Published in German in 1972, this spiritual commentary on the Elijah story in 1 Kings - 2 Kings 2:18 made me think again of the critical role Elijah plays in the epic salvation drama, but the commentary also makes the small details of the prophet Elijah clear and applicable for one wanting to live more in union with God.
For each verse of the Elijah story, we read several pages of intense spiritual commentary that help us to learn about Elijah’s inner life of prayer as he comes to understand the all-encompassing mission of his life. Elijah feels the weight of living within the heavy truth of the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives. He knows his life is marked by serving the Lord in the midst of being always in God’s presence. He can hide nowhere from God. His servant life is for God to use. The person and work of Elijah meet in such a unity that he becomes a central antetype of Jesus Christ.
As Elijah lives in the fiery presence of God, so can he witness for Israel the presence of God who can bring forth fire to consume the sacrifice. Adrienne von Speyr helps us to learn that Elijah teaches us to pray. After the sacrifice at Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:36-40) and the witness of Elijah’s prayer, Adrienne writes that “The people must learn to pray. Elijah has shown them everything: the simplicity, but also the immovable confidence in God of his prayer and the truth of the word of God on which it is based. Grace has made a new beginning in the history of the people” (pg. 64-65). And through Elijah’s prayer, the people have learned that “now prayer is truly a dialogue in the full sense, with word and answer that correspond to one another, a dialogue that the whole God enters with his truth and his power. But since God is the partner of this dialogue, its possibilities are infinitely extended” (pg. 66). For Adrienne, the miracle of the Mount Carmel story reveals that prayer is dialogue, meaning that the Lord of all creation listens to the one who is meek and humble of heart. The meaning of this miracle is that “God gives to every believer” (pg. 67). In this moment, we know again the meaning of Jesus’ words “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7).