“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” (James 5:17-18).
This passage sort of runs against our assumptions. We tend to think that Elijah was a special super-human messenger who lived under unusual circumstances. To be sure, Elijah was an unusual man who lived in difficult days, but he actually was a person like us in many ways.
For example, he “was a man with a nature like ours.” He ate, drank, and grew tired just like us. We also share spiritual qualities with Him. He believed God, but also doubted at times. This passage in James provides the secret to Elijah’s prayer success: he persisted.
Elijah no doubt prayed often, and waited on God in prayer for long stretches of time. He counted on God, and must have made prayer a constant practice in his life. If he shared our nature like the verse says, then he may have wavered at times like we do. But he stayed on God, or relied on Him. His marvelous public triumphs were preceded by hours in the presence of God.
We can experience a similar triumph in prayer by praying often. God reserves the right to answer as He chooses, and He will not answer us against His will (1 John 5:14-15), but Scripture focuses on God's willingness to answer and we need to believe God. The unstable person will doubt and cannot expect to receive much from God (James 1:6-8), but if we pray in faith, we can expect a good outcome. We may not receive the answer we expected or even prayed, but God will give us something better. We need to keep praying and not give up (Luke 18:1).
1. Trust God to answer your prayers.
He will answer, but faith and persistence carries a sure reward. When we wait for God to respond, we demonstrate faith in Him, and God rewards faith (Hebrews 11:6).
2. Resurrect some old prayers you gave up on long ago.
You may have concluded that God did not want to answer you, but did you wait on Him? We need to be thankful that God does not run the universe based on our timetables, or we would all be in trouble. He answers when He will and how He will. But He will answer us, particularly those who wait on Him and trust Him.
3. Pray with, and for others.
When even several gather together, God promises to draw near (Matthew 18:20). God will grant us joy and deepen our faith as we pray for others.
Keep praying to God for those needs you have and for matters that need His attention. Though God answers in His own time, He will faithfully respond with just the right answer, and we will rejoice.
Posted on Thu, April 21, 2016
by Sam Petitfils