No where in the context of the writing about Elijah are we told of Elijah’s praying, however, the New Testament does tell us of Elijah’s prayers,
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” James 5:16b-18 (KJV)
So we know that Elijah had power with God, and he received that power because of his commitment to God and earnest prayer.
As we were looking at Elijah ministering to the widow of Zarephath I neglected to mention that this widow was a Gentile. As Jesus mentions in Luke (4:25-26) there were widows of Israel who could have used some help, but God sent Elijah to Zarephath instead, due to the hearts of the people of Israel being in rejection of God and His Word.
Now as Elijah is praying “the word of the LORD came” to him…
“And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, ‘Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.'” 1 Kings 18:1
This third year could possibly be the third year since he came to stay with the widow and her son. God is ready now to call Israel to repentance, and to return to Him; and He will use Elijah to call the prophets of Baal to a challenge of fire. We will not get into that just yet.
We notice in the verses to come that there was a servant of Ahab’s who was a God fearer, and had protected some of the other prophets of God;
“And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” 18:3-4
Ahab had called on Obadiah to search with him for water in fountains, brooks, and grass for caring for the king’s animals. It seems quite pointed to see a king searching for food for his animals while maybe a unconcerned about the needs of the people.
We need to learn from Elijah the necessity of prayer. However, without faith in God, much prayer avails nothing. The power of prayer is not praying. The power of prayer is GOD. And Elijah loved the LORD, and believed Him and trusted Him unto life.
-Tim A. Blankenship