James 5:17-18 NKJV – Elijah’s effectual prayers

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

Elijah held the special office of Old Testament prophet, but he shares a common humanity with all believers. His effectual prayer life is a model for all.

Drought comes because there is an absence of rain. This leads to hardships for those who are affected by it. It certainly affects the ability for things to grow. Crops produce necessary food. I can’t even imagine the feeling of not having the needed rain and being short of food to eat for three years and six months. Sometimes I get cranky when I have to postpone my lunch time due to work. Forgive me Lord!!!

But Elijah knew in the power of God as a result of prayer. He knew that God could stop the rain and he also knew God could restore the rain. How much faith do we have that God will answer our prayers and move in our circumstances? Effective prayer depends on faith, especially on our willingness to believe and trust God’s faithfulness to the promises given to us in His Word.

Faith is necessary in order to approach God. “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 NKJV) This verse is foundational to an effective prayer life. We must believe that God is…and He rewards those who diligently come before Him in prayer. Elijah had faith. The same faith as this verse proclaims we also must have.

Earnest prayer is characterized by commitment. Earnest prayer says, “I will not move from prayer Lord until You move.” It’s just like someone said…pray through until you get a breakthrough. I believe that. Earnest prayer takes a lot of hard work. The answer to our prayers may not come immediately. So we have to continue in prayer; minute by minute, hour by hour, day after day, until God answers. This requires patience, determination and, at times, a willingness to wrestle with God for the desired outcome. “O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You.” (Psalm 88:1 NKJV)

God is the hearer of prayer…”O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.” (Psalm 65:2 NKJV) And God has promised to answer prayer. So I ask again, how much faith do we have to believe that God hears our prayers and will answer them? I think the prayers of Elijah were pretty big. Don’t you? So this leads me to believe that God is and will reward those who diligently seek Him with BIG prayers just as Elijah did.

Friend, where is your faith today? Do you have a need that you believe is too big for God to hear and answer? I can tell you that Elijah knew in whom he believed. He prayed big, bold prayers and he trusted God. When you pray you can absolutely believe that God hears you. When you seek Him with all of your heart, the Bible says you will find Him. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13 NKJV) Come to God today with your big prayer, your big need, your healing, your restoration, your deliverance, and even your eternal salvation. Humble yourself today and pray. God is ready to hear you and answer you.

Precious Lord, thank You that You hear us when we pray. Lord, Elijah had faith to call upon You in earnest prayer. You answered him. Help us Lord to understand that Elijah is no different than any of us. We, too, can come to you in earnest prayer expecting You to answer. Help us to remain committed in prayer and patient as we pray. Forgive us Lord when we quit just short of Your answer. We love You Lord and give You praise. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Kings 18:41-46 NKJV – Prayer is a habit to be cultivated.

Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.”  So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.”  Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’”  Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

I’ve written about the faith of Elijah before in this devotion.  But God has really purposed my heart to write again, but this time on the need for consistent and persistent prayer.  I pray that this devotion blesses you as well.

 

Though Elijah had the office of an Old Testament prophet, he shares something common with all believers.  His effectual prayer life is a model for us.  James 5:17-18 (NKJV) says, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produces its fruit” Prayer is a habit to be cultivated.  It is a discipline to be developed.  It is a skill to be practiced.  Elijah was persistent in prayer and He expected to hear an answer from God.

Effective prayer depends on faith and the willingness to trust in God’s faithfulness to His promises.  Scripture tells us, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV)  Faith is necessary in order to approach God.  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)  And faith is necessary for effective prayer.  “So Jesus answered them and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea’, it will be done.  And what things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Elijah was effective in prayer because he believed.  He knew of the supreme power of God over all things.  Elijah believed and God moved.  An answer to prayer may not come as we want or expect.  But we need to be consistent and persistent in prayer.  We cannot give in or give up.  Jesus even taught his disciples to be persistent in prayer.  “And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he  will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?  I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.  So I say to you, 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 he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:5-10 NKJV)

God has promised to answer prayer.  Prayers for any need we might have and certainly prayers for the needs of others.  Elijah knew in the power of God to answer prayer.  We have to ask ourselves this question, “Do we believe that God is never changing and the same yesterday, today, and forever?”  If our answer is, “Yes”, then we must also believe as Elijah did.

Friend, there is nothing God likes more than answering your prayers and seeing His will be carried out in your life.  When we connect with God in our prayers and believe that He resides in each and every word of that prayer, then we can have the confidence that Elijah had when he prayed.

Lord, Elijah was a man like us and he prayed and You answered.  Help us Lord with our unbelief.  Forgive us Lord when we think that our prayers are too large or too complicated or someone else needs their prayer answered first.  Lord, You are no respecter of persons.  Each and every prayer is important to you.  You said for everyone who asks receives, who seeks finds, and who knocks it will be opened.  Teach us Lord to believe that all of Your promises are Yes and Amen.  Praying hard is hard work.  Strengthen us Lord to remain consistent and persistent in our prayers until You bring a breakthrough.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!