Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit....James 5:17-18
If there ever was a time - if you are called by His Name (a real live born-again authentic Christian) to pray - now is that time. James, the Lord's half-brother, did not just insert the Name of the Great Prophet Elijah here for academic reasons. Elijah was ministering unto the Lord, and prophesying against the pagan Northern Kingdom of Israel when this incident happened. Because of the evil idolatrous conduct and their worship of pagan "gods" for over two hundred years, God brought His Judgment down on what was the country ruled by the corrupt Ahab and Jezebel. It was in this context that Elijah "a man with a nature like ours" called out to the Lord, Who, recognizing His faithful servant - responded.
Now, "a nature like ours" simply means the great prophet who never died, had the same feelings of insecurities, fear and even passion for Godly living, as most Christians possess. This man was literally scared for his life as Jezebel promised to kill him, and ran...and literally ran and hid in a cave. "Prayed earnestly" implies that he was devoted, in life and ministry, to prayer.
We are not prophets, as defined by Scripture, but in once sense we are to do what they did magnificently - proclaim the Word of the Lord...such as "thus sayeth the Lord". There have been men with prophetic-like gifts like David Wilkerson, who could read the signs of the times and proclaim "such and such" will occur to America and world, if we do not repent. This remains true. America and the West are completely under the Judgment of God right now, and not even the religious leaders are seeing it or if they did, even worse - they refuse to acknowledge the times!
There are a couple noteworthy things about Elijah and his prayers both to stop the rain, and then to restart it. The lesson therein for us, is that here was a man who is just like you and I in physical person-hood. However, in the spiritual realm, he was completely sold out, committed and obedient to the Lord. Even when he feared for his life, he always did the right thing. His prayer, unlike the faithful Jew in the Southern Kingdom of Judah who had to go to the Temple, had to be made on the fly! He had no God-honoring synagogue or temple to worship in, where he was sent to minister unto the Lord.
So the following lessons are for us from these two verses:
- Even if our churches, church leaders and others are not devoting themselves to prayer in these troubled and evil times - YOU AND I SHOULD. Elijah was a forerunner of one who was indwelled by the Holy Spirit therefore making himself a living temple of the Lord. He was thus, empowered to pray anywhere he was at the time and the Lord (Yahweh, Jesus) would listen.
- Earnest prayer and devotion to the Lord are required of one who is sent out to the home first, and then the community, such as we are. The faith of a mustard seed which can say to this mountain, be thou removed from here to there, is the same faith which each Christian and true believer in Christ possesses. We do have the authority (John 1:12) to approach the Throne of Grace and seek His intervention in the affairs of man. How He responds may not be the way we expect. He may not stop the heavy snowfall in Niagara Falls or Boston, but He will give you and I the capacity to survive it with grace and good humor and good health, because we cannot see the purpose of His plans. We cannot also see the purpose of His thinking. His Ways are NOT our ways. There is currently a group of so-called clergy in the north east who said they are getting together to pray for God to stop the snow. They are from the liberal protestant, liberal reform Jewish community and some muslims - all 13 of them. They all got together to "pray" for God to stop the snow. Sure there has been over 107 inches of snow so far this year in Boston, but can you imagine Elijah praying with the "prophets of Baal" for the rain to either stop or go away? This can never happen....and brings us to the third and final point.
- Elijah prayed AGAIN (after earnestly praying for the rain to stop) and the Lord answered and sent the rain back. First, if we belong to a prayer group, or pray chain or call into one of those increasingly popular prayer conference calls, you and I have to be careful with whom we pray. Since before we had the destruction of 9/11, there has been a growing interfaith movement which is completely lacking in spiritual discernment. A few misinformed Christians as well as those who profess to be, have been promoting the idea that all religions believe in the same "God", just "by a different name". If this were so, God would have to apologize to Himself and rewrite the Scriptures because this is the exact opposite of what His Pure and Precious Word says. There are an host of Bible verses who teach us that God does not hear the prayer of the unrighteous and for this church age, the unrighteous are those who do not believe or, or have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives.
Here are some of them:
John 9:31 - Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
Proverbs 28:9 - He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer [shall be] abomination.
Proverbs 15:29 - The LORD [is] far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Psalms 66:18 - If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]:
1 Peter 3:12 - For the eyes of the Lord [are] over the righteous, and his ears [are open] unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord [is] against them that do evil.
Isaiah 59:2 - But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.
None of these Bible verses give Christians permission to pray with other religions with expectation that the Real God of Heaven will even pay attention. The introduction of Elijah by James the Just (or "Old Camel Knees") at the end of his epistle accomplishes much. It shows both the power of a praying man, as well as the power of THAT praying man, who is exclusively a committed, submitted and faithful servant of the Holy One of Israel, our Father, Who rules the Heavens.
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