1 Kings 18.45-46
“And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
Prayer matters. Indeed, as the James passage says, prayer is powerful. I love how the Amplified Bible renders the passage: “The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much when put into action and made effective by God. It has tremendous power.”
Elijah, James says, was a man just like us. What distinguished Elijah was the depth of his faith and his perseverance in prayer. He serves as a powerful example to 21st century Christians to be diligent and passionate in prayer.
Is this not what scripture teaches?
Ephesians 6.18 tells us to “pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
I Peter 3.12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.”
I Thessalonians 5.16-19 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.”
Philippians 4.5-7 says, “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We can pray bigger than we think we can. Jesus said that if we have faith and do not doubt, we can move a mountain (Matthew 21.21). Whether the Lord meant this literally or figuratively is not the point. The point is that the Lord invites us to pray for big, even impossible, things.
With God, impossible things are made possible. We can do great things because the Holy Spirit is within us. Our prayers avail much when we push aside our doubts and pray big.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7.7-8)
Scripture is also clear that we must pray with a clean heart and with the right motives. We must confess our sins, we must walk in the Spirit, and we must seek God’s glory, not our own selfish desires.
“You ask and do not receive,” James writes, “because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4.3)
We are living in the days of Elijah. Corruption, idolatry, and immorality are running rampant in our nation. Therefore, we must pray like Elijah.