“Elijah 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
“Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are”; the Holy Spirit is telling us this for a reason – our prayer can be just as effective and powerful as Elijah’s if we are praying in accordance with God’s will. Prayer which is pleasing and honouring to God is that which is lifted up in alignment with His Word and accompanied by faith. “Thy will be done”, what a powerful prayer that is! In order to be able to know God’s will we must be students of God’s Word. Elijah knew Scripture and more importantly he believed it. Deuteronomy 11:16-17 reads “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you”. Elijah trusted God and stood on the authority of His Word, by praying for it not to rain he was simply asking God to bring to pass that which He said He would do if His people turned to serving other gods.
In addition to praying in accordance with God’s Word we are to pray with faith; “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). As Barry pointed out to us this morning, no one can have faith in God without knowing Him. The more we prayerfully read God’s Word the more we get to know Him. Isn’t it wonderful that we worship a God who wants us to know Him, who wants for us to have a relationship with Him? We are told that Elijah “prayed earnestly”. Literally this means that “he prayed with prayer”, a Hebraism for he “prayed fervently”. Is there a fervour, a passion/intensity to your prayers? “that it might not rain”; in the natural this seems like an incredible thing to pray for but there is nothing natural about our God, He is supernatural and nothing is impossible to Him, Hallelujah! God answered this prayer because He is true to His Word; “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself”. (2 Tim 2:13).
Elijah serves a wonderful example to us as to how we should pray, he read what God’s Word said and in faith he prayed for God to bring to pass that which He said He would do. This should prompt each of us into seeing what other things God has said He will do in His Word! Barry’s teaching on the promises of God at the beginning of the year brought out some of the many many promises God has made, we can unlock the door to these promises through faith. What are we waiting for?! The power of prayer cannot be underestimated and it would be a great shame if we don’t make time for it in our own lives. It plays such a crucial role in our own individual walk with the Lord, we cannot piggy back along on the back of the prayers of a spouse or a brother or a sister. The Lord loves us and wants us to make time for Him so He can accomplish His will through us by the power of His Holy Spirit. May He rule and reign in us for His glory!