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Let Us Pray: Pray Like Elijah!

Rev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., March 26, 2017
Part of the James series.

For the last several weeks we have been following along with James as he has addressed the subject of prayer (James 5:13-15). On this coming Lord’s Day we will arrive at the final section of the fifth chapter where James seeks to bring his teachings on this subject to a conclusion (5:16-18).

We remember how he has already addressed the situation of believers who are in need, and especially those who are seriously ill. And he has explained how prayers should be offered for those who are in distress with the full expectation that God will answer them according to His will (5:13-15). In the verses we will consider this week, James takes this subject of prayer further as he seeks to impress upon us the great privilege and responsibility of praying to our Father—to the “Father of lights” who delights in giving good gifts to those who love His Son (1:17).

In James 5:16-18, our Lord’s brother offers us a magnificent promise concerning prayer. And again, the purpose is to supply the encouragement we all need for a life of faithful praying and intercession. The promise he offers is this: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (v. 16). Then, to illustrate this promise, James appeals to the prayers of the Old Testament prophet “Elijah” (vv. 16-18).

Let me encourage you to become familiar with Elijah’s amazing story. You’ll find the details in 1Kings 17-18. And as you read, keep in mind that, according to James, the great Elijah was just “a man with a nature like ours” (v. 17).

James 5:16-18

16Confess 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. 17Elias 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. 18And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (KJV)