Hi Friends, This week I am busy preparing to attend The Declare Conference next week in Dallas! The Declare conference equips Christian communicators and if you would like to learn more about Declare be sure to check out my post on Going to Declare Conference 2017 and then look for a follow-up post after the conference.

As you know, I am a huge proponent of supporting other Christian Communicators, whether they be authors, bloggers or speakers.  I especially love sharing new authors and their books with you!

This past weekend I shared Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy! Sarah Philpott’s book is a wellspring of hope for grieving moms, and I am blessed to be giving away two copies of this amazing gem Loved Baby in the month of October.

Today I have an extra special treat for you! I am honored to have my friend Susan Macias join me on the blog to guest post. Susan shares her thoughts about praying in faith when the answer is impossible with us. Susan launches her first book this week, Unceasing: A Parent’s Guide to Conquer Worry and Pray With Power and can be found on Amazon.com. Please welcome Susan Macias to By His Grace and be sure to check out her new book!

Prayer in the morning in a beautiful sunrise

Praying In Faith When The Answer Is Impossible

by Susan Macias

Do I have faith? Do I believe? Because if I do, it’s going to show up in my actions.

My despair that situations will never improve and conflicts won’t ever resolve means I have more faith in what WON’T happen, than in what God can do.

I am not believing in faith if I pray while telling Him I don’t really expect an answer, or make excuses for how God can’t answer THIS prayer. God doesn’t need me to provide Him an out.

How do I pray in faith when the answer looks impossible?

My hope is in the Lord. Let’s look at an example.

Elijah and the Rain

Elijah was always in trouble. The King and Queen of Israel were Ahab and Jezebel, and if you know anything of Biblical history, you know there were not two worse leaders. If you want to be hated, try being a prophet to evil leaders who would really prefer you to be dead.

As a prophet, Elijah felt lonely and assailed from all sides.

Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. (1 Kings 18:22)

Now we know Elijah wasn’t the ONLY one left. He had just been talking to Obadiah, who was also a faithful prophet. But when you are hounded from all sides it FEELS as if you are alone. Does it ever seem like it is you against the world? Don’t worry- you are in good company.  Standing for the Lord in a world that hates Him is lonely. But we are never ALONE. The fear of being the only one is a lie (not sure why it makes me feel better that Elijah also believed that lie, but it does).

At the point we enter this story of Elijah, Israel was under severe drought- and by severe I mean people-and-livestock-dying kind of drought. So even though Ahab hated Elijah, he needed him to pray for rain.

To the face of his enemy, Elijah boldly proclaimed to King Ahad, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” (1Kg 18:41, ESV) Were there dark clouds on the horizon? Could he smell the hint of rain coming? Was there wind increasing or clouds scuttling across the sky?

Nope. It was dry. The sun beat down and lack of humidity parched their tongues.

BUT. But God.

The same Lord Who would someday calm the storm (Matthew 8:23-27) could also create rain during drought.  He is the God “Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.”  (Psalm 147:8, ESV)

Elijah heard the sound of rushing rain in his ears of faith. The answer to his prayer was so assured he could hear it.

Leaving King Ahab in the valley, Elijah climbed Mount Carmel with his servant where they could view the distant horizon. Then he humbled himself and PRAYED.

And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. (I Kings 18:42b, ESV)

Silhouette of woman praying to god

Being honest here, I seldom bow down and place my face between my knees when I pray. And by seldom, I mean never. But think of the beautiful picture of complete submission. That posture declares, “God, You are in charge. You, Who are powerful enough to create rain where none exists, deserve my utter obedience.”

After he prayed he sent his servant to look to the horizon for rain. But the servant returned and said, “There is nothing.” (I Kings 18:43b, ESV). So Elijah prayed again and sent his servant AGAIN. Seven times this cycle repeats itself.

How much faith is required to PUBLICLY pray for the impossible? How humbling is it to repeatedly send an observer to look for answers to the prayer? How hard is it to do again after the previous six prayers have not visibly been answered?

There is no duck and cover here. No secret asking, without taking the risk of others knowing what he was praying for.

Elijah kept praying and kept publicly looking for the answer.

Women Bow And Pray

Finally after seven times (a number which signifies completion in the Hebrew) the servant returned with the report, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”  (v. 44b)

Alrighty then.

Honestly, I think I would find a bit of hope in the cloud. One cloud could encourage me to keep praying, but I really don’t think I would see it as evidence of a complete answer. And I doubt that one, fist-sized cloud on the distant horizon would provide me enough faith to predict a flood.

Elijah, however, saw that puny cloud with eyes of faith. One cloud caused him to send a message to Ahab to get himself on home, because if the king didn’t hurry, his chariot was going to get stuck in the mud.

