In James chapter 5 the Bible instructs on the subject of prayer. As I was studying this chapter today I was encouraged by the 17th verse. James writes:
“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.”
In this same chapter, the Christian is encouraged by the assurance that the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous man avails much. None of us is without sin, but if our hearts are right with God and we are not in a state of loving and regarding sin, we can pray with an expectation of hearing from our God. That is glorious; Amen?
Now, I am not saying that every time a righteous person prays to God he/she is going to get a resounding ‘yes’ from Him. But, I am saying that when we pray with clean hands, steadfastly, pouring out our heart to God, it avails much.
Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary says this about this particular subject:
“This may be encouraging to us even in common cases, if we consider that Elijah was a man of like passions with us. He was a zealous good man and a very great man, but he had his infirmities, and was subject to disorder in his passions as well as others. In prayer we must not look to the merit of man, but to the grace of God. Only in this should we copy after Elijah, that he prayed earnestly, or, as it is in the original, in prayer he prayed.”
Whether your prayers yield miracles, grace, or salvation, I am convinced by this passage that our prayers, when offered in sincerity and with a right heart motive, will not return void. When we pray, we must then remember that our thoughts must be fixed and our desires ardent, all while we exercise in God’s grace. Our minds must be on and for the things of God when we pray. Elijah’s great record of answered prayers were God-honoring victories whether he was praying against the false religion of the prophets of Baal or against an idolatrous persecuting country, his prayers were answered and God was glorified. Elijah’s prayed and God sent fire at Mount Carmel and prior to that when he spoke with king Ahab, he declared himself to be a servant of the Lord God and in God’s name that there would be no rain or dew. God honored that decree and there was no rain in the land for 3 1/2 years!
Elijah was like us, and he was a great example of who and what we must be as Christians. His life and works, in God, were recorded for our knowledge, edification, encouragement, and equipping. When we are looking to God in Christ for answered prayers we too must seek God’s face with faith and hope that He will do great and wonderful things for His name’s sake and glory.
Just one final thought. I love what Elijah prayed at Mount Carmel in front of many who were vacillating between fear and honor of God or man. He made clear at that time that all he did was for the glory or God alone: In 1 Kings 18 Elijah prayed:
“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.”
Be blessed y’all!