The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
Obadiah Bible Story
I Kings xviii: 1
years passed after Elijah gave the message of the
Lord to King Ahab, and in all that time no rain fell
upon the land of Israel. Everywhere the brooks
ceased to flow, the springs became dry, the ground
was parched, and the fields gave no harvest. There
was no grass for the cattle and the flocks, and
there was scarcely any food for the people.
King Ahab was in great trouble. He knew that Elijah
had the power to call down rain; but Elijah was
nowhere to be found. He sent men to search for him
everywhere in the land, and he asked the kings of
the nations around to look for him in their
countries; for he hoped to persuade the prophet to
set the land free from the long drought by calling
When the land was at its worst, in the third year,
Ahab called the chief of his servants, the man who
stood next to the king. His name was Obadiah, and,
unlike Ahab, he was a good man, worshipping the
Lord, and trying to do right. Once, when Queen
Jezebel sought to kill all the prophets of the Lord,
Obadiah hid a hundred of them in two caves, fifty in
each cave, and gave them food, and kept them in
Ahab said to Obadiah, "Let us go through all the
land, you in one part, and I in another, and look
for running streams and fountains of water. Perhaps
we can find some water, enough to save a part of the
horses and mules, so that we may not lose them all."
And as Obadiah was going through his part of the
country, looking for water, suddenly Elijah met him.
Obadiah knew Elijah at once. He fell on his face
before him, and said, "Is this my lord Elijah?"
And Elijah answered him, "Yes, it is I, Elijah. Go
and tell your master that Elijah is here."
And Obadiah said, "Oh, my Lord, what wrong have I
done, that you would cause King Ahab to kill me? For
there is not a land where Ahab has not sent for you;
and now when I go to tell him that you are here, the
Spirit of the Lord will send you away to some other
place, and then if Ahab cannot find you he will be
angry at me, and kill me. Do you not know that I
fear the Lord, and serve him?" And Elijah said, "As
the Lord God lives, I will surely show myself to
King Ahab to-day."
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him of
Elijah's coming; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When
Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, "Are you here, you
that have brought all this trouble upon Israel?"
And Elijah answered the king, "I am not the one that
has brought trouble upon Israel. It is you, and your
house; for you have turned away from the commands of
the Lord, and have worshipped the images of Baal.
Now send and bring all the people to Mount Carmel,
and with them the four hundred prophets of Baal, and
the four hundred prophets of the Asherah, who ate at
So Ahab did as Elijah commanded, and brought all the
people to Mount Carmel, which stands by the Great
Sea. And Elijah stood before all the multitude, and
he said to them. "How long will you go halting and
limping back and forth between two sides, not
choosing either? If the Lord is God, follow him; but
if Baal is God, then follow him."
And the people had not a word to say. Then Elijah
spoke again, and said, "I am alone, the only prophet
of the Lord here to-day; but Baal's prophets are
four hundred and fifty men. Now, let the people give
us two young oxen, one for Baal's prophets, and one
for me. Let the prophets of Baal take one ox, and
cut it up, and lay it on the altar on the wood. But
let no fire be placed under it. And I will do the
same; then you call on your god, and I will call on
the Lord. And the God who sends down fire upon his
altar, he shall be the God of Israel."
And the people said, "What you have spoken is right.
We will do as you say, and will see who is the true
Then the two oxen were brought, and one was cut in
pieces and laid on the altar of Baal The prophets of
Baal stood around the altar, and cried aloud, "O
Baal, hear us!" But there was no answer, nor any
voice. After a time the worshippers of Baal became
furious. They leaped and danced around the altar,
and they cut themselves with swords and lances,
until the blood gushed out upon them And Elijah
laughed at them, and mocked them, calling out, "Call
out louder, for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is
sitting still and thinking, or he has gone on a
journey; or perhaps he is asleep, and must be
But it was all in vain. The middles of the afternoon
came, and there was no answer. The altar stood with
its offering, but no fire came upon it. Then Elijah
said to all the people, "Come near to me."
And they came near He found an old altar to the Lord
that had been thrown down, and he took twelve
stones, one for each of the twelve tribes, and piled
them up to from the altar anew. Around the altar he
dug a trench, to carry away water. Then he cut wood,
and laid it on the altar, and on the wood he placed
the young ox, cut into pieces for a sacrifice. Then
he said, "Fill four barrels with water, and pour it
on the offering."
The Great Sea was near at hand, in sight of all the
people; and from it they brought four barrels of
water, and poured it on the altar. He called upon
them to do it again, and a third time, until the
offering, and the wood, and the altar were soaked
through and through, and the trench was filled with
Then, in the sight of all the people, Elijah, the
prophet, drew near, and stood all alone before the
altar, and prayed in these words, "O Lord, the God
of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known
this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am
thy servant, and that I have done all these things
at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this
people may know that thou, Lord, art God, and that
thou hast turned their hearts back again to
Then the fire fell from the Lord, and burned up the
offering, and the wood, and the stones and the dust,
and licked up the water that was in the trench. And
when the people saw it, they fell on their faces,
and they cried, "The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he
is God!" And Elijah said to the people, "Seize the
prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape!"
They took them all, four hundred and fifty men; and
by Elijah's command they brought them down to the
dry bed of the brook Kishon, at the foot of the
mountain; and there Elijah caused them to be put
death, because they had led Israel into sin.
Ahab, the king, was present upon Mount Carmel, and
saw all that had been done. Elijah now said to Ahab,
"Rise up; eat and drink; for there is a sound of a
While Ahab was eating and drinking, Elijah was
praying upon Mount Carmel. He bowed down, with his
face between his knees, and prayed to the Lord to
send rain. After a time he sent his servant up to
the top of the mountain, saying, "Go up and look
toward the sea."
The servant went up, and came back, saying, "I can
Elijah sent him up seven times; and at the seventh
time his servant said, "I see a cloud rising out of
the sea as small as a man's hand."
Then Elijah sent to Ahab, saying, "Hasten; make
ready your chariot before the rain stops you."
In a little while the sky was covered with black
clouds, and there came a great rain. And Ahab rode
in his chariot to his palace at Jezreel, on the
eastern side of the great plain. And the power of
the Lord was on Elijah, and he ran before Ahab's
chariot to the gate of the city.
Thus in one day a great victory was wrought for the
Lord God, and the power of Baal was thrown down.