Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Prayer in the life of Elijah (part 3)

Righteous Prayer
The latter part of James 5:16 states, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James then gives an example of such a prayer. The example he gives is the prayer of Elijah to stop the rain. The righteousness of Elijah is seen specifically in the motive behind his request of God for a famine. The book of I Kings tells us Israel had abandoned the one true God and become infatuated with Baal worship. Elijah detested this false worship and wanted to see the pure worship of the true God restored so much that he was willing to pray for a drought and resulting famine to strike his country. Elijah most certainly would have known how devastating this request would be if answered by God. He most certainly would have known that a drought of this magnitude and duration would cause the death of many of his fellow countrymen. Yet his passion for God’s glory and his hatred of sin caused him to see that something drastic was needed to bring his nation back to the pure worship of Yahweh. Elijah almost certainly knew the message it would send to those who worshiped Baal if the rains were stopped. Baal was worshiped as the storm-god, the one who was in charge of the rain. Elijah prayed specifically that Baal would be exposed as a fraud. When he prayed he went for the jugular. Elijah prayed that God would show His power and glory in a dynamic and drastic way.
The Lord heard and answered Elijah’s prayer because he was righteous. This righteousness was shown through Elijah’s hatred of sin and obedience to God. The Scriptures are in agreement that it is the prayers of the righteous that God hears and answers (Prov 15:29; I Pet 3:12). Let us not forget the requirement of a righteous life and heart for effective prayer!

by His grace, for His glory

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