Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 18

A battle in the spirit world

1 Kings 18:43

Prayer is a kind of battle in the spirit world (Ephesians 6:10-20). For that reason, it is often not easy to pray. Sometimes we must wait for God to work powerfully on our behalf in the spirit world (Daniel 10:12-14). So, we must pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).

For three years, God had not permitted the rain to fall. So, we might consider it an easy matter to ask God to send rain again. However, Elijah was a very holy man – and the Bible emphasises the extreme difficulty of this prayer. Six times, Elijah gave his complete attention to God in prayer. Each time, he sent his servant to see whether clouds had formed over the sea. However, on each of these six occasions, nothing had happened. God had clearly told Elijah that he would send rain (18:1) – but nothing was happening.

Clearly, there was some kind of trouble in the spirit world that was preventing the rain. As an extremely holy man, Elijah understood it properly and so he continued to pray, even for the seventh time. We, however, can only discuss what that trouble might have been. Perhaps it was an evil force, such as the power of the wicked queen Jezebel (19:2). If so, Elijah had to pray for God to act against her power (compare Revelation 2:20-23). However, perhaps it was an effect of God’s judgments against the nation’s evil deeds (Deuteronomy 28:15-24). If so, those judgments were not yet complete. So, God might guide Elijah to pray for his (God’s) kindness, even while those judgments were happening (Habakkuk 3:2). If God delayed his judgments, more people would have the opportunity to turn back to him (2 Peter 3:9).

Next part: A cloud as small as a man's hand (1 Kings 18:44)


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