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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Praying like Elijah.

In his book, Miracles in Black, Dr John Wengatz tells of an African convert to Jesus who was left at a new mission station to carry on the Lord's work - among a tribe that still practised cannibalism!

It was the dry season when Joao Mbaxi took over but, soon, the tropical rains would be coming. However, month after month went by without as much as a cloud appearing in the sky. Then came the return of the normal dry period. By this time, everyone was suffering from the shortage of water, and many were on the brink of starvation. In all the years that the tribe had worshipped their ancient gods, the rains had never failed; so Joao was told that he must leave the country - and take "the white man's God" with him!

The courageous disciple refused to go. Then, flushed with anger, the tribal chief warned him: "If your God is as good as you say, and so powerful that He rules the sky, why doesn't He send us the needed showers? If it doesn't rain by sunrise tomorrow, we will drink your blood and eat your flesh!"

Recalling the Biblical account of Elijah (see I Kings 17 and 18; James 5:17-18), Joao went to his hut and prayed for divine help with the same kind of urgency as that of the prophet. Meanwhile, members of the tribe waited for the dawn, when this disciple of Jesus would become the victim of their nauseating practice.

Just before daylight, thunder was heard in the distance, lightning flashed across the sky, and an abundant downpour of rain refreshed the entire region! As a result, Joao was able to continue his work, and witness, for Jesus.

Elijah's God still lives! Let us, therefore, face our moments of crisis with faith instead of fear. Those who pray like the prophet of old will find the Lord pouring out His blessings with the same plenteous supply. Of course, that does not mean that we always receive what we ask for! Almighty God always answers our prayers - but not always in the manner that we want, or expect. However, as we walk more closely to Him, we will be more and more in tune with His will and purpose - and will experience more positive answers to our prayers.

James writes that "Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves ... and he prayed fervently ..."(5:17). Perhaps part of our problem is that we don't pray with that same urgency with which Elijah, and Joao Mbaxi, prayed!

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