Summary: A recent article by Dave Butts prompted this sermon, reminding us that the heroes of faith were just like us in many ways.
1. [My Prayer Story @ the Rocket Club Meeting in Huntsville, AL I was seated with Medal of Honor Winner, Generals, and High Dignitaries; Heroes –seem larger than life
2. Everyday Heroes
• Consider Dave Sanders, the school teacher shot to death while trying to shield his students from two youth on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
• Jane Smith, a Fayetteville, NC teacher, was moved by the plight of one of her students, a boy dying for want of a kidney transplant. So this woman told the family of a 14-year old boy that she would give him one of her kidneys. And she did. When they subsequently appeared together hugging on the Today Show, even the tough Katie Couric was near tears.
3. Heroes of Faith Seem Unreachable – Abraham; Moses; Joshua; Elijah
4. But if we could pull back the curtain we would see that they are a lot like the rest of us. James 5:13-18
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
5. Honi (Onias) the Circle-Drawer; Mishnah Taanit 3:8
Once they said to Honi the Circle-Drawer, "Pray that rain may fall."
He answered, "Go out and bring in the Passover ovens [made of clay] that they be not softened."
He prayed, but the rain did not fall. What did he do? He drew a circle and stood within it and said before God, "O Lord of the world, your children have turned their faces to me, for I am like a son of the house before you. I swear by your great name that I will not stir from here until you have pity on your children."
Rain began falling drop by drop. He said, "Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill the cisterns, pits, and caverns."
It began to rain with violence. He said, "Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of goodwill, blessing, and graciousness."
Then it rained in moderation, until the Jews had to go up from Jerusalem to the Temple Mount because of the rain. They went to him and said, "Just as you prayed for the rain to come, so pray that it may go away!"
a. Reminds us of Elijah praying for no rain and for rain
b. This lesson is partially on prayer but more about being real with God – like Elijah!
I. Elijah Was Like Us in His Successes (Answered Prayers)
“If you want people to pray, tell them answered prayers.” ~ John Maxwell
A. Answers to Elijah’s Prayers:
1. To stop rain – 1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
2. For the Preservation of a Widow and Her Son – 1 Kings 17:7-16 (v. 16) 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.
3. For the life of the widow’s son – 1 Kings 17:17-24 (vv. 21-22) 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child's life come into him again.” 22 And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived.
4. For Victory over Prophets of Baal – 1 Kings 18:16-40 (v. 24a) 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.”
5. For Rain to Resume – 1 Kings 18:41-46 (v. 41) 41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.”