Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 17

The power of Elijah’s prayers

1 Kings 17:19-21

We know that there was extraordinary power in Elijah’s prayers (James 5:16-18). So, it interests us particularly to see this example of Elijah’s private prayers. Clearly, Elijah did not pray in a weak manner, as many people do. He saw his prayers as desperate appeals to God. In each situation, he boldly asked God to act in a powerful manner.

In prayer, Elijah confessed his own weakness, but he declared the great power of God. So, the power in Elijah’s prayers did not come from Elijah himself. Rather, that power belonged to God alone – therefore, it was on God that Elijah depended.

During prayer, some people are so aware of their own weakness that they hardly seem to care about their prayer. However, Elijah had the opposite attitude. He prayed with a real sense of purpose – as if his whole life depended on it. Here, he actually spread out his body against the body of the dead child. It was as if the life from him needed to flow into that dead body.

God did not answer Elijah’s prayer at once. Elijah did not give up. He placed his faith (trust) in God; it was clear to him what God’s plan was in that situation. Perhaps a battle needed to happen in the spirit world before God answered that prayer (Daniel 10:12-13). Twice more, Elijah stretched out his body, and again he prayed.

All of this happened in Elijah’s private room. It seems likely that this was a small room on the flat roof of the widow’s house, with an outside staircase.

Next part: The widow's joy and surprise when her son became alive again (1 Kings 17:22-24)


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