by Clarence E. Macartney

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The Prayers of the Old Testament (8 of 13)
The Prayer of Elijah
Clarence E. Macartney
1 Kings 19:4

Elijah was down, and almost out. He was one of those
few men "of whom the world was not worthy." That such
a man lived makes us rejoice in our common humanity.
As eloquent Wendell Phillips said over the grave of
John Brown, "Men will believe more firmly in virtue
now that such a man has lived and died." Carmel itself
was not more rugged and more majestic than that
prophet when he stood upon the mountain peak, his face
flushed with the splendid victory over the howling
priests of Baal.

Yet Elijah was a man of like passions with us. The
lark which has sung her song at the very gate of
heaven, sinks at last, wearied and voiceless, into the
brown furrow. The height of the crest of one wave
measures the depth of the trough of the next. The next
time we see Elijah, he is lying beneath a juniper tree
of the desert asking God to take away his life. After
his victory over the priests of Baal, Elijah, strong
in his success, girded up his loins and ran before
Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. There his enthusiasm
suddenly left him; for there met him a messenger from
Jezebel threatening him with death on the morrow: "So
let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not
thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about
this time." As a prophet of Jehovah in the exercise of
his duties and his commissions, Elijah was attended by
the power and majesty of God; but as a man, he was
alone, feeble, and helpless. He had to save his own
life as any other man pursued by the wrath of a wicked
queen. He arose and "went for his life," and came to
Beersheba, at the extreme south of the country. There
he left his servant and plunged into the wilderness
another day's journey. In that same wilderness where
Hagar and Ishmael had wandered in their exile, Elijah
held his course until the blinding heat of the desert
smot ...

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