James 5:17 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. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Few men have ever had a more powerful prayer life than that of Elijah. What was the secret to his power?
I. ELIJAH’S PRAYERS WERE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE WILL OF GOD
II. ELIJAH’S PRAYERS WERE EFFECTIVE BECAUSE HE PRAYED EARNESTLY
James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly…
Literally this passage says that he prayed in his prayers. What is prayer? The word prayer means to come near in order to make a request. John R. Rice emphasized in his book that prayer is asking and receiving. A passage that he refers to often is Hebrews 11:6 – “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Prayer is more than a way to worship. Prayer is a demonstration of our faith in God who has promised to answer all those who earnestly crave His help and blessings.
Scripture places great emphasis on the importance of our earnestly craving God’s help and blessings. Consider this parable told by our Savior.
Luke 18:2… There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Jesus was not saying that we must hound God in order to get His attention. Nor was He saying that prayer is a way for us to twist God’s arm and force Him to do our will. What then was Jesus saying? If a reluctant judge can be moved by someone’s persistence, how much more can a willing God be moved by the faith-filled prayers of His people!
Elijah was a man who prayed earnestly for God’s will to be done. 1 Kings 18:42 And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, 43 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. 44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
Even though it was the will of God for it to rain, Elijah had to pray seven times before the rain began to form. What does that say to us about the importance of being diligent in our prayers?