“‘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.’ Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The LORD, He is God. The LORD, He is God.'”
(1 Kings 18:37–39)
Oh, these verses come at the end of one of the most awesome pictures we see in the Old Testament. Elijah, before the prophets of Baal, calling out for God to bring down fire from heaven to show that He, not the Canaanite rain god, Baal, that God alone, the Lord, is worthy of worship. And it all culminates in this prayer, at the end of the chapter, that Elijah offers before God. “Answer me, answer me so that this people may know. Show Your power. Send Your fire so this people may know that You, oh Lord, are God.” And God answers. The fire of the Lord falls, consumes up this offering and all this water that was around the trench, and causes all the people to bow on their faces and cry out, “The Lord, He is God. The Lord, He is God.”
We pray in faith that God will call His people according to His purpose. Let’s pray that by God’s grace many will turn in Christ declaring, “The Lord, He is God.”
What a powerful picture of prayer, of pleading for God to show His glory in ways that resound to His praise among people around us, among individuals and entire people groups. Think about these words as you pray for people’s salvation. When you think about people in your family, friends of yours, coworkers of yours, neighbors, whoever it might be who don’t know God, who don’t know His grace, His salvation, who don’t know that He is the Lord. Isn’t this what you pray? “Answer me, oh Lord, answer me that his people might know that you are God, that this person might know that you, oh Lord, are God, that you might turn their hearts to you.” This is how we pray for people around us. This is how we pray for people groups around the world.
Now, think about the Nosu in China today, this unreached people group. I think about years ago, opportunity I had to be a part of taking gospel literature into different parts of East Asia for the spread of the gospel among the Nosu people group. And I just think about, as I was doing that, and ever since then, just pleading before God, “God, please, please, cause this people to turn their hearts to You. May they know that You are God. May they know that Jesus, You are God, that You are their savior, that You are Lord. They would know Your love, Your grace, and Your mercy, and their power to save them in their lives.” This is how we pray.
And we pray for this in faith. Elijah knew. Elijah knew God was listening, and God would answer. God would show His glory. So we pray right now.
God, we pray. I pray as I think about individuals in my life: friends, family members, neighbors, people I’ve met just this week. I pray for others who are coming to people’s minds right now as they’re listening to this: friends, family members, neighbors, acquaintances, coworkers. God, we pray. Turn hearts to You. We pray that You would turn their hearts to You. God, we pray that You would show Your salvation, You would show Your power to save in their lives. Please, oh God, please, please, we pray that You would do that. Lord, for Your glory in their salvation, for Your glory in turning their hearts to you. God, we pray. I just think about these individuals right now. God, please, please save them for Your glory. God, please, open their eyes to who Jesus is, to Jesus’s love for them. Bring them to Christ. God, I pray. We pray.
God, we pray the same for people groups around the world who don’t know Your grace and Your love right now, who don’t know the gospel. God, we pray for the Nosu in China. Please, oh God, cause the Nosu in China to come to know Your love, Your grace. Turn their hearts to You. They might glorify You. God, we pray for thousands of other people groups like that. We pray that You would use our lives and our churches to get the good news of Your grace and Your love to them.
Oh God, answer us, answer us, oh Lord, that this people, these individuals, these people groups might know that You, oh Lord, are God, and that You’ve turned their hearts back. May it be said that people, these individuals, others, would fall on their faces saying, “The Lord, He is God. The Lord, He is God.” Please, oh God, may it be so. We pray, we plead, in Jesus’s name. Amen.
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