Men of the Bible Series - Elijah (James 5:16-18)
James 5:16-18, Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 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. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Elijah truly was a prayer warrior who believed in the power of prayer. He saw God work supernaturally in his life because when he prayed, he prayed earnestly. Elijah’s prayers brought a widow’s son back to life (I Kings 17:20-22), caused it not to rain for three and a half years (James 5:17-18), and that brought fire down from heaven (I Kings 18:36-38). Prayer should be as natural to the child of God as breathing is to the human body, because prayer is the believer’s spiritual breath. The reason so many believers are always spiritually tired and weary is they have been holding their spiritual breath. The Christian who says, "I simply can't find time for prayer," is like the person who says, "I just can't find time to breathe." If we refuse to pray regularly, we will spiritually suffocate.
When God said to pray without ceasing, the word “ceasing” means uninterrupted. The Word “effectual” means to be active. It has the sense of being ‘energized.’ What James is driving at is that effective prayer is fervent and from the heart. When a man will pour out his heart in prayer, God tends to hear the same. Prayer cannot be once a week, or even once a day. It means to have a mind of prayer or an attitude of prayer. To “avail” means to have force or to be of strength. In other words, prayer that is so strong that it accomplishes what was intended. There are things we cannot do that only God can do such as provide, protect, and so on.
We have access to God because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1-2). One of the great tragedies of modern-day Christianity is that we simply do not pray as we should. The Lord has placed all of the power and resources of Heaven at our disposal to do His work, yet we “have not, because [we] ask not” (James 4:2). Prayer is not an empty ritual, nor is it a religious exercise. It’s how a child of God goes to the throne of grace based on the relationship He has freely given us to seek His help which He has promised to give.
Two wives were doing their laundry in a laundry mat. They were both patching their husband’s pants. One wife said, “My husband is so miserable. Nothing goes right at work, and he can’t find anything good on television. Our home is a place of hurt. When we go to church, the song leader is terrible and the pastor is dull. The other wife said “My husband is so excited. He can’t wait to go to church. He loves the sermons. We enjoy our family time.” It got very quiet in the laundry room as the women continued sewing the pants. One was patching the seat of the pants, and the other was patching the knees. Prayer changes marriages, families, ministries, and etc. The success of a father is dependent upon prayer.
According to the Scriptures, God commands us to pray in the following verses: Luke 18:1; 21:36; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; I Thessalonians 5:17; I Timothy 2:1. The Devil cannot keep God from answering our prayers, so he seeks to keep us from praying. He does all that he can to prevent us from prayers. The greatest enemy to answered prayer is unbelief. A lack of faith will always hinder God from working in and through our lives. When we pray, we are not to waver.
Point to Ponder:
If we have faith enough to ask, we should have faith enough to believe that God will hear our need and supply wisdom in every situation.
Question to Consider:
What could the Lord do in and through our families and churches if His people would pray earnestly?
PRAYER: Father, I praise You that I can at anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstance come to You in prayer. My desire is to keep walking continually with You, so that my prayer may be the natural expression of my life with You. In Jesus name, AMEN.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.