17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
18And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Yesterday we found that the effectual, for effect, fervent, heart felt and continual, prayer of a righteous man avails much or makes tremendous power available dynamic in it’s working. The next question is who can be this righteous man or woman. We have already looked at the role of repentance in this scripture. It is important that we confess our sins, first to God and then if necessary to someone to whom we can be accountable.
From God’s perspective we are right with him on the basis of what Jesus did. However when sin is present in our lives it is the sense of righteousness on our side that is compromised. We are the righteousness of God in Christ, but when we allow sin to reign in us we will leave an open door for condemnation from the devil which will hinder our faith. So to be that righteous man or woman I need two things. I need to have faith in the sacrifice of Jesus and what it bought in my life. I also have to be willing to confess my sin and trust in the words of 1 John 9-10 that I will be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. This implies being truly sorry for my transgression not just sorry I got caught.
Once those requirements are filled, do I have to be a super Christian or super spiritual person to qualify for this kind of praying. I don’t believe you do. James tells us that Elijah was a man just like us. He had the same strengths and weaknesses. He had great days of victory such as when he defeated 450 prophets of Baal. He also had bad days such as when he ran from Jezebel. Yet this man changed the whole nation when he prayed.
Once again I am brought back to the element that makes prayer truly effective. Faith. Elijah was not perfect. He simply had faith in God. When his faith was strong his prayers were strong. When his faith was weak so were his prayers, however God did not abandon him. God met him in a cave, gave him instruction and strengthened him for what was ahead.
I want to impress on you today that you qualify to pray powerful prayers of faith that can change things in your world. You may have had some difficult times. You may have been weak in some area of your life. You may need to repent and you may need to get back into the church, but the very fact that you are normal means you qualify to pray as Elijah did.
You may say, “Where do I start.” We will talk more about this tomorrow, but you start where you always start. With the Word of God. Faith comes from the Word. (Rom 10:17) Elijah had the word of the Lord. In 1 Kings 18 we see Elijah coming to the king and telling him it would not rain until he said so. 3 years later we find him coming again to the king and telling him it would rain. Why would he do that. Do you think he just decided that stopping the rain would be a good way to get the kings attention? Then one day he just decided enough was enough and he made it rain again? Of course not. God spoke to him and gave him a word. In response to that Word he prayed and God moved.
Start with the Word. Pray according to the word. Faith will come by the word and your prayers will be like Elijah’s.