Pray Earnestly
By Marilynn Chadwick

“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly.” —James 5:17 NIV

Elijah prayed earnestlyThe phrase prayed earnestly comes from two words meaning “to pray” and “prayer.” Elijah “prayed with prayer.” This unusual expression indicates intensity. Elijah prayed hard. He got results. When Elijah prayed, things happened.

Elijah prayed that God would give a wake-up call to the unfaithful, Baal-worshipping children of Israel by withholding rain from their land. God answered Elijah's prayer, and it didn't rain for three-and-a-half years! Then Elijah had a showdown with 400 demonized prophets of Baal in what has been called the “Super Bowl of faith.” Afterward, he prayed that God would restore rain to the land, and it began to pour!

The stories of Elijah’s prayer exploits are some of my favorites – he’s one of my mentors in prayer. James 5:17 reminds us that Elijah was ordinary. But his prayers were not.

“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. 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).

What were the “Elijah factors” that gave super-power to his prayers?

  1. Whenever Elijah heard the word of the Lord, he obeyed. Even if that meant hiding in a brook and receiving his food from ravens (1 Kings 17:1-6).
  2. He had courage to stand alone against the prophets of Baal and the wayward Israelites.
  3. When he fell into despair after Queen Jezebel’s murderous threats, he sought the Lord. When Elijah had a breakdown, he knew where to run. He ran to God.

In short, Elijah was a powerful man of prayer because he heard and obeyed the voice of the Lord. This kind of intimacy with God is available to each of us. Elijah was human just like us. But he prayed earnestly. Will we?

Lord, forgive my limp and shallow prayers. Sometimes I pray as if I don’t expect an answer and wouldn’t recognize one if it hit me between the eyes! Help me to listen for your voice. Elijah prayed big and bold. Help me today to listen to your Word. Make me quick to obey your voice... no matter what.


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