Prayer the Raises the Dead

[Extract from the book Elijah Men Eat Meat]

‘And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord… and the LORD heard the voice of Elijah.’ -1Kg 17


Elijah is dealt an unexpected blow. The young mother that he had blessed is now facing an unspeakable curse: the death of her little boy.

Now Elijah knows a God who can redeem from the very worst of circumstances. But this redemption is not going to be brought down from heaven on the careless wings of half-hearted praying. Elijah doesn’t merely look at the boy, shrug his shoulders and mutter ‘Well if it’s your will God…’. No, none of that impotent praying will do the trick.

Rather, he takes the dead boy and brings him into his own bed. He makes this personal. He stretches himself out upon the boy. He identifies with him. He takes this boy’s death as if it were his very own. He does it three times. He persists. His faith will not be turned away by a lack of answer the first two times. Three times he stretches himself out in crying out for life. His praying transcends earthly boundaries and raids heaven to call upon a grace greater than death.

Elijah’s voice is heard. God sends life back into the boy. Not only is the boy raised to life, the mother finds an eternal life that cannot be taken away from her. Elijah had built a relationship with a woman who did not share his faith. He had blessed her with bread and she was grateful. But it was in seeing her boy raised that she came to personal faith. The heathen gal has not just been blessed, she has been properly converted.

Do we pray just to pray? Is it a mere exercise or form of personal meditation? Or do we pray in order to be heard? Few of our churches gather to pray anymore. Among those that do, prayer is sometimes presented as a creative hobby or as a way to help a person become more ‘spiritual’. How to grow in the art of intercession, the pamphlet to the seminar may advertise. But prayer is an art only in the sense that war is an art. It is an aggressive cry raised to God to come down and shake a demon-filled world. Prayer that calls down the Kingdom is not for the curious, but for the desperate. Prayer gatherings of desperate people are few and far between now in Britain, but any true reformation must begin as a reformation of prayer.

Churches do many activities that their wider communities benefit from. Christians have started countless soup kitchens, hospitals, and orphanages during the last 2,000 years. We’ve done so much of it, that society now expects it of us. Feeding the poor gives moral validation to the message of a God who generously and freely gives to those who are spiritually poor. This will soften some hearts. It makes some people appreciative and can give us a hearing. But charity programs are not listed as one of the ‘signs that shall follow those that believe.’ We can do such things without an ounce of supernatural help.

Some things simply will not happen until we learn how to pray in such a way that causes us to be heard. How many of us can say to an unbelieving world when it faces tragedy, ‘Give me your son’? How many of us are willing to risk such embarrassment? Are we willing to risk our image for God’s glory? We often say our prayers, but do we really pray? Those who are willing to be broken in prayer are the ones who will break hellish fortresses.

Power in circumstances such as Elijah faced comes from long hours spent alone with God. It’s not cultivated by praying with one eye on heaven and the other checking how many likes our last social media post got. It comes when we learn to pray specific prayers about issues in real space and real time. 
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Extract from Elijah Men Eat MeatReadings to slaughter your inner Ahab and pursue Revival and Reform (Get Here) 

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