Seven

What if the answer to your prayer was going to come the seventh time you asked God, but you gave up on the sixth?

I’ve been reading about Elijah lately.  I’m not sure how I wound up in 1 Kings, but I’ve been amazed at his story.  Or maybe I should say his stories.  Over and over, he was in really bad situations.  And over and over God did some really incredible things.

But the story I kept coming back to this week was the one about his prayer for rain.  God had told him that there wouldn’t be any rain for 3 years. The land would be in a severe drought.  So when that time was up, one would think that the skies would simply open up and God would make it pour.  But it wasn’t that simple.

Elijah knew it was going to rain, and even put his faith in the matter into words.  He said to Ahab, “The rain is on its way.  I can hear it!”.   So Elijah goes up on a mountain and starts to pray for the rain that has been promised.  He tells his servant to go look for the clouds that should be coming in from the sea.

Nothing.

No rain. No clouds.  Nothing.  But didn’t God promise the rain?  Aren’t the three years up?  Elijah goes through this routine six times.  Six!  The servant probably got tired of looking.  But fortunately, Elijah didn’t get tired of praying.  On the seventh attempt, the servant sees a tiny little cloud the size of a man’s hand.  And then the sky got black and it started to pour.

Just like God promised.

Sometimes God promises things to us that in His wisdom He delays in providing.  Sometimes God wants us to put our faith into words, and then put our faith to work.  Sometimes it takes seven times of praying the same thing.  Sometimes it takes more than that.  But it doesn’t change the promise.

I’m going to keep praying.  Because it just may be that the next time I do, God is going to open up the skies and there will not only be the sound of rain, but it’s going to pour all over me.

Just like God promised.

(The story of Elijah and the rain is in 1 Kings 18:41-46)

Men ought always to pray and not to lose heart.  Luke 18:1

“I won’t let you go until You bless me.”  Genesis 32:26

Shall not God avenge His own elect, who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  Luke 18:7

For you have need of patience, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.  Hebrews 10:36-37

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