All the land of Israel was so dry. No food could grow in the fields. Most of the rivers and streams had run out of water. This happened because there had been no rain for three years!
Elijah, who was a prophet of God, had told the king of Israel that there would be no rain until he said so. Then Elijah had gone away to wait and see what God would do.
King Ahab was very angry. He had looked and looked for Elijah, because he wanted the rain to start again. Finally, one day God spoke to Elijah and told him it was time to go see the king.
When the king saw Elijah he said, "Are you the one who has caused all this trouble in Israel?"
Elijah told the king, "I have not caused this trouble. It has all happened because you and the people in Israel do not serve the one true God. You have been praying to an idol called Baal."
Elijah told King Ahab to gather all the people and the false prophets at Mt. Carmel. There he told them that they could not serve the one true God and the false gods at the same time. He told the false prophets to prepare a sacrifice but not to put any fire under it. They had to pray to their false gods and ask for fire to come down from the sky. They did what Elijah said and prayed all morning and all afternoon. They prayed until evening, but no fire came.
Then Elijah set up his sacrifice. He made an altar with twelve stones. All around the altar he dug a ditch. He put some wood and the sacrifice on top of the altar. Then twelve barrels of water were poured over all of it!
When that was all done, Elijah began to pray. He looked up to Heaven and asked God to send fire on the sacrifice so the people would know who was the true God. Right then, fire came down from the sky and burned up Elijah's sacrifice and dried up all the water too! When the people saw this they believed that Elijah's God was the one true God.
After that, Elijah went to the top of the mountain and prayed for rain. He told his servant to look out over the sea for any sign of rain. The servant looked but told Elijah that he didn't see anything. Elijah told him to look again. The servant looked again and again and still saw nothing. But when he looked the seventh time he told Elijah that he saw a little cloud. Elijah told his servant to run and tell King Ahab to get into his chariot and hurry home because rain was coming! The sky grew dark with black clouds and it began to rain. Elijah was so excited that he ran even faster than the king's chariot! God had sent the rain again!
Help your child focus on the fact that God has power to answer prayer. To illustrate this, fold a piece of paper in half vertically. Place your child's left hand on the paper, with the thumb touching the fold and the fingers touching each other. Trace around his hand, and let him cut out the shape, being sure the fold is kept as a hinge.
Talk about how we fold our hands when we pray, letting him unfold the two hands. On the left side, write the words, "When I pray," and on the right side, the words, "God hears and answers." Let your child trace over the letters with a crayon. Be sure he knows what the words mean.