Old Testament reading: 2 Kings 3-4
While Elijah is much more well known by name, it might surprise some to know there are more miracles associated with the work of Elisha than his predecessor. The desired double portion of Elijah’s spirit did indeed rest upon Elisha as the former promised (2 Kings 2:9-12). As an aside, the righteousness of Jehoshaphat is again on display as he seeks the counsel of God, and Elisha credits his life as the sole reason God will intervene on Israel’s behalf. I love the line from Elisha concerning the need for water and the battle to come – “This is a simple matter in the sight of the Lord; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand.” We need to remember this in all of our troubles; the solution or remedy is a simple thing in God’s sight. In chapter 4, Elisha’s ministry is marked by numerous acts of benevolence for those who are faithful to the Lord.
New Testament reading: Acts 11-12
Do I really believe in the power of prayer? In Acts 12, we find Peter imprisoned and the church praying ceaselessly on his behalf. When their prayers are answered, they cannot believe it (12:13-16). The account reminds me of an old story about a small farming community beset by drought. Everyone in town agreed to meet one evening and pray for rain. As the people gathered, a little girl was spotted bringing her umbrella, to which an older woman commented, “Isn’t that sweet? She’s thinks it’s going to rain!” The God of the Bible assures us of the power of prayer – “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” “Avails much” means “accomplishes much good.” When Elijah pronounced the drought, it was not done by Divine command. Rather, Elijah prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and the results are in… prayer works! Secular history records that James was given the nickname “Camel Knees.” This is because he spent so much time on his knees in prayer that his knees were said to be calloused like a camel. Thus, it is only fitting that James begins and ends his epistle with strong admonitions concerning prayer. We must pray with faith (James 1:5-8)!