The Rain Man [Part 1]
By Alan Wright — January 09, 2019
Are you ready for some good news?
You can hear the rain before it arrives; you can pray in faith before you see the miracle come to pass.
Today’s Text: “And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.’ So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.” (1 Kings 18:41–42, ESV)
Three and half years of searing drought had struck the land upon Elijah’s command. In the great Chinese famine of 1958-1961 between 15 and 43 million people died. An Indian famine at the turn of the nineteenth century killed 19 million. In more recent memory, the Ethiopian famine of 1984-1985 cost about a million lives.
In the days of Elijah, the drought dried up riverbeds. Livestock became emaciated as they foraged for scraps of wilted vegetation. Wildfires rampaged through the brittle land. Every day, for over three years, it was the topic of all conversation – when will it rain? The predominant local deity, Baal, could do nothing though he was the god of rain and storms. Everything withered without hope until Elijah spoke.
“There is the sound of the rushing of rain.”
Though there was not a cloud in sight or a sprinkle in the atmosphere, Elijah heard something. He heard it not with natural ears. Elijah heard the rain in the spirit. In other words, in faith he received a revelation that, in turn, instructed his prayer life.
Faith is not wishful thinking. Prayer is not pie in the sky fanciful longings. Powerful intercession does not come by psychologically convincing yourself that something will happen. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of the Lord (Romans 10:17).
Once Elijah “heard” the sound of the rushing of rain (though there was no rain in sight), he began earnestly praying in a unique physical posture. “He bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.” Scholars have noted that this was often the posture Hebrew women of antiquity assumed in childbirth.
Elijah was “laboring” in prayer the way a woman travails in childbirth. As a woman’s labor proves that the unseen baby is about to manifest, Elijah’s travail in prayer wasn’t agonizing work accompanied by wishful thinking; his prayer was passionate expression of certainty that the rain was coming soon.
God gives you His word and then calls you to pray that word. Listen, there is the sound of the rushing of rain. Pray it. It will be here soon. And that’s the Gospel!