James 5v16-18 – “Elijah was a human being just like we are. When he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years”
As we look back in our own lives and over the course of history we see that the men and women who God uses are men and women of prayer. James mentions Elijah very briefly but he tells us 3 things about Elijah…”he was a man” “he prayed ” “and he prayed again”
Elijah was a man. I think at times we might overlook this. Elijah was just like us. Known as the fiery prophet yet went through the same struggles, same temptations and everything else we go through. Because as a prophet and a mighty one at that, we forget that he was just like us “open to the same temptations, had the same feelings as we do” he knew fear, failure, hopes, reactions. Elijah was so human even to the point of exhaustion where he sat under a Juniper tree and just wanted to die. I love the Bible for this information as its raw and real and doesn’t try to side step the toughness of life.
The thing about Elijah is he might not have got a mention if it wasn’t for his prayer life. There might have been better prophets around, better speakers, more eloquent but we don’t hear of them. Elijah’s heart was for God and was “very jealous for The Lord of Hosts” and not just in the public eye like on Mt Carmel but he knew that the major work was done in persevering and fervent prayer.
The man and woman of prayer knows the power of God.
His secret – “he prayed earnestly” Back in 1 Kings we read about the drought in the land and behind the drought was this man in prayer and he wasn’t praying for it not to happen but praying that “it might not rain”. Elijah was praying that God would send some kind of judgement on the people because of their rebellion. Q. How can you do that Elijah, what are you praying, you haven’t thought this through, what about all the innocent women and children, animals, business and peoples livelihood. Elijah knew the very heart and mind of God. He thinks about all this but knows that even the worst calamity is a blessing if it saves a nation from ruin.
When the drought had served its purpose, we read about the king and queen and the people were brought to a religious crisis point on Mt Carmel. God would hear Elijah’s prayer in sending rain…and HE did.
This is Elijah knowing the heart and mind of God which greatly affects his praying.
If a fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much under the old covenant how much more can be accomplished under the New Covenant?