Elijah shows the Israelites, and reminds us, in today’s First Reading that there is only one God, no matter how many prophets may say to the contrary. At the encouragement of their king, Ahab, the Israelites have opted to follow Baal, since that deity seems to have numbers and success, yet they are suffering from a drought as a result of abandoning the Lord. They haven’t completely written off the Lord, but they remain on the fence, so Elijah suggests a way to test whom they should truly worship.
The prophets of Baal have numbers (450), elaborate rituals, and dry weather. One spark would be enough to set the whole thing off, but, as Scripture reminds us today, “no one answered, and no one was listening.” Elijah soaked the Lord’s altar with water to show that it wouldn’t be some chance spark that lit it, and with one prayer the Lord sent down fire to consume it all. One prophet and one prayer was enough for the Lord to respond.
People worship many things today–money, power, pleasure, nature, themselves, etc.–but none of those things are God, and none of them will grant what they truly desire. Our Lord knows what we need before we ask. Try that one prayer to the Lord and you may be surprised at the response.