43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”
45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. --1 Kings 18:43-45
In the passage above, we see God bringing an end to a draught that had afflicted the land for 3 years. The prophet tells his servant that rain is coming and the servant takes the walk to the lookout point seven times and finally sees the small beginnings of an answer to the prayer for rain on the horizon.
In many ways, fasting and prayer allows us extra time to prepare our hearts and lives for the broader work that God will accomplish in the future. Perhaps you have been asking God over and over the same thing during this time of seeking God the same thing with no response. I want to encourage you today to trudge back up the hill and lift your eyes again to God. Sometimes it's the repeated prayer that receives the most surprising and powerful answers.
It is not the one who enters the battle unprepared who experiences victory, but the one who has prepared for battle ahead of time. This time of seeking God together in fasting and prayer is a way to prepare us for what lies ahead, for the victory that lies ahead.
Today, on the next to the last day of our corporate fast, may God graciously give you eyes to see the cloud in the distance.