“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:16-18)
Here, we are instructed to pray for one another, especially for those who are struggling physically and spiritually. And as we continue reading, James reminds us that Elijah was a man like we are who was able to pray and accomplish God’s purposes as we should. He prayed with fervency and his praying was passionate. The Word of God tells us that he prayed “earnestly” and he sought God with all his being ….
What motivated Elijah to pray with such passion?
First, his understanding of God moved him to pray earnestly. Elijah knew whom he was praying to. He knew that God has all power. He understood that the Lord could do the impossible. Elijah prayed earnestly because his faith was in God and not in his praying ….
Each person’s understanding of God will determine their strength and perseverance in prayer. God has given us His mighty Holy Ghost to guide us in prayer and to teach us how we should pray. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us though we do not know how to put our desires into words.” (Romans 8:26)
For many, God is “too small” and they doubt His power and ability. They lack in faith and their prayers are not answered. On the other hand, those who grow in knowledge and understanding of almighty God, His greatness, sovereignty and holiness; learn how to pray fervently and effectively ….
The situation that Elijah was living in and confronted with caused him to seek Gods guidance and direction; therefore, he waited on God to speak and answer his prayers. We should do the same. As we look around and see lost, wounded hurting people, it should lead us to pray earnestly. As we see people denying God’s Word and will, it should challenge us and stir us to pray with all our hearts. As we see the church powerless and ineffective, it should quicken our seeking of God ….
We should however, not let the conditions around us overwhelm us; we need to seek God and rest in Him. It would be easy to get weighed down as we look at conditions around us. The need is staggering and this can be disheartening. Yet, this is why we must seek God. This is why we must run to Him and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. It is only as we run to Him, rest in Him, and pour our hearts out to Him that we can face and deal with the conditions around us and be strengthened to do His will, and to reach the lost ….
Jesus taught us to pray with faith:“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). Therefore, when we pray according to God’s will and with faith in His promises, we need to continue persevering and not lose sight of that which has been asked until God has fulfilled His promise. (1 Kings 18:43-44)
We need to persevere in our prayers. There are however obstacles which hinder the fulfillment of the promise; un-confessed sin separates us from God, so that He will not hear, (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Then there is Satan, and his constant opposition to the plans of God as we see in (Daniel 10:12-13). It may also be that our heart needs to be purified because whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered, (Proverbs 21:13). Whatever it may be, we need to make things right with God and then we need to persevere until the answer comes. We are instructed to always “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
On Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed seven times; the persistent friend at midnight pleaded until he received (Luke 11:5-8). The widow who kept coming to the unjust judge saying: ‘Grant me justice against my adversary,’ (Luke 18:1-5). These are examples of perseverance in seeking answers. So, if we believe the promise of God without doubting, we should pray until we receive the answer, remembering that only perseverance in prayer can triumph.
Keep in mind Elijah had the same nature we have, but he prayed powerfully and effectively. We can do the same. If we learn to persevere in prayer, its fruit will be always more abundant, always more evident, and we shall obtain, as Jesus obtained, which shall bring honor and glory to the Father ….
True power in our lives begins with humility. The greatest blessings come from our obedience. Humbling ourselves before Almighty God can result in His imparted Holiness to us. Consequently, holiness will bring healing, happiness, health, joy, courage, peace and eternal life, just to name a few ….
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)