Portraits of Kingdom Living – Lesson Ten
Elijah: Power Through Prayer
I. DAY ONE
A. Focus: Read all the way through Psalm 84 every morning this week and let it focus your attention on the Lord Almighty and guide your prayer of worship. Please do not skip this step. The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people! These lessons are designed to deepen your relationship with Him through the study of His word. Please don’t neglect to praise Him. Oswald Chambers says, “There’s always time for worship.”
Read 1 Kings 17:1. As we begin our second lesson of study on a life of prayer, we will look at the portrait of Elijah. Not much is known about the early life of Elijah, only that he is from Tishbe and his name means “creator God.” However, as you read what he does, it becomes obvious that he was a man of prayer long before God gave him his challenging assignment. Most people in Tishbe were shepherds, so, like David, he, too, spent many hours alone in the fields. God used this time to prepare his heart, mind and spirit for the important task ahead. During this time he learned to pray. He learned to take orders from God Almighty. He laid the foundation of his faith.
Before we begin, think about where God has you. Are you in your own Tishbe? Does it seem dull and uneventful as far as God is concerned? Do you feel like you are not accomplishing much for Him? Perhaps you aren’t ready. Perhaps God is using this time to develop your walk with Him. Maybe He’s giving you time to get to know Him and to learn how to pray and listen to His voice spoken through His word. Thank Him for where He has you, and ask Him to help you to make the most of this time. God will leave us in Tishbe until we are prepared for the next season. He will leave us there until we learn solitude with Himself.
B. Feed: Keep in mind what James said about Elijah as we get to know him. Read the first sentence of James 5:17 and write that sentence out boldly, in caps:
1. While Elijah was in the field learning of God’s heart for His people, Israel was under the reign of the most wicked king of all. Read 1 Kings 16:29-34. How is this king described?
2. Israel had broken the pledge of its covenant relationship with God. What does Deuteronomy 11:13-17 say? What promises did God give to the people of the covenant?
3. Some years earlier (before King Ahab), King Solomon built the temple and dedicated it to God. He prayed a prayer of dedication. What was included in this prayer from 1 Kings 8:35-36?
4. Now Elijah, a nobody from a Tishbe, has a message for the evil King. He goes to the king with the bad news. What does he tell him (1 Kings 17:1)?
5. Read 1 Kings 17:1-6. After he breaks the news to Ahab, where does God send Elijah and what happens?
6. Elijah is forced into seclusion. It doesn’t say for how long, verse 7 just says, “for some time.” He was now alone in Kerith. Do you think he may have had questions about God’s instructions? What do you think God is teaching him during this time?
7. Do you think Elijah felt helpless at this point? Who became his only provider in every way? How does “helplessness” in our lives drive us to God?
C. Fill: Mother Teresa said, “You can’t say Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you’ve got.” Is there an area in your life where you are feeling helpless? Do you feel like you are alone? God provided in every way for Elijah, and he will do the same for you. Elijah didn’t run away from the Ravine. He stayed there and learned dependence on God. We can make the same choice, and learn the same powerful lesson. Will you express to God your willingness to be fed and cared for by Him alone? Ask the Lord to teach you and comfort you.
Or, perhaps you are still in Tishbe, waiting for the next step. Will you take this time as an opportunity to let God prepare you for your next season?
D. Follow: Begin memorizing Psalm 63:8.
II. DAY TWO
A. Focus: Psalm 84
1. Read 1 Kings 17:7-9. The brook dried up! Do you think Elijah was surprised? He is now ready for the next step. Where is God sending him now?
2. Read 1 Kings 17:7-24. What are your first impressions of this account?
3. Read 1 Kings 17:7-13 again. Zarepath was the homeland of Jezebel. A community of Baal worshipers! Elijah was instructed to go to the home of a widow. Widows were known to be poor and needy. Would she be an obvious choice to minister to the Prophet of God? How does this reinforce the truth of 1 Samuel 16:7?
