Courageous Prayer

Sermon from CCM:Kingsway

LISTEN

This sermon was preached by Tim Simmonds at the CCM Kingsway site of Christ Church Manchester on Sunday 21st October 2018.

SERIES

 

This message was part of the ‘SERIES NAME’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Burnage in EARLY/MID/LATE YEAR. The full series included the following sermons:

BIBLE VERSES

This sermon was based on 1 Kings 18:1-40

Elijah Confronts Ahab

1After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” 2So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. 3And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly, 4and when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.) 5And Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the valleys. Perhaps we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals.” 6So they divided the land between them to pass through it. Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself.
7And as Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him. And Obadiah recognized him and fell on his face and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” 8And he answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here.'” 9And he said, “How have I sinned, that you would give your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? 10As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent to seek you. And when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would take an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. 11And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here.”‘ 12And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where. And so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth. 13Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred men of the Lord‘s prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water? 14And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here”‘; and he will kill me.” 15And Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” 16So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him. And Ahab went to meet Elijah.

 

17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. 19Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

The Prophets of Baal Defeated

20So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

 

30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. 31Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 32and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. 33And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.

36And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” 40And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

KEY POINTS

Prayer Takes Courage

  • The society around Elijah had forgotten God. To call on God in this context takes courage.
  • Much like today the society followed what was easy and what was in front of them.
  • Elijah had not forgotten God – he calls the people to make a choice and to then to follow what they actually believed to be true.

Courageous Prayer

  • Courageous prayer can be lonely. Elijah was out on his own and faith can feel that way.
  • Courageous prayer can look irrelevant. Ahab, Jezebel and the prophets of Baal are big and what Elijah has to offer looks small in comparison.
  • Courageous prayer often comes from the underdog. Throughout the bible we see stories of people crying out to God for the big breakthroughs when they are the ones who seem to have no chance at success.
  • Courageous prayer points out the emptiness of false gods. No matter what the prophets of Baal did their god did not hear or respond. In comparison Elijah just simply asked God to show his power and he responded.

What Happens When Elijah Prays?

  • Elijah asks for God to move.
  • He didn’t pray against anything, didn’t do battle or tear anything down.
  • He prayed that people would Know God and relationship would be restored.
  • Peoples hearts are turned back to the living God – the very core of their being turned to God.
  • What happens? God moves – fire falls.

MORE SERMONS

 

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