Having moved almost 30 years ago from a job that frequently brought me to the Bahamas – I must admit that living in Scotland these many years has often made me just a tad envious of the efficacious prayer of Elijah to stop the rain for 3 ½ years! However, I am very thankful for the stunning green hills of the Pentlands that are just outside my back door!
1 Ki 17-18 recounts the incredible efficacy of Elijah’s “simple” faith and trust in God’s infinite ability to rule the laws and nature of the universe.
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
Elijah was a prophet during the reign of one of the most (if not THE most) wicked kings in Israel, his name was Ahab. And yet, as bold as Ahab was to sin - so bold was Elijah to rebuke and reprove his sin. Not only that, but Elijah is a man of prayer - he knows how to pray, he knows who to pray to and he knows what to pray for!
English biologist and anthropologist, Professor Thomas Huxley – known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his advocacy of Darwin’s theory of evolution – famously once said: “If the whole universe is ruled by fixed laws, it is just as logically absurd for you to ask me to answer this letter as to ask the Almighty to alter the weather! The belief in the efficacy of prayer depends upon the assumption that there is Somebody somewhere who is strong enough to modify and control the earth and it’s contents.” Huxley did not believe that there was – but Elijah did – and the results were incredible!
And then the NT writer James lifts the prayer life of this great prophet from the pages of Scripture and lands it squarely in our laps as a challenge for us to pray in like manner:
17 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. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (Jas 5:17-18)
Isn’t that interesting – “a human being, even as we are”, praying in faith to a God even as He is!! Huxley didn’t believe it. Elijah did! What about us?
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (Jas 5:16) Do you believe that? If so, then how might it change the way that you pray today and in the days to come? How do you think James meant it to change the way that we pray?
May God help us, and teach us, to pray today! (Lk 11:1)