Thursday, June 14, 2007
Prayer in the Life of Elijah (Part 6)
James 5:17 states that Elijah prayed “earnestly”. In the Greek this phrase is literally translated, “he prayed with prayer.” This emphatic construction illustrates that Elijah did not treat prayer lightly. Everything he had was employed in prayer. This characteristic of Elijah’s prayer certainly comes through in the Old Testament account as well. When he prayed to God to raise the widow of Zarephath’s son from the dead, it doesn’t say that he just passively prayed. He cried out to the Lord. Then he stretched himself out on the dead boy. Again he cried out to the Lord with words of fervent passion to raise this boy from the dead. He repeated this three times. Elijah was a man of earnest prayer.
Too often the understanding of prayer in the church today is that it is a cold, rigid, passive ritual. It is difficult for fervent prayer to be cultivated with this mindset. This is not the kind of prayer exemplified by Elijah. Let us be challenged by his example. Let us engage all of our emotions, our intellect, and even our bodies when we enter into prayer. Let our prayers be characterized by urgent earnestness.