“There is nothing there (1 Kings 18:43).” Nothingness doesn’t matter if God has promised to send something.
Here was Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel overlooking the sea. His prayer had just brought down fire from heaven. False prophets had been killed. And he already told King Ahab that there is a sound of heavy rain (v. 41). It was after telling him so, that Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel to pray.
First of all that was a prayer of faith. Three and a half years it hadn’t rained on the land. For God had shut up the heavens in response to Elijah’s prayer (James 5:17). So there was not even a cloud.
But Elijah knew that God who had honoured his earlier prayer to shut up the heavens (1 Kings 17:1), will honour his prayer to send rain. So in faith he told Ahab that heavy rain is coming even before he actually prayed for rain.
Secondly it was an intense prayer. He bent down and put his face between his knees. And prayed. One reason why he adopted this position was surely to shut out his eyes from seeing the perfectly clear blue skies so that he won’t get discouraged.
It was an intense battle in prayer where he closed his eyes to reality and was shut in with God. Can you see a lone man bent down on top of a high mountain? Have you been to God with that kind of intensity at least once in your life?
Thirdly it was persevering prayer. Seven times Elijah asked his servant to go and look toward the sea. Six times the reply came, “There is nothing there.” But he kept on praying until the answer came in the form of a cloud as small as a man’s hand.
How many times do we fail to follow up God in prayer? Keep at it. When God promises to do something, it is not a time to relax but to press on and forward in prayer.
Again, it was boldness in prayer. From where did he get this holy boldness in prayer. He got that because of two reasons:
One, he had that great confidence and consciousness that it was God whom he served (1 Kings 17:1). That is how Elijah makes his sudden and dramatic appearance: “No rain until I say it will.” He had an audience with God before he confronted men. What about you? If you have no time with God, no point in getting excited about Elijah’s exploits at all!
The second reason was that he knew that he did everything according to God’s will, plan, and purposes (1 Kings 18:36). This gave Elijah tremendous boldness in prayer. Prayer is not about playing games; but it is about getting business done. Learn to be intensely and thoroughly professional in prayer!