The God of Answered Prayers

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Contributed by Tim White, Next Gen Pastor at Image Church

1 Kings 17:20-24 – And he cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 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. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”

The woman in this passage is a widow from Zarephath that God told Elijah to go to during a drought in Israel. The widow was to feed and take care of Elijah. She had a son and just enough flour and oil to prepare for themselves one last meal before they would die. In 1 Kings 17:13-14 Elijah says this to the widow.

“Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”

From that point on, the widow had the flour and oil she needed to feed Elijah and her son. The flour and the oil never ran out. God revealed Himself to this widowed woman. He provided her and her son the food they needed to survive. But then in verses 17-18, something horrible happens:

After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!”

The woman was devastated – her only son, whom earlier she was prepared to die with, had been taken from her while she still lived. She had experienced God and even saw firsthand His great work, as her flour and oil never ran out, providing them with all that they needed to stay alive during the drought. And now after all of that, her son was still taken from her. Elijah took the woman’s son from her, and he cried out to God. In verse 24, we see this woman truly grasp the truth of God.

And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”

God revealing Himself by providing the food they needed to live was not enough for this woman to truly understand and believe in the truth of God.  While at camp this week, there where many people who experienced that same work of God that this widowed woman did. When our teens and leaders went to camp this week, many of the students shared that they wanted to become closer with God themselves. On the second day of camp, God gave our students and every other student, youth leaders, and camp staff that opportunity.

It was a day like no other I have ever experienced in my life. It was one of my worst nightmares come true. The same goes for most of the students and other leaders there at the camp. The day started out like any other day, but it quickly turned into a day that no one could have ever expected and will never forget. During our recreation time, the students were all enjoying the ropes courses, and one of the students that came with us was going down the zip-line when the tree holding one end of the zip-line snapped in half, causing the boy to fall to the ground. He had to be flown to the nearest hospital and was unconscious when he got there. At the hospital, he had to have a CT scan and other tests done to see what kind of condition he was in. The tests all came back negative, showing that there was no brain damage, no spine damage, nor broken bones. He survived a 15’ fall with what doctors concluded was a concussion and some bruising. On Thursday morning I received word, from His mother that he was being released from the hospital and was going home.

Immediately following the accident, all of the students were sent to their rooms, where they formed prayer groups and began to pray for this boy. Students and leaders from the other churches at the camp gathered with our students and prayed with them. God answered the prayers of over 150 students, youth leaders, camp staff, and others that were informed of the situation. God opened the eyes of many students, and they all came closer to Him through prayer. Prayers that started out as prayers for healing turned to prayers of praise within hours, as we received word of his improved condition.

God revealed Himself to all who were at the camp in a terrifying way, but just as he did with the widow from Zarephath, God spared a life, proving that He is a loving and gracious God that protects and heals.  All of the students, youth leaders, and camp staff were brought close to God, as they witnessed God work through a terrifying event.

All of our student’s lives were impacted this week.  One teen committed his life to Christ, and many others committed to live lives of complete trust in God through His Word and in prayer.

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One Response to “The God of Answered Prayers”

  1. Michelle Burris Says:

    Tim, I know God literally woke you up with this Scripture to share with us-thank you. May we always see God in the small things and be found faithful when He chooses to display his Glory through tragedy.

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