"Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God." So all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken."
The God Who Answers
A magazine cartoon showed a little fellow kneeling beside his bed for his bedtime prayers. He was saying with some measure of disgust, "Uncle Jim still doesn't have a job; Sis still doesn't have a date for the prom; Grandma is still feeling poorly?and I'm tired of praying for this family and not getting results." Admittedly, it would be discouraging to think that God doesn't answer our prayers.
But Elijah had no such doubts. If God is truly God, He will answer. And his confidence was well rewarded. Not only did God answer, but He answered in such a dramatic way that the people could no longer question who was really God. Even the things that don't normally burn, the stones and the dust, were consumed when God answered by fire (v. 38). In an unmistakable way, the Lord responded to Elijah's prayer.
The distinguishing mark of the Christian faith is that we have a living God who not only hears but answers our prayers. His ear and His heart are both attuned to our cry. His answers may not come at the time we want them, but they will come at the time when they will do the most good. He does not always answer in the way we expect, but He will always answer in the way that's best for us.
It's not always easy to trust God for the right answer at the right time, but it's always best. Our confident assurance is that if we ask according to His will, "we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:15).
Do not grow weary in your prayers. Seek to know God's will and then confidently pray for His response. The God who hears will also answer?at the right time and in the right way.
The prayer is up to us; the answer is up to God.