Pray earnestly – James 5:17-18

September is the time of year where many sporting seasons begin to wrap up before the heat of summer kicks in. Some of us may have the added motivation of winning finals. But many see the end of the season approach and look forward to the finish – the pre-season excitement that was once there has long gone! It’s very easy to start to go through the motions in training once the buzz of a new season has past. And we’ve all been there. We all know that feeling of a lethargic, half-hearted training session. You get home and can think ‘that was a waste of time’, indeed detrimental to my preparation for the next race or match.

Perhaps lethargy can also enter our prayers for opportunities to share the message of Jesus with our friends? We start rattling of pray-lists and seem like we’re going through the motions. We struggle to detect any faith.

Well be encouraged, firstly, through Jesus act of sacrifice on the cross we have proof that God is full of of love and grace. We have the freedom to simply come before our Father, sit and be filled afresh with his Spirit. There’s no need to feel that we need to sound ‘busy’ before God. Secondly, the bible acknowledges prayer is hard (Romans 8:26).

But let’s remind ourselves of Elijah in James 5:17-18: “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops“.

Earnest Prayer

Earnest Prayer

Sounds amazing! And so easy! But if you read the background to this event in 1 Kings 18 (particularly verses 41-45) you will see that, once Elijah prays for rain (in faith he’s already told King Ahab he can ‘hear’ rain coming!), he has to send his servant to the beach seven times to check for the sight of rain. It would be interesting to know how Elijah prayed each time the servant brought back the report of blue skies. However, even after the seventh time all the servant reported was a ‘cloud the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea’… then, the clouds built up and the rain storm came!

So yes, Elijah had faith but don’t forget, he prayed ‘earnestly’. Let’s continue to devote ourselves to pray for our yet-Christian friends. Let’s, once again, ‘devote’ ourselves afresh to praying in faith for our friends to come to know our Father (Colossians 4:2).