then placed this condition that the prophets call on their god and he will call on his God. The god that shall answer by fire will be accepted as the true God!
From morn till noon, and from noon till evening the prophets of Baal called on their god amidst taunts from Elijah. And nothing happened.
At the time of the evening sacrifice Elijah called the people to come near him. He repaired the altar of God that lay in ruins. He dug a trench around it, arranged wood on it and cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. He asked for water to be poured out on the sacrifice till it filled the trench thus making it impossible for a fire to be started by human means.
This is true preparation for revival. The first step is to repair the altar of our hearts. It might be in ruins right now. The reasons for this may not be difficult to find. The altar lies in ruins because you had worshipped other gods. Do not be surprised. The worship of money, beauty, power, knowledge, personalities, technology, etc., are nothing other than idol worship. It is only because these idols had occupied the throne of your heart that you allowed the altar for worship to be neglected. This neglect had put it in a state of ruins.
Once you repair the altar of your hearts in preparation of revival you need not try to bring in a revival out of human energy. It is impossible. Trying to bring revival by human methods is foolishness and a waste of time. This is what the pouring of water on the altar signifies. It rules out the possibility of revival on your own enthusiasm; for revival does not happen by human effort. Only a divine fire can now ignite the fires of revival.
At the time of sacrifice Elijah stepped forward. He prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. He wanted everyone to know that God is God in Israel and that all this was done at His command. He also wanted God to answer him so that the people will know that God was turning their hearts back again.
Here is yet another secret of revival. Nowadays there are many people claiming to be prophets of the Lord proclaiming and declaring revival in all their meetings. Their proclamation is but for gathering more people into their fold. But look at Elijah! He had no hidden agenda attached to his prayer. He wanted the people to know that the Lord is God in Israel. He wanted the people to know through this fire from heaven that God was turning their hearts back again to Himself. Oh, such prayer for God’s manifestation of Himself is the one that brings revival!
Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up everything including the soil and the water in the trench. It was a mighty demonstration of God’s power. And the people fell prostrate crying out that the Lord is God!
And all the prophets of Baal were killed and the evil purged from among them. Then Elijah told King Ahab to go his way to eat and drink saying that there is the sound of heavy rain. And as Ahab went his way, Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bent down to the ground. He put his face between his knees and prayed with great intensity seven times. This was because his servant brought him the report each time that no cloud was to be seen. And at last the rain fell.
When revival is on its way; when the first signs have taken place, it energizes you to pray more. It pumps divine energy into your praying. Then no obstacle; no discouraging report will stop you from praying. It will keep on looking out with hope for the blessed downpour of blessing accompanying revival. Though it seems to be just as small as man’s hand the cloud shall burst into heavy showers.
Let the altar of your life be repaired. Let the sacrifice be laid on the altar. Let the fire fall. Let the evil be purged from your life. Let there be intense prayer. And then the famine in your life will be ended and the rain of blessing shall come. When the conditions of God are met; even when it seems most unlikely, a heavy rain shall descend.
It goes without saying that fire and rain characterize true revival. The fire is needed to reclaim your heart for God. When the fire falls you also will fall down in worship crying out that the Lord is God. Then all your indecision and all your wavering between two opinions shall end. The fire shall cause you to purge evil away from your life. It then becomes the time for praying in hope for the blessing of revival. In spite of all discouragement the rain will descend in a heavy downpour. Oh, this is revival!