James 5:17 — “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on earth.”
Fervently is defined by Webster as “exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling.” The type of prayer the writer of James mentions here is a powerfully intense prayer. The KJV says “he prayed earnestly”, and that word earnestly is defined as “showing sincere and intense conviction.” I understand it this way: when Elijah prayed intensely and passionately with a conviction that God could do what he was asking, something powerful happened.
“Yeah, but I’m not a powerful prophet Daniel”… I know! Neither was Elijah. James tells us that he was a man just like you and I. But when a regular man prayed an intense, passionate prayer with conviction and faith, the God of the universe did what was impossible for Elijah to do. Satan has so convinced us of the lie that we are weak and powerless that followers of Christ struggle to hold on to the promises of God. God can and does move mountains, He is still in the miracle working business, and nothing is impossible for Him. (Luke 1:37)
Being powerful in prayer is about praying faith filled prayers. The Scripture tells us that without faith it’s impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Thus, without faith in our prayers they will be powerless and ineffective. Not because our God is powerless or ineffective, but as the Scripture says: if we don’t believe God can, why would He? (James 1:6-9) Before we move on from this thought, understand that faith filled prayers don’t always mean that God is going to move like we expect. For example, if I pray with intensity, passion and faith that God is going to bless me with a brand-new Maserati GT Convertible (MSRP $150,980), I am going to be disappointed.
What gives? I prayed intensely, with passion and faith… why no gorgeous new car in the driveway? No matter how passionate and faith filled, if our prayers are not in God’s will, the answer is no. As you pray today, focus on passionately seeking God with your needs. Pray knowing that not only can He answer your prayers, He wants to… (Matthew 7:11) But also pray knowing that God’s will for your life is perfect (much better than anything we could hope for). Pray powerful prayers and then trust God with the results.
Father, you are the maker of the heavens and the earth. Your power and wisdom are unsearchable and I can’t begin to even scratch the surface of who you are. What I do know is you love me with a love that passes understanding. I come to you today in Jesus’ Name, knowing that not only can you meet my need, but Your Word says that you want to. I confess Lord that without You, nothing else really matters. Help me know that all the superheroes of the faith are just men and women who trusted a faithful God. I can be like Elijah Father and through my faith in Jesus I will see the promises close up that he only ever witnessed from afar. Your will be done Lord, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.