1 Kings 18:43b–44 NLT
43 …Seven times Elijah told him to go out and look. 44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, “Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!”
“How do I know God is going to say yes to my prayers?” This is a common question many people have as they seek to have a confident prayer life. However, it’s important to recognize that prayer is not just about the answer, but it’s also about glorifying God in the process of waiting for the answer. It is our responsibility to check our motives and believe God hears us; it is through the process of prayer that God prepares us for the answer He brings.
We see an example of the process of prayer in the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18. Elijah climbed to the top of the mountain to pray for rain to come. As he waited for the rain, he continued to pray, believing God would answer. When he finally saw a small cloud, he told Ahab to “get ready” because the rain was coming. Elijah knew what to pray for, and God heard him the first time he prayed, but there was preparation that needed to take place in order to receive the answer to his prayer.
It is no mistake that God waited until Elijah had prayed seven times before He answered. In the Bible, seven is the number of completion. In this account, seven represents the completion of God’s process in that time of prayer. God does not want merely to answer our prayers; He wants to spend time with us to prepare us for the answer that will come. Many times we want to skip over the process involved in engaging God in prayer as we wait for our answer. But it is this very process that works maturity in us and prepares us for the answers our prayers bring. (James 1:4)
What prayers in your life are still awaiting an answer? Throughout the remainder of the fast, thank God for His process at work in your life and trust Him.