And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
God never moves without partnering with people. Yep, that’s what I said.
The enemy would have us believe that God will just do what He wants to do anyway so you and I don’t have to pay attention. We can just do what we want.
But that isn’t what scripture demonstrates. I challenge you to find an occurrence in God’s Word where He intervened to bring deliverance without involving people—either by acts of faith or through prayer.
Even the birth of Jesus involved human cooperation. A betrothed virgin heard the word of the Lord proclaimed through the angel Gabriel and became an earthly conduit of God’s power as her heart came into agreement with God.
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
God doesn’t move without involving people. He can, but He chooses not to. Instead, He waits for willing vessels who will cooperate with Him to release His power.
A few weeks ago, we discovered why that is. God gave dominion of the earth to man, and He never goes back on His Word.
What does that mean for you and me, dear one?
We will see God move as we listen at His gates, discern what He is speaking, and agree with Him through prayer and obedient faith. When we do that, we become gatekeepers (John 10:3), releasing the will and power of God to intervene on this earth.
That’s the authority God gave to man before the fall, and that Christ bought back for the church through the cross. You and I are supposed to partner with God to release His will and hold back the work of the enemy.
In the fifth chapter of James, God challenges us to pray. Verse 16 declares,
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Immediately after making that declaration, scripture draws our attention to Elijah.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. James 5:17-18
The prophet Elijah was a gatekeeper who drew near to God and allowed God to work powerfully through him. Let’s take a look at the passage James refers to.
In 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah made a surprising claim to Ahab, King of Israel.
“As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
Pretty bold, don’t you think? Elijah stands before Israel’s king and predicts a drought. What would finally bring the rain? Elijah’s word, the word of a man.
Now you and I both know Elijah alone didn’t have the power to stop and start the rain. What he did have, however, was a relationship with a God who speaks. Elijah simply listened and agreed with what God said. What Elijah spoke to Ahab originated in the revealed will of God.
Let’s see how God finally brought the rain.
After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” 1 Kings 18:1
Three years into the drought, God spoke to Elijah. Essentially He said, “You do this, and I will do this.”
Elijah had to come out of hiding and confront Ahab. When he did, God promised to send the rain.
Elijah trusted God and did as he was told. He confronted Ahab with his idolatry, putting the prophets of Baal to a test against the God of Israel. As Elijah called upon God to come and consume his drenched sacrifice, he said,
“… let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word.” 1 Kings 18:36
Elijah’s obedience unleashed the power of God, bringing fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Afterward, Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain” (1 Kings 18:41).
Three years without rain, and finally Elijah tells Ahab it’s time to celebrate because rain is on its way.
Well, that’s what God said, isn’t it? Elijah had done his part. Now he can just sit back and watch God move, right? But that isn’t what he does. Let’s read verse 42.
So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. 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.
Immediately upon leaving Ahab, Elijah climbs to a mountaintop and begins to pray. And he continues to pray, until his eyes see that what God had already told him would happen had come to pass.
Why the need for prayer, dear one? Because God gave us authority on earth and has chosen to work through people.
It makes perfect sense, really. God always moves through the relationship He designed us for. In order to work through us, He needs us close.
God revealed to Elijah what He desired to do. It was then up to Elijah to open the gate and release it on this earth through prayer.
I wonder, dear one. What does God desire to do through you?