Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
James 5:17-18 (ESV)
James uses Biblical history to point out the power of one of God’s people praying. Elijah being a man, prayed and God responded. God stopped the rain when he prayed the first time and brought the rain again after he prayed a second time. Between prayers God stayed the rains. James uses this as historical evidence that God hears our prayers and answers them.
James wants his readers to understand that God does answer prayer. He knows that there are those that would doubt, so he provides evidence. Today we too can see through Biblical history, that God answers prayer. Yet we sometimes doubt that he will answer our prayers. James deals with doubters early on in his letter; “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8 He says a doubter is double minded, and unstable, wow that puts our doubting into perspective doesn’t it.
We must ask believing that our Father in heaven will respond. Many years ago a family member was gravely ill, following an accident. So on a Sunday evening I asked the church to form a circle, join hands and pray with me for this person. They all did, and I prayed fervently for this person to be healed. When the prayer was finished a member of the church approached me and told me to be prepared to face the fact that God may not heal this person. He had his doubts, but I didn’t. A short time later I received a call that the person we had been praying for had come out of the coma. God heard and he responded.
When my faith in prayer waivers, I think back to that day and remember to be single minded and stable in my trust in God to answer my prayers. Remember that you may be surrounded by doubters, but you don’t have to be one of them. Trust in God, not man’s opinion.
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman