Saint Elisha the Prophet

14th June

Nowadays, it is highly improbable to find a person called Elisha! However this name stands out in the Old Testament as one of the prominent Prophets. He is also known as Eliseus, both versions meaning ‘God is my salvation.’

Elisha lived around the year 800 BC in Abel Meholah in the Jordan Valley. He was  the son of Shaphat, a wealthy landowner, so he worked the land with his father. At one point in his life he was chosen by God to be a prophet. In the Old Testament, a prophet was someone chosen by God to communicate His message or sometimes, a prophecy of the future, to the people.  
At that time the people of Ancient Israel had been turning from God and returning to idol worship. God chose prophets to be a means of  direct intervention from Him to lead  the people of Israel away from sin and the worship of idols.  

Elijah had been chosen by God to be such a prophet and when he was nearing the end of his ministry, God showed him the way to a choice of a younger  man. He was directed to Elisha who was ploughing a field in his father’s farm. He approached him and put his own mantle on Elisha’s shoulder, signifying that he was appointing him a prophet in his stead.
Elisha understood this symbolic gesture. He accepted God’s call and without hesitation he left his home and family, joining Elijah as his student and attendant, a service that presented many challenges. But Elisha never lost courage.

When Elijah knew that his ministry was coming to an end, he asked Elisha what he could do for him. Elisha answered that what he really desired was “a large measure of the Holy Spirit that God had bestowed on Elijah” to prepare him for the mission that God had bestowed on him.

In the 2 Kings 2,11-12, it is recorded that as Elijah and Elisha continued to walk and talk, “ a chariot of fire appeared and took Elijah in a whirlwind to heaven.“ Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle, signifying that the spirit of Elijah had rested on him. He began to fulfil his mission as a prophet, which lasted 50 years extending through the reign of four kings.
Elisha performed many miracles.

Three well known miracles are :

  • Miraculously he provided oil for the widow, so that she could sell it and pay her creditors, thus saving her sons from being taken slaves
  • The Shunammite woman who had remained without children, bore a son after a blessing from Elisha. Her son was brought to life a number of years later by the intervention of Elisha when he  died from sunstroke
  • The healing from leprosy of Naaman, a commander of the King of Syria. He acknowledged the One True God after being healed when Elisha directed him to wash in the River Jordan.

Watch: Elisha heals Naaman

Elisha remains known as ‘a prophet of peace and healing of restoration and mercy’. The underlying message of his mission was that God is always ready to ‘respond to the distressed and cry for help when it comes from a contrite and believing heart.’

In the same way that God had a special mission for the prophet Elisha, He also has a special mission for each and everyone of us .

  • Take the opportunity to explore the children’s thoughts as to what they would like to be when they grow up!
  • Discuss with them the reasons they choose that particular role in life :   ~ For the money it pays – easy working hours and holidays – for popularity – for service to others .
  • We should not hesitate to instil in our children the thought that God has a plan for each and everyone of us, so that we can be happy serving Him and loving others.
  • Let us be careful not to let the assertion that “we know best for our children” interfere with God’s will for them.

Family Prayer Time

  • Let us pray over our children letting them hear you thanking God for rewarding you with your child/children, saying their names aloud.
  • Offer prayers to the Holy Spirit so that they grow up showing kindness and love ~ to choose to do the right thing ~ to continue to follow Jesus as they grow up ~ add a prayer for any particular family experience /situation that involves the children.
  • Let the children voice their own prayers or pray silently, asking God to show them His will for them.
  • Hold hands and Pray/Sing  ‘The Our Father.’

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.