Elijah didn’t get his answer right away, the way God answered his prayer in 1 Kings 18:38. Yet he sticks with it, he doesn’t lose heart or give up when God’s answer is “No.” He keeps praying with patience and with perseverance, sending the servant back and back and back until he sees that little cloud like a man’s hand over the horizon. Like the persistent widow of Luke 18, we are to keep praying until God in His providence makes clear that the time for prayer has ceased.
The story of Elijah running before Ahab in 1 Kings 18:41–46 is a strange and spectacular portrayal of the power and victory of the one true God over Baal and of the humility and gospel ministry of God’s prophet. Yet if we focus our attention solely on Elijah’s girding up his loins and running the seventeen miles from Mount Carmel to Jezreel by the hand of Yahweh, we will miss Elijah’s running first to God in prayer, and thus we will fail to learn what the “man with a nature like ours” (James 5:17) has to teach us about prayer.