NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: 1 Kings 18:36-39
In your opinion, do you think the prayers of many Christians are too small? What leads you to feel that way? What would it take for us to pray big prayers?
Food for Thought:
A climatic showdown occurred on Mount Carmel when Elijah proposed that two altars be set up, one for Baal and one for God. The prophets of Baal would pray and then Elijah would pray. The god who answered by fire would be the true God. The false prophets jumped up and down, cut themselves, and cried out to Baal all day, but nothing happened. Then Elijah set up his altar, poured water over it to make it even harder to ignite, and said a brief prayer recorded in 1 Kings 18:36-37.
There are several important truths in this biblical account. First, this was a show of power. Israel had bought the lie that Baal had power. They needed a lesson from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They needed a reminder that the one true God delivered the people out of bondage and into the Promised Land. He was not a distant deity, nor was He a symbol or a statue. He was the living Lord.
Secondly, Elijah wasn’t afraid to be identified with the Lord God. He was outnumbered, but he wasn’t outgunned. He was unashamed of the Lord, willing to hitch his wagon, his future and even his life to God’s ability and power to intervene.
Thirdly, Elijah was confident God would hear and act. He didn’t pray with a wavering faith; he believed God. He soaked the altar so there would be no doubt as to God’s ability to do exceedingly beyond what he ever imagined.
Finally, the nation needed to turn back to God. We are in desperate need of revival to sweep our nation. But it will not come if we are hesitant or content with business as usual. It only comes to those who see the need and ask God to once again show Himself in power.
Where are the Christians, the churches, that believe God for revival? Where are those who long to see God move as He did in days past? Are we so entrenched that we cannot wake ourselves from our lethargy and seek once again His power from on high? Elijah didn’t pray so that people would think he was a great prophet or talk about his power. He didn’t pray in order for his church to grow. He asked God to answer him so the people would know that the Lord was Yahweh, the Lord God (1 Kings 18:36).
The power and fire of God will fall on His people when three things happen: (1) When we are willing to serve God with our whole heart (1 Kings 18:21); (2) When we think more about the glory of God than ourselves and take our stand with God before this pagan world; (3) When we are willing to believe God and do something about it.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.
Other ongoing Bible study options offered by LifeWay for all ages can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.