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, verses 17-18.
James uses the example of Elijah to make his point that praying is an earnest, active thing. That we should do the same as Elijah did. Gee, that’s nice, except I’m just lowly old me. Elijah is this famous, powerful prophet who humbled kings, called down fire from heaven, and was so special that he never even died. He was simply carried away to heaven in an angelic chariot. Who am I to compare myself to all that?
Um, I hate to tell you this but you need to dispense with that line of thinking. It’s a path to sin. It’s unnecessarily self-deprecating and un-Godly. It’s not for nothing that James uses Elijah as an example. You see, you or I can be the equals of Elijah. That’s the point James is making. It’s the point Jesus was making when He said “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, if you tell a mountain ‘go and move over there,’ it will do so.” Anything is possible through Jesus. Anything is possible through faith in Jesus. Any faith in Jesus is accessed and communicated in prayer with Him.
It wasn’t Elijah who did the miracles: it was God working through Elijah, who had prayed to Him. It wasn’t Peter, Paul, or John who healed people miraculously: it was God working through them, after they had prayed to Him. It wasn’t the doctors who healed my friend (from yesterday): it was God working through them, answering the prayers of those of us who know him. I know a man who earnestly prayed when a tornado was moving towards his home, and the tornado moved away; I believe God heard that man’s prayer.
All of these things happen first because we go to God in prayer. In prayer, anything is possible. It’s a matter of earnestness. For you, maybe that means hours of prayer on your knees in solitude. Or maybe your head bowed in a church pew. My wife says she prays a lot while driving (and, yes, she has her eyes open while doing it, so it’s safe to drive around her). I pray in all kinds of ways, usually a hodge podge of things mentioned above. What way is most earnest for you?
Tell God what you’re thinking. Tell Jesus what’s on your mind, what is bothering you, what you want. Not as a wish. Tell Him earnestly, then know that He hears, then know that, through your prayers to Him, anything you set your mind to can be done. Just like Elijah did.
Lord, hear my prayer.
When did you last pray?
What do you need to do to be earnest?