READING: 1 Kings 17-19
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Into the story of the Bible enters the prophet Elijah, who simply appears on the scene in 1 Kings 17. Included in these chapters is the dramatic battle between the prophets of Baal and the prophet of God at Mt. Carmel.
The prophets of Baal sought the power of their false god from morning until noon, and Baal’s response resounded loudly in its silence. Even the repetition of the biblical text echoes Baal’s quiet:
1 Kgs. 19:26b But there was no sound; no one answered.
1 Kgs. 19:29b . . . but there was no sound; no one answered, no one paid attention.
Catch that: no one paid attention when the prophets of Baal prayed to a false god. When Elijah called on Yahweh, though, His response was so powerful that even the pagans affirmed His might:
1 Kgs. 19:38-39 Then Yahweh’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell face down and said, “Yahweh, He is God! Yahweh, He is God!”
Perhaps we know this story so well that we miss its power. The God of the Bible hears the prayers of His people, responds to them, and displays His power through prayer so others might know His name. In that light, how can we not pray?
PRAYER: Let’s turn from any false gods on which we depend (e.g., our own ability, our experience), and ask God to make Himself known through our prayers. Pray then for all the people in the world who today will pray uselessly to a false god.
TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Kings 20-21