FARMINGTON (BNM) – “We do not give up until the fire of God falls,” Brad Graves said as he began preaching the first of two messages to encourage attendees not to give up. Graves serves as senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Ada, Oklahoma. He spoke during the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s 2022 Annual Meeting. Emmanuel Baptist Church, Farmington, hosted the meeting, Oct. 25-26.

Graves preached initially from 1 Kings. He described how the prophet Elijah’s story begins and ends in the presence of God. During Elijah’s journey, God moved him through several stages – from being fed by a raven to staying with a widow and her son for eight and a half years (who received flour and oil from God, every day). God’s presence gave Elijah confidence, clarity and calmness before the king – while he prophesied.

In the Bible’s record, Elijah’s adversary, King Ahab, was evil. Elijah had proclaimed that no dew or rain would fall on the land for several years. Ahab hunted Elijah. But, God had prepared for Elijah each step of the way; He took care of Elijah. “Something happens when we realize all provisions come from God,” Graves said.

Graves asked the first day’s afternoon crowd if God had ever sent them through “a fire.” Graves asked, “If so, did you come out on the other side refined?”

Then one day, the widow’s son died. Elijah asked the Lord to allow the boy to live. Elijah lay on the boy three times. He did not give up. He continued until the boy lived. “God provides when we press on,” Graves said. He encouraged the crowd to choose God even before He provides for them.

As Elijah’s story continued, he faces the Israelites on Mount Carmel. Elijah challenged them to get two bulls – one for themselves and one for him. For their bull, he told them to call on Baal. For his bull, he would call on God. Elijah said that the God who brought down fire is indeed God. They tried to get Baal to bring down the fire, but nothing happened. Elijah rebuilt God’s altar, prepared the sacrifice, drenched it in water and prayed. God sent down fire and burnt up the sacrifice.

“The power of God will not fall on broken altars,” Graves said. “Do not give up until the power of God falls. Do not get tired of doing good, and do not quit,” he said.

On Tuesday evening, Graves finished with his second message on Elijah. He told an illustration, describing an experiment about rats and their endurance. He said that, with a bit of hope, a person can could push on through challenges. He said Jesus was coming back to rescue them.

Elijah lost hope in 1 Kings 19. He became afraid and ran away. Graves asked the pastors in the crowd five questions: (1) Are you easily intimidated? (2) Do you have irrational fears? (3) Have you attempted extreme isolation? (4) Have you had emotional pity parties? (5) Have you suffered and failed from exhaustion?

Graves emphasized that Elijah felt those emotions. But, God told Elijah to go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord because He was about to pass by. A great wind blew by, but He was not in the wind. An earthquake shook the ground, but He was not in the earthquake. After that, a fire passed by, but He was not in the fire. Then Elijah heard a gentle whisper. That was God speaking. “Don’t look for the fire. Look for the still, small voice,” Graves concluded.

Following Grave’s message, he invited any who would come forward to pray. Many responded. Afterward, he asked pastors needing prayer to merely stand. Many stood, and Graves prayed over them.

Then, Graves taught the audience five prayer postures. He explained the meaning and motive of each posture. The postures were bowing, kneeling, sitting, standing with arms raised and lying prostrate on the ground. Across the congregation, someone practiced each of the postures. He asked everyone present to choose a position and pray.

Some people stood with arms raised. Other sat before God. Many people took positions bowing and kneeling. Other people laid prostrate before God as they prayed, with faces to the ground.

Participation in the interactive prayer session characterized the session. Grave’s messages and prayer sessions followed the Annual Meeting’s theme: “Our Eyes Are on You.”


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