4. Who told the widow to take care of Elijah? (verse 9)
a. What does Elijah ask of the widow and what is her reply?
b. Do you think it would be easy to ask a starving person to share her last meal with you? Where was Elijah’s focus? (v. 9-10)
c. What does Elijah tell her in verses 13-14?
d. What did the widow do? (v.15)
e. How did God provide?
5. Think about the awkwardness of the situation and how it looked from a human perspective. What do you learn about God and His ways from this story so far?
6. Read verses 17-24 again. Elijah was waiting out the drought in this home of unbelievers. What happened to the widow’s son?
a. What was the widow’s first response (v.18)?
b. What did Elijah do?
c. Did Elijah question the Lord? He was honest in his prayer. Any comments?
7. Describe Elijah’s prayer.
a. After the boy’s life returned, what did Elijah do?
b. What was the widow’s response?
c. This is the first recorded resurrection in the Bible, and it happened in a non- Jewish home. Even in the Old Testament, God proved that He was the God of all who believed, not just the Jews. What does Romans 3:29 say?
C. Fill: It’s safe to assume that Elijah had been praying for this family of unbelievers. What kind of home are you in? Do you live with unbelievers, and do they question your God and your faith? Are you diligently praying for them? Ask the Lord to help you to pray in your situation, as discouraging as it may be. Don’t you think it discouraged Elijah to hear the anger in the widow’s voice after all God had provided for them? Remember Jesus is praying with you and for you as you pray. Don’t give up! Jesus is praying for YOU!
D. Follow: Record in your journal what you are learning about prayer. Keep memorizing Psalm 63:1-8.
III. DAY THREE
A. Focus: Psalm 84
1. Read 1 Kings 18:1-2. How long had Elijah been in Zarepath? Where is he going now?
2. Read 1 Kings 18:1-15. Who was Obadiah and what had he done?
a. What did Elijah ask him to do?
b. Why was he so scared?
3. Read 1 Kings 18:16-21. What does Ahab call Elijah? And what was Elijah’s response?
a. What does Elijah tell Ahab to do?
b. When all the people and the prophets were assembled on Mount Carmel, what did Elijah ask?
c. What options did he give the crowd? (v. 21) And, how did the people respond?
d. The people were sitting on the fence, weren’t they? They didn’t take a stand either way. Satan’s goal is to keep people right there. Can you think of some people who are sitting on the fence—maybe even you? Why do you think people are sitting on the fence today?
4. Elijah takes full advantage of the situation before him. Read 1 Kings 18:22-40.
a. Describe the scene of the prophets of Baal and Asherah:
b. How long did this frantic (cultic) ritual go on? What was the result?
5. Now it was time for the evening sacrifice. What did Elijah do first (v. 30-32)?
a. The altars of God had been destroyed. These altars represented Israel’s relationship with Jehovah (God). This relationship had been violated over and over again. Why do you think Elijah wanted them to come close?
b. Describe the scene as Elijah made the sacrifice:
c. What did Elijah pray for in verses 36-38?
d. What did the fire accomplish?
e. How did the people react?
6. What happened to the prophets of Baal?
C. Fill: Elijah proved the power of God but also gave the people an opportunity to rebuild their relationship (altar) with God. They had let it be violated, and they needed to repent and speak up. How’s your relationship with God? Is it in ruins? Do you need to say you are sorry? Or do you have a loved one whose relationship with God is in ruins? God can restore any who have neglected Him. Do you need to spend some time rebuilding that relationship? Does God want to use you to help someone else rebuild theirs? Pray about this and ask God to make you willing to speak for Him?
D. Follow: How do you plan to rebuild your altar? Keep memorizing Psalm 63:1-8.
IV. DAY FOUR
A. Focus: Psalm 84
B. Feed: One of the things that makes the Word of God so endearing is its honesty and the openness of man’s humanity and failure. You may be thinking that Elijah was some superhuman and you could not be as strong as he was (remember what James told us?) In 1 Kings 19 we see another angle in the portrait.
