“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. 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 5:16-18]
The Book of James shows readers how to live a Christian lifestyle. Towards the end of his book, James focuses on prayer. Prayer is such a huge part of faith, and I find it easy in my life to overlook. James 5:16-18 shows us the power of prayer, and paints a beautiful picture of prayer rooted in community.
WHAT DOES IT SAY?
First of all, the verses about Elijah praying and it not raining for three and a half years is WILD (It’s actually one of my favorite passages, so check out 1 Kings 17-18. It’s good). Stop and think about that. Imagine if you prayed for a three year drought, and God stopped the rain. That’s a powerful prayer. That’s the kind of prayer that can only be accomplished by one of the Biblical “all-star Christians” right? WRONG. Verse 17 of James 5 says “Elijah was a man just like us.” Another version (NASB) says “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.” This teaches that Elijah was not somehow a better Christian than us who was able to pray big prayers and convince God to answer them in a way we cannot. He had the same sinful nature as you and I. To me, this is so encouraging because it shows me that I can pray in faith and God will listen. And so can you. You don’t have to be perfect to pray.
We get to talk to God! The Creator of heaven and earth. This is who we get to talk to when we pray! The fact that the God and Creator of the universe not only listens to our prayers, but actually wants us to pray to Him is mind-blowing. So I want to challenge you to pray big. I truly believe praying big prayers honors God. Have faith that He can do what seems impossible. Think of that one thing in your life that you would do anything to see happen. It could relate to a broken relationship, a hopeless situation, the salvation of a friend, or a number of other things. Think of that one thing that if God did, it would blow your mind. Now pray for that. Ask God to move in your life and ask Him to give you the faith to believe it.
Father, help me to pray big prayers. Move in my life powerfully. Show me Yourself when I pray, and may I get to know you more and more deeply as I pray. Thank you for loving me and wanting a relationship with me. Amen.
P.S.- I find it interesting that verse 16 starts by “Therefore confess your sins to each other...so that you may be healed.” James shows us that confession to other trusted Believers brings healing to our lives. Feeling captive, hurt, hopeless, or broken in sin? Confess your sin to a mentor, a small group leader, or trusted friend. See what happens! God provides healing when we humble ourselves and expose our sin!