“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.”—James 5:16–17
This passage of Scripture has always fascinated me. The fact that Elijah was “a man subject to like passions as we are” is intriguing. He was a godly man, but he was still just a man.
On at least three different occasions, Elijah called fire from Heaven. He is most noted for the fire prayed down when he was in a contest with the pagan prophets of Baal. Fire fell from Heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the stones which made up the sacrifice, the wood that was used to provide fuel for the sacrifice, the water that had saturated the sacrifice, and even the dust that was on and around the sacrifice.
We are reminded that his prayer life could not only call fire from Heaven but could control the weather as well. And he was a man—just like us! What does that mean? I think it means that you and I have the same access to the same God that answered his prayer.
There are four things that could elevate our prayer lives to the level of an Elijah:
1. Pray for an Answer
- The Bible uses the word effectual.
- Effectual means “to produce a desired result or effect.”
- Philippians 4:6 says: “Let your requests be made known to God.…”
- It didn’t say how small or how big the request had to be.
- If you need a pencil, pray for a pencil. If you need a million dollars, pray for a million dollars.
- We need to get specific with God.
2. Pray with Assertion
- This is a fervent prayer.
- This indicates that effective praying should be with intensity.
- It may require extra time, maybe with tears.
- Jesus prayed fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane.
3. Pray with Authority
- The Bible speaks here of a righteous man.
- What could help our prayer more than a holy life that is pleasing to God?
- Living for God certainly has its benefits.
- Holiness, purity, and consistent living could open up Heaven’s doors to us.
4. Pray with Anticipation
- The Bible says that this kind of prayer availeth much.
- Why are we surprised when God answers our prayers?
- Connect the dots: Effective, fervent, righteous, faith-believing prayers get Heaven’s attention.
- Elijah was a man just like us. We, too, can get things from God!
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”—James 5:16b