I Found the Answer…I Learned to Pray

Series: When Men Pray

Lesson 2: September 9 – 15, 2020

1 Kings 18:17-30 (GNT)

17   When Ahab saw him, he said, “So there you are—the worst troublemaker in Israel!”

18   “I’m not the troublemaker,” Elijah answered. “You are—you and your father. You are disobeying the Lord’s commands and worshiping the idols of Baal.

19   Now order all the people of Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel. Bring along the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah who are supported by Queen Jezebel.”  

20   So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and the prophets of Baal to meet at Mount Carmel.

21   Elijah went up to the people and said, “How much longer will it take you to make up your minds? If the Lord is God, worship him; but if Baal is God, worship him!” But the people didn’t say a word.

22   Then Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord still left, but there are 450 prophets of Baal.

23   Bring two bulls; let the prophets of Baal take one, kill it, cut it in pieces, and put it on the wood—but don’t light the fire. I will do the same with the other bull.

24   Then let the prophets of Baal pray to their god, and I will pray to the Lord, and the one who answers by sending fire—he is God.” The people shouted their approval.

In the KJV, Ahab the king of Israel meets Elijah with these words: Art thou he that troubles Israel? 

  • Trouble means. . . 
  • stir up, disturb, to agitate
  • afflict with pain or discomfort.  
  • to cause mental agitation or distress
  • He is calling Elijah a “troublemaker”!
  • When you get serious about serving God, 100% sold out, you will be viewed as a troublemaker, why?
  • Because most people are satisfied to live around the altar, but you have chosen to live on the altar as  “A living sacrifice

Romans 12:1 (ESV) – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship

  1. Elijah calls the nation back to the altar.
  2. The great need of this hour is for men and women who will rebuild the altar – to call back to God our. . .
  3. Children
  4. Church
  5. Community
  6. Commitment
  • The altar is the meeting place with God,
  • It’s where you climb Mt. Moriah and give your Isaacs up to God,
  • it is a place of sacrifice, (death to self)
  • it is a place of consecration.

1 Kings 18:31-35 (GNT)

31   He took twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes named for the sons of Jacob, the man to whom the Lord had given the name Israel.

32   With these stones he rebuilt the altar for the worship of the Lord. He dug a trench around it, large enough to hold about four gallons of water.

33   Then he placed the wood on the altar, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the offering and the wood.” They did so,

34   and he said, “Do it again”—and they did. “Do it once more,” he said—and they did.

35   The water ran down around the altar and filled the trench.

  1. Elijah rebuilds the altar
  2. He knew that if he could bring Israel back to the altar, and the altar back to Israel, that he would bring them back to God.
  3. It wasn’t torn down by terrorists attack; there is no terrorist that could destroy the altar, It was torn down through
  4. Neglect    
  5. Decay   
  6. Rejection       

in favor of a more comfortable and convenient, less painful and humiliating way of life.

  • The only people who can really pray are. . .
  • Humble people 
  • Weak people   
  • Poor people 
  • Helpless people 
  • Needy people 

Point to Ponder:  Do you agree that the above listed people are the only ones that can pray to the great and mighty God? Explain your answer.

The greatest sin of America is pride.

  • It’s not a symbol of national pride that we need.
  • What we  need is a symbol of national humility and total dependence upon God.
  • And that can be found in the old fashioned, outdated place called the altar.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

  • The stones were whole stones, no tool had been lifted up on them, for that would pollute the altar before God

Exodus 20:25 (NLT) – If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.

This means. . .

  1. God doesn’t want fragments of our lives

Point to Ponder: God will test us as He did Abraham.  Is your all on the altar?  Have you laid your Isaac down?

Isaac can be your. . .

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Finances
  • Fun

Matthew 6:33 (KJV) – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

  • No flesh shall glory in his presence, He will never give his glory and his honor to the prideful self-efforts of man.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, God will not accept any old offering or sacrifice.

Romans12:1 (KJV)– I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

1 Peter 5:5 (KJV)– be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble

Psalms 51:17 (NLT) – The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God 

  • Elijah called for an investment of the people
  • If you don’t ever make an investment in anything you don’t care about it. Pursuit is the proof of desire.
  • If you really want something you will spend time in the pursuit of it.
  • You know the importance of a thing by the time you are willing to give to it.
  • The 12 barrels of water in time of drought and famine was a tremendous sacrifice.
  • There will never be fire from heaven without an investment
  • There was a drought at this time, it seems that there is a spiritual drought today in our homes, our churches and in our community.
  • If we really want to see a move of God in our lives, it is going to cost us something.

Elijah had them dig a trench around the altar:

  • If we are going to see the power of God manifested, there has to be more work around the altar
  • If we don’t have any time to pray then we should not think it strange that we are powerless, and that there is no supernatural fire in our midst.
  • Prayer is hard work. . .
  • hard on the flesh
  • hard on pride
  • hard on the carnal mind

Water = The word of God

  • This shows us how vitally connected the preaching of the word is with prayer,
  • If we would see preaching that results in changed lives we must saturate the word with prayer.

Acts 6:4 (KJV) But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

  • Then as the water covered the altar and sacrifice, it filled the trench round about.

Preaching + praying = Transformation

  • Soaking saturation of the word of God. You can’t just hear the word preached

You have got to let it soak into your life 

36   At the hour of the afternoon sacrifice the prophet Elijah approached the altar and prayed, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove now that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant and have done all this at your command.

37   Answer me, Lord, answer me, so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God and that you are bringing them back to yourself.”

38   The Lord sent fire down, and it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones, scorched the earth and dried up the water in the trench.

39   When the people saw this, they threw themselves on the ground and exclaimed, “The Lord is God; the Lord alone is God!”

After all had been done. . .

  • Elijah calls on God
  • God answers with consuming fire
  • The people contended that the LORD alone is God!

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                     Thank God for the means to connect to Him via the altar of prayer.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:       Be an intercessor for those in need of deliverance and rescue.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:            Be prepared to testify about your times of deliverance to help others gain a relationship with Christ.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:            Your consistent and persistent giving makes deliverance available to those in need.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:            When in doubt about your worth or value, check with the Deliverance Maker and you’ll find your help is only an ask away.

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: I Found the Answer

SERIES:          When Men Pray

NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT:  Jeremiah 33:1-3; 1 Chronicles 16:11; Ephesians 6:18; Luke 18:1; Psalm 91:15; Isaiah 58:9; Isaiah 65:24; Luke 11:5-13; Hebrews 4:16; Psalm 121:4; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Mark 5:23; Mark 1:40; Matthew 18:29; John 11:1-40; Matthew 14:12; Matthew 15:22

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