Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. James 5:17, 18.
When upon Mount Carmel he [Elijah] offered the prayer for rain (1 Kings 18:41-45), his faith was tested, but he persevered in making known his request unto God. Six times he prayed earnestly, and yet there was no sign that his petition was granted, but with a strong faith he urged his plea to the throne of grace. Had he given up in discouragement at the sixth time, his prayer would not have been answered, but he persevered till the answer came. We have a God whose ear is not closed to our petitions; and if we prove His Word, He will honor our faith. He wants us to have all our interests interwoven with His interests, and then He can safely bless us; for we shall not then take glory to self when the blessing is ours, but shall render all the praise to God. God does not always answer our prayers the first time we call upon Him; for should He do this, we might take it for granted that we had a right to all the blessings and favors He bestowed upon us. Instead of searching our hearts to see if any evil was entertained by us, any sin indulged, we should become careless, and fail to recognize our dependence upon Him, and our need of His help.44SDA Bible Commentary 2:1034, 1035.
The servant watched while Elijah prayed. Six times he returned from the watch, saying, There is nothing, no cloud, no sign of rain. But the prophet did not give up in discouragement.... As he searched his heart, he seemed to be less and less, both in his own estimation and in the sight of God.... And when he reached the point of renouncing self, while he clung to the Saviour as his only strength and righteousness, the answer came. The servant appeared, and said, “Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand.” 45SDA Bible Commentary 2:1035.
Elijah did not wait for the heavens to gather blackness. In that small cloud, he beheld by faith an abundance of rain; and he acted in harmony with his faith.... Faith such as this is needed in the world today—faith that will lay hold on the promises of God's word, and refuse to let go until Heaven hears.46Prophets and Kings, 156, 157.
From God's Amazing Grace - Page 88