And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’”And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. (I Kings 18:44-45, ESV)

All through seven years of drought, during which many prayers must have ascended to heaven, God had waited to respond until this moment, when He dramatically answered Elijah’s prayer. This account displays a vibrant example to us of the value and efficacy of persistent prayer.

rain hand

Here are my take-aways

Elijah’s bold persistence in the face of impossible odds inspires my prayer life. Here are some simple (yet difficult) lessons I need to apply:

  • Humbly bow before God, whether physically or attitudinally. He is in charge and my will is subservient to His.
  • Pray publicly for impossible things. Don’t be afraid to let people know.
  • Keep looking for the answer. Be on the look out. Be expecting. Ask others if they see it yet.
  • Have faith to interpret the smallest sign as the beginning of God’s response.

Even if the answer to my prayer looks impossible, or at the least unlikely, I need to pray anyway. I continue faithfully in prayer, asking for a solution, whether it takes seven years or seventy years.

And if, like Elijah, I am bold enough to publicly announce the request, then when it is answered, I should loudly proclaim the power of the Lord.  The main focus of all I do should be about showing WHO the Lord is.

At least that is what Elijah thought: Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” (I Kings 18:37)

profile pic

Susan Macias writes, speaks, and teaches to build strength and courage in women to faithfully follow Jesus, serve their families, and build the Kingdom. Her work has been published in national and regional magazines, and she writes weekly on her blog, susankmacias.com. Married to her college sweetheart Nathan for 33 years, she has homeschooled their seven children since 1993. Her book Unceasing: A Parent’s Guide to Conquer Worry and Pray With Power can be found on Amazon.com.

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Moments of Hope

Posted by Misty Phillip

By His Grace: Seek Jesus, Study the Word, Grow in Grace Bible Study Author, Christian Lifestyle Blogger, & Speaker www.MistyPhillip.com

11 Comments

  1. Great lesson for all of us. Thought provoking and always relevant.

    Reply

    1. Misty Phillip 09/27/2017 at 3:10 pm

      Hi! MJ, Thanks for your constant encouragement hope all your writing projects are going well! Blessings ❤️ Misty

      Reply

  2. Lord may I, too, see your puny clouds in my life through eyes of profound faith! Beautiful and encouraging words! Blessings!

    Reply

    1. Misty Phillip 09/27/2017 at 3:18 pm

      Hi! Liz, Our God is so much bigger than our problems even when it seems like our prayers requests are are impossibilities. My husband always reminds me that God spoke the universe into existence and that NOTHING is too difficult for HIM! Be blessed today! ❤️ Misty

      Reply

  3. So rich and beautiful, this post lit my faith fire!
    Honestly I have a request burning in my heart for God to answer but each time I prayed I have focused more on the impossibility more than the possibility. Your post encourages me to see the fist cloud in the skies.
    Thank you.

    Reply

    1. Misty Phillip 09/27/2017 at 3:20 pm

      Hi! Lureta, I am so glad! It is a great reminder!!! Be blessed today friend! ❤️ Misty

      Reply

  4. welcomeheart 09/28/2017 at 10:36 am

    love that he heard the sound of rushing water in his ears of faith – I need to unclog my ears this morning to hear that rain! thanks, you two! (from the drought-ridden Calif coast)

    Reply

  5. I think the posture of prayer is important. We are holistic beings, body, soul, spirit, an thus, don’t worship God with only our lips, we also worship with our whole being. We may sway with the music, close our eyes, or lift our hands, in the same way, kneeling and bowing embraces a posture of submission with our body as we yield to God in prayer. Elijah, this might man of God, who knew the Lord intimately didn’t use his familiarity to become casual, but prostrated himself as he sought the Lord. A fabulous example for us to mimic. thanks for your post!

    Reply

    1. Misty Phillip 09/28/2017 at 11:23 am

      Hi Karen, Thanks so much for adding to the conversation today. May we all seek to embrace a posture of submission with the Lord more often. ❤️ Misty

      Reply

  6. I can feel the energy in this post. — Love the phrase “Be expecting.” — Great thoughts, thank you for sharing, Susan and Misty. And, nice to meet you, Susan; I don’t believe our paths have crossed before. ((Hug)) — P.S. — Misty hope you have a great time at the conference!

    Reply

    1. Misty Phillip 09/28/2017 at 3:16 pm

      Hi! Brenda, Susan and I have known each other for years through homeschool speech and debate. Now that our homeschooling journeys are coming to an end, God is calling us in a similar direction with writing, blogging and speaking! So, fun to introduce you to Susan. ❤️ Misty

      Reply

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