“Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that you are the Lord God and that you have turned their hearts back to you again” (I Kings 18:37).
Our hearts get fiery when we meditate the prayers of the saints in the Bible. The Spirit of prayer is burning like a fire. How firmly and faithfully they have prayed to God and received His answers during the times of distress and struggle! Elijah is a chariot of fire; a powerful chariot of fire, showing great zeal for God.
He was a common man with sufferings similar to us, but look at his achievements through prayer and his challenges filled ministry. As far as I am concerned, I consider this prayer of Elijah to be most powerful though there are numerous prayers in the Scripture. The reason is that it would have taken less than a minute for him to make it. At once the fire of the Lord fell from the sky. That prayer made everyone in Samaria to withdraw from the worship of Baal and declare that ‘God is the Lord’.
Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel all alone and there was none to support him. But the prophets of Baal and King Ahab were seated in front, to oppose. It is absolutely sure that he would have been killed by King Ahab and his wife Jezebel if his prayer had not been listened to. He would have become the icon of shame in Israel.
He did not pray like this with fear: “Lord, do not let me down. Do not allow me to bow down in shame. Save me in the midst of the gentiles.” He did not shout like a coward. He did not initiate to appeal to safeguard his honour, respect, name and fame. In what Elijah prayed, the first thing was “Let it be known this day that you are the Lord God.” The second thing was “They should understand that it is you who has turned their hearts back.” Thirdly “They should again enter into the first love. All of them should bend their knees in your Name. They should declare that you are God.”
What are the ways and means Elijah followed before the fire descended on Mount Carmel? Firstly, he guided the men of God towards the Lord and reconciled (I Kings 18:30). Secondly, he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down (I Kings 18:30). Thirdly, after carrying out the repairs, he named the altar as ‘Israel’ (I Kings 18:31). Fourthly, he chose a suitable bull for sacrifice, cut it in pieces, and laid it on the wood. Further, he made a faithful prayer and that was a meaningful one (I Kings 18:36, 37, 38). Then the fire fell from the sky.
To meditate: “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dust and it licked up the water that was in the trench” (I Kings 18:38).