God is eager to show us that we have power in prayer!
“And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand” (1 Kings 18:42-44).
Elijah was human and was affected by the same things we are—the same fears, longings, hopes, despair and needs—yet his prayers got results! God is showing us here what to do in every crisis: Run to Him! Get in earnest! Pray doors open and shut! Elijah prayed earnestly and he kept praying and waiting until the Lord answered. Seven times he sent his servant to look over the horizon for just one little sign.
Today, after one or two prayer sessions, we give up and get angry with God. We say, “It didn't work for me. I prayed and my husband and I are still having problems. I still don't have what I need.”
It is obvious that people do not pray because they don’t think it works. They don’t know what persevering in prayer means, going back like Elijah time and again with your head to the ground. We call this “laying hold of God.” In the Old Testament it is called “wrestling with God.” Jacob’s prayer was, “I won’t let You go until You bless me” (Genesis 32:26, NAS). The waiting, the delays, are for a purpose: to conform us to Christ. You can’t spend a lot of time in His presence without getting to know Him. The longer the answer is delayed and the more effectually you pray, the more important He becomes and the less important the answer becomes. One way or the other, you win!