1. Read 1 Kings 18:41-46. What did Elijah tell the King?
2. Where did Elijah go and what did he do?
a. How many times did he pray before there was any hint of an answer?
b. This was after the great demonstration of God. Elijah kept praying. The work was not finished. What do you learn about perseverance from Elijah?
c. What did Elijah do next? How? (v. 45-46)
3. Read 1 Kings 19:1-2. How did Jezebel respond to the news?
4. Read 1 Kings 19:3. What did Elijah do when he heard the threat of Jezebel and where did he go?
a. Beersheba was 90 miles south of Jezreel. He dismissed his servant and went even further into hiding. After he sat (notice the difference between this posture and that of 18:42); what did he say in his prayer? Have you ever felt like that?
b. How did he end his prayer time?
c. How would you describe Elijah’s condition at this point (verse 5)?
d. What does fear do to us? How does it affect our faith?
e. How quickly can this happen?
5. Study the tenderness with which our Lord responds to Elijah’s fear and exhaustion. What did the angel of the Lord do? Did He let Elijah rest? What do you learn about God from this account?
a. When the angel came back the second time, what did He instruct Elijah to do?
b. Where did the angel of the Lord lead Elijah? How long was the journey?
Note: Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai which was the sacred place where God revealed Himself to Moses.
6. Read 1 Kings 9-19. God has allowed Elijah to rest, and now it is time for Elijah to get going again. What does the Lord tell Elijah to do (verse 11)? Why?
a. How does the Lord speak to Elijah? What does he ask him (again)?
b. What does the Lord tell Elijah to do? Does Elijah do it? Who is to become Elijah’s successor?
C. Fill: Elijah left this world in a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2:11). He learned to pray effectively, and he was just like us. Can we do the same? Are you listening to the still, small voice of the Lord? Do you do what He asks you do? Our prayer life is directly related to our daily life. If we are living in close union with our Lord, our prayers will be effective; if we are doing our own thing, our prayers will seem to bounce off the ceiling. Elijah rested. He was burned out. He was depressed, but he took steps of obedience to get better. And when God said it was time to go and serve again, he went. Have you been running from God and are now sitting under a broom tree, stuck? Listen for His voice. He will lead you to restoration. Talk to God about where you are, and ask Him to lead you on.
D. Follow: Review Psalm 63:1-8 as you pray it back to your Father.
V. DAY FIVE
Jill Briscoe says “There are two ways of looking at a problem. You can look at your problem through God, or you can look at God through your problem. If God is in front of the problem, the problem appears to be insignificant. But if God is behind the problem, then the problem dominates everything.” (Prayer That Works, Tyndale, pg. 127)
Jesus said that we build a strong foundation as we put His word into practice (Matthew 7:24). This part of the lesson is a little more abstract than days 1-4. There are no right or wrong answers. The goal of this day is to solidify in your mind and heart what you are learning from God’s word.
1. Look back over your lesson for this week. For each day’s lesson, write one or two key points:
2. What verses seem to stand out to you from your study?
3. Why did you pick these verses?
4. What is one lesson or principle you want to remember from your study?
5. How will you apply this lesson to your everyday life?
B. Summary: Elijah Portrait of Kingdom Living
- What did the Centurion’s life teach you about living with the Kingdom of God as your primary concern?
- Conclude this lesson by reviewing what you’ve written above with your Father.
- Write your memory verse(s).
About the author
I've been a Bible Study teacher for years! I LOVE God's word and am thrilled when others fall in love with it too. However, I've noticed that too many of us stop at the 'information' part of study and don't take the time for the 'transformational' power of lingering with the Living Word. I hope you will journey with me as we listen to what the Spirit in us longs to teach us as we pay attention to His Voice. May God richly bless you with deep roots in Him.View all articles by: Grace Cabalka
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