“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:17-18). James, in his epistle, wrote these words to underscore his previous point that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
This Elijah the prophet was a righteous man, but he was not perfect. Remember the time the woman Jezebel sent him a message and threatened to kill him? What did the great prophet do? He told God he’d had enough, and he just wanted to die (see 1 Kings 19:4). I believe many of us can relate to Elijah. Though our norm is to feel strong and victorious in God, at times we can experience a sense of defeat.
Anyway, this Elijah is the same man who prayed for it not to rain and it did not for 3-1/2 years. Then he prayed again, and the rain resumed. Based on the duration of the drought, we know this was not a coincidence. It was the direct result of a man who was righteous but not perfect, earnestly praying. Similarly, those of us in Christ are righteous but not perfect—not literally perfect, that is. Still, the Bible says our prayer is powerful and effective.
If you are a Christian, I am speaking to you via this blog post. You are a righteous man or woman not because of what you do but because of what you believe. When we place our faith in Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, God declares us a righteous person. That’s how He sees us when we pray. And because of that, our prayer is powerful and effective.
The words “powerful and effective” in the verse quoted above are the rendering of the word ɛνεργεω (pronounced en-er-GE-oh). This word means “to be operative” or “to work.” That’s it! Prayer works. When we pray to God in faith, we are not simply going through a religious exercise. But we are accomplishing something that’s powerful and effective.
That’s what the Word of God says. But the question is, do we really believe that? I’m sure that if you ask most Christians that question, their answer would be yes. But our true conviction about prayer is not reflected in our words but in our actions. If we truly believe that when we pray, it is powerful and effective, we will be passionate about prayer.
Copyright © 2016 by Frank King. All rights reserved.