"Elijah was a man just like us,” we’re told in James 5:17-18. “He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
Most of us find it a little hard to believe that Elijah was really just a man like us or that God would hear our prayers just as readily as he did Elijah’s. After all, Elijah was one of the most renowned prophets of antiquity and instrumental in some of greatest and most well-known miracles in the entire Bible! Elijah called down fire from heaven, was fed by ravens, multiplied oil and flour, and even raised the dead.
How could our prayers possibly match up to those of a powerful man of God like Elijah?
The truth is that in between some of those astounding miracles Elijah could also be frustrated, lonely, depressed, angry, plagued with self-doubt and wishing he were dead.
Notice how this great prophet felt the very day after the great miracle of fire from heaven.
He had just received a death threat from the wicked Queen Jezebel, and we’re told in 1 Kings 19:3-4: “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
Indeed, Elijah was a man just like us.
This episode in Elijah’s life ended on Mount Horeb, where God presented Elijah with a powerful wind, a mighty earthquake and a roaring fire. But God didn’t meet Elijah in any of those. God met him instead in a still, small, voice.
We often think that God is not with us unless we’re doing so-called “great” things for God. But here’s what we need to remember — we are closer to God when we’re listening to his gentle whisper than when we’re caught up in doing what we think are great things in his name.
Windstorms, earthquakes and fires are easy to hear, but gentle whispers require devoted attention. On the strength of that gentle whisper, Elijah carried on with the work God had for him to do.
Yes, Elijah was a man like us, having the same kinds of fears, worries, concerns and challenges as we have, and if God heard his prayers, he’ll hear ours too.
This article is derived from Speaking of Life, a weekly video program presented by Joseph Tkach on the Grace Communion International website. You can watch it online, listen online, or download the video, audio, or text. For all these options, go to www.speakingoflife.org