Watchman Nee was a church leader and Christian teacher in Mainland China during the 20th century. As a new Christian, I read two of his books: The Normal Christian Life, and Sit, Walk, Stand (a commentary on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians). Both books were a real encouragement to me because they both talk about the basics of the Christian life. Nee had an experience similar to that of Elijah, as noted in my previous post (The Power of Prayer – James 5:16b-18)
In his book, Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee describes a preaching mission to an island off the South China coast. There were seven in the ministering group, including a 16-year-old new convert whom he calls Brother Wu. The island was fairly large, containing about 6000 homes. Nee had a contact there, an old schoolmate of his who was headteacher of the village school, but he refused to house the group when he discovered that they had come to preach the Gospel. Finally, they found lodging with a Chinese herbalist, who became their first convert. Preaching seemed quite fruitless on the island, and Nee discovered it was because of the dedication of the people there to an idol they called Ta-wang. They were convinced of his power because on the day of his festival and parade each year, the weather was always near-perfect.
“When is the procession this year?”, young Wu asked a group that had gathered to hear them preach. “It is fixed for January 11th at 8 in the morning”, was the reply. “Then”, said the new convert, “I promise you that it will certainly rain on the 11th.”
At that there was an outburst of cries from the crowd: “That is enough! We don’t want to hear any more preaching. If there is rain on the 11th, then your God is God!”
Watchman Nee had been elsewhere in the village when this confrontation took place. Upon being informed about it, he saw that the situation was serious and called the group to prayer. On the morning of the 11th, there was not a cloud in the sky, but during grace for breakfast, sprinkles began to fall and these were followed by heavy rain. Worshipers of the idol Ta-wang were so upset that they placed it in a sedan chair and carried it outdoors, hoping this would stop the rain. Then the rain increased! After only a short distance, the carriers of the idol stumbled and fell, dropping the idol and fracturing its jaw and left arm.
A number of young people turned to Christ as a result of the rain coming in answer to prayer, but the elders of the village made divination and said that the wrong day had been chosen. The proper day of the procession, they said, should have been the 14th. When Nee and his friends heard this, they again went to prayer, asking for rain on the 14th and for clear days for preaching until then. That afternoon the sky cleared, and on the good days that followed, there were thirty converts. On the crucial last day, Nee says: “The 14th broke, another perfect day, and we had good meetings. As the evening approached we met again at the appointed hour. We quietly brought the matter to the Lord’s remembrance. Not a minute late, His answer came with torrential rain and floods as before.”
The power of the idol over the islanders was broken; the enemy was defeated. Believing prayer had brought a great victory. Conversations followed. And the impact upon the servants of God who had witnessed His power would continue to enrich their Christian service from that time on. (Sermon Illustrations, PRAYER, answered)
As in the case of Elijah’s prayer, God once again brought rain in answer to prayer. God demonstrated that He was truly God, and there are no other “gods” like Him.
SCRIPTURE READING; Now Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth, and put his face between his knees (as he prayed). And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and said, “There is nothing.” And he said “go back” seven times. And it came about that at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.’ ” So it came about in a short while, that the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower. (I Kings 17:41-45)
THE GOD OF ELIJAH IS OUR GOD! HE STILL LIVES AND ANSWERS PRAYER!