“Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.”So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.”Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ”Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”1 Kings18:41-46
What do you do after you’ve heard a word from the Lord? What sound are you hearing? Elijah heard the sound of abundance of rain even when there was no rain in the horizon. So, what sound are you hearing in your spirit? When you hear a prophetic sound, position yourself, start celebrating because what you heard is on its way.
God had said to Elijah, “…Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.” Israel experienced famine for over three years because they had forsaken the Lord and gone after the baals. As a result, God shut the heavens against them. Before God could send rain, He had to deal with what shut the heavens in the first place. All through the Scriptures we find that human action can shut or open the heavens to them. If human action can shut the heaven, human action can also open it. God said to Israel, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14). On Mt Carmel, Israel repented and acknowledged the Lord as the true God. Thereafter, God responded to their situation. Repentance breaks judgment and brings restoration.
DECLARE WHAT YOU HEAR
Elijah then announced to Ahab, “There is the sound of abundance of rain.” Elijah did not hesitate to declare to Ahab the sound he was hearing. He knew that he had heard from God. Sometimes we hear directly from God, or receive a Rhema word as we study His word, or God may speak to us through His servants. We need to believe that God “… confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers.” (Isaiah 44:26a). The Scripture says “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45). While waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise, don’t give room to doubt; don’t allow your sense of expectancy to wane.
Do not engage the reverse gear in your faith but keep trusting God. You should be bold to declare what you have heard and believe what God wants to do in your life. Say what you believe and expect, not what you’re seeing that is contrary. But say it to the right audience, to those who fire-up your faith; not those who will discourage you.
TAKE A PRAYING POSITION
After hearing the prophetic sound, what should you do next? You need to take the corresponding steps towards what you have heard. Elijah went up the mountain to pray. Elijah’s praying position is indicative of the intensity of his supplication: “…then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees.” It is said that Elijah took the position of a Hebrew woman when she is in labour. You also need to take a praying position to birth your miracle. Prayer is co-operating with God to bring to pass His plans for our lives. God wants you to co-labour with Him to bring about His purpose for your life. Passivity is an enemy of miracles.
Why do we need to pray? In the natural, any time you want to go higher you have to overcome the force of gravity. Also, whenever there is about to be a change in position or status, you must get ready to contend against opposing forces. You need to contend in prayer especially when you have received a promise from God and are expecting something great.
Elijah didn’t just pray but he expected his prayers to be answered. Unfortunately, there are people who pray but don’t expect much from their prayers (remember the prayer meeting in Acts 12:5-17). Elijah sent his servant to go and look out for the answer to his prayer. The servant came back and reported, “There is nothing.” That was enough to discourage anyone. The challenge many of us face is in knowing what to do when we are praying but “there is nothing” to show. Do we give up or keep up with our prayers?
Even when nothing seems to be happening you need to still be filled with a sense of anticipation for the answer. Even when you don’t see anything happening physically realise that God is still at work. Sometimes, His work is instant but other times it is a process, in order to build our faith. “Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5 NLT). It is good to always remind yourself: “God hasn’t finished with me yet.”
Elijah did not stop praying but had to send his servant seven times. Eventually, the servant brought a feedback that “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” This servant reminds us of Jesus’ disciple, Andrew who said: “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9). Jesus did not say, “Oh, that’s too insignificant!” Rather, He took the little and gave thanks. How you react to the little cloud will determine whether it will become a downpour or end up as mere cloud without rain.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT GOD IS DOING
Learn to acknowledge what God is doing even when it seems little. Don’t despise the days of little beginnings (Zechariah 4:10). It may be cloud the size of a man’s hand but Elijah responded to that little thing like it was the abundance of rain. He enthusiastically announced to Ahab, “Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!“ (1 Kings 18:44B NLT). At this time, it was still a cloud the size of a man’s fist but Elijah saw in that cloud an abundance of rain. Focusing on what God is doing right now will cause us to be thankful.
In every seed there is a tree and even a forest; in every cloud, there is potential of abundance of rain. Someone has said that God does not give us trees, rather He gives us seeds. We need to be thankful for the ‘little’ signs of blessing and breakthrough that we see. Instead of being disappointed that we have not yet received 100%, why not celebrate the 30% improvement. When we do this, our faith is strengthened to believe God for the rest. It was said about Abraham, “And not being weak in faith … he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.” (Romans 4:19-20).
Jesus told a Parable about the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29). Sometimes, God’s workings in our lives take the same process: “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.” (Mark 4:28). The ‘blade’ can be likened to the ‘little cloud’ that we see. If we maintain an attitude of expectancy and thankfulness then the blade becomes the ‘head’ and finally the ‘full grain,’ which we can liken to 100% completion.
About two years ago a lady in our church almost lost her son as a result of tetanus infection. Through the intervention of the church the child was given intensive medical care until he partially recovered. This lady did something unusual. She decided to come to church with the boy for a thanksgiving. The boy could hardly walk when she brought him to the altar. He probably was only about 50% well. But after that step of faith, this boy rapidly improved and was completely healed. Today, he is actively serving the Lord as a teenager. That lady could have waited, like most people, until the miracle was 100% but she decided to focus on what God had already done and gave thanks. We must learn to celebrate what God is doing now while we wait for the greater things.
Thanksgiving builds our faith, and that faith sustains us while we continue to believe for the complete miracle. Why not begin to thank God for the little clouds. Begin now to celebrate as you would if you already had the answer. Faith speaks of the things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17). “Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” (John 20:29).