“Then Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go and enjoy a good meal! For I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!’ So Ahab prepared a feast. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and fell to the ground and prayed.” – 1 Kings 18:41-42 (NLT)
We’ve all been there. The place of dryness. Maybe it’s a relationship or a job. Maybe it’s a bank account. The place where you feel you haven’t had a “good soaking” of resources or breakthrough in a long time. Whenever I find myself in a place like this, I look to the story found in 1 Kings 18. The Lord has withheld the rain at the declaration of Elijah, and he is about to send it again for the first time in three years. It reminds me of a few things when I’m looking for God to rain down on my place of dryness.
The breakthrough started because “the Lord said to Elijah.” In the previous chapter, Elijah prophesies to King Ahab that a severe drought is coming on the land and will not lift until Elijah gives the word. For three years there is no rain. But 1 Kings 18:1 says, the LORD said to Elijah, “Go and present yourself to King Ahab. Tell him that I will soon send rain!” When God is ready to do something – when he’s ready to send the breakthrough or the resource – he’ll speak it first. What that tells me is I first need to hear the Lord about my breakthrough.
When I get nervous about resources drying up my first reaction is to throw up a quick, yet desperate, prayer and then go back to looking at the circumstances to see if something has changed. But Elijah was a prophet. He spent all of his time waiting on the Lord and waiting to hear what he would say. He became accustomed to receiving the breakthrough first through God's Word. He learned a key to breakthrough – it always starts with a Word from God. Once the Word is released, the miracle can happen. Once we hear the Word, our faith can engage and our minds can come in line with the mind of Christ about a situation. New strategies and perspectives come into view. We begin to believe something different can happen. We place our trust in the God who spoke and we wait expectantly to see the rain. But it all starts with hearing a Word from him. And that requires a lifestyle of waiting on the Lord and listening for what he has to say. Our breakthrough depends on our ability to hear God.
The breakthrough kept coming because Elijah spoke. Elijah told the king, “I hear a mighty rainstorm coming.” Words are powerful and creative, especially when we speak in line with what God is saying. If words didn’t have this kind of power, God would have never anointed and appointed people to be prophets. God called people to declare his Word because of a simple Kingdom principle – words create. What we speak affects the atmosphere and our circumstances. Miracles may begin with the Lord speaking, but they continue when we declare them and direct them to manifest into our reality. Jesus said what he heard the Father saying. There was power in this principle for Jesus, and there is power in it for us.
Elijah told the king to go prepare for the new reality; Elijah went and prayed for it. Every leader should consider this one right here. Elijah knew the rain was coming because God said it was. He believed God. So he instructed those around him to begin living in the new reality that was about to come upon them. He told the king to go and celebrate the coming rain with a great meal! But Elijah climbed up a mountain and prayed. Both actions are tremendously powerful. Living and praising God in accordance with a new reality God is bringing forth is an act of faith and a demonstration of trust. There’s something about living in this manner that attracts breakthrough. God is intrigued and comes near when he sees this sort of faith.
But Elijah knew the way to make the promise of rain into a reality was to press into the Lord in prayer. Did you know we co-labor with God to bring forth a miracle? God wants us to be involved. He created us to be involved in what he is doing on the earth. Praying through the miracle is an intimate way of becoming involved in what God is doing. At the precipice of breakthrough, prayer keeps us focused and in faith. Prayer opens our spiritual eyes to “see” the miracle before we can actually see it. And we have to see it in our spirit before we’ll be able to apprehend it in our reality.
Elijah did not relent until he saw a sure sign of breakthrough. Elijah prayed seven times before even a small cloud rose up from the sea. But once he saw that sign in the natural, he knew the rain was upon them! I like to imagine the sense of completeness and satisfaction in God that Elijah must’ve felt when those first drops fell. When we have the opportunity to “do it right” with God and to see the rain begin to fall, there truly aren’t words to describe the feeling. I’ve come to love that feeling even more than the actual breakthrough itself. Don’t get me wrong, I love when the rain finally comes. But walking with God in expectation of its coming makes it so much better.