Discovering the Heart of Prayer
Not too long ago I was going through Priscilla Shirer’s Elijah Study, and I was truly challenged regarding prayer. And as I looked around at all the books on my nightstand, I noticed that a lot of the books there were on prayer. So, I took the time to sit in this particular chapter.
In the Chapter on Simple Prayer, Elijah has stepped away from his people and has prepared the altar. Then in 1 Kings 18:36-37, he says this:
“Oh LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, Oh LORD, answer me, that these people may know that You, O LORD, are God and that You have turned their hearts back again.”
Such a simple prayer but speaks so deeply to the heart of prayer.
Elijah didn’t say, “Hey God, I’ve put everything on the line here. Ahab is just over there and could kill me with a nod. You have to show up here. Please show yourself to me.
Priscilla broke Elijah’s prayer down into three results.
God would be glorified.
My relationship with will be affirmed.
The people’s Hearts will be turned back to you (1)
These qualities of Elijah’s prayer hit me in the heart. At the moment he is on display before all of his people and his enemies, at his most vulnerable, his heart is turned toward glorifying God and bringing the people back into a right relationship with him. Even the second point of affirming his relationship with God as a prophet is aimed at giving glory to God and establishing His heart for His people.
Man, my heart is convicted.
How often are my goals in prayer more like this:
Fix this God, because it is hard.
Show me how to do something.
Bless this food
Not to say that there is anything wrong with these types of prayers, but there is a difference in the heart between my prayers and Elijah’s. Truthfully my goals are way too focused on me. My comfort and my needs, well want if we’re going to be truthful.
Granted Elijah went through some serious hard to get to a place of praying the prayer of 1 Kings 18. But my question for you here is what is your perspective toward prayer?
Is God a Genie, to answer all your prayers with a wiggle of his nose?
Do you see God as an Absent-minded Professor, who may or may not hear your words and questions?
Do you apply the flaws of an earthly father to the Father God that has no flaws?
Or do you approach the Lord in prayer, as Daniel 9:4 says, ‘the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love?’
I hope you are encouraged and challenged as much as I was in this single verse in the Old Testament.
My prayer is that your heart will be attuned to the Lord so that he may reveal himself fully to you so his glory can be seen in you.
Prayer Book List
Power of a Praying Wife
Power of a Praying Parent
Praying Scripture for your Teens
To Light their Way- Craig
– Priscilla Shirer- Elijah: Faith and Fire Bible Study (Lifeway Press 2021) pg 166