Earnest Prayers

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

Lessons from Elijah
Grace McCready

There have been so many moments in my life when I’ve prayed half-heartedly. Even for my strongest desires, I’ve prayed with doubt and despair in my heart, rather than faith in God’s perfect character and His perfect plan for me. Perhaps you, too, can think of a time (or several times) that you’ve allowed doubt to crowd out faith.

We’re commanded to pray with trust in God alone (James 1:6), but how can we do that when we’re hesitant, worried, and even fearful?

Let’s consider the earnest prayers of Elijah.

…Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.” The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.” Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:42-46 NLT)

From this passage, we can pick up on a few things:

  1. Elijah prayed with respect and honor for God. He bowed down, with his face between his knees.
  2. Elijah expected God to act. He sent his servant out to look for a change in the weather.
  3. Elijah didn’t see the effects of his prayers right away, but he kept praying. And he kept sending out his servant until his servant saw a small cloud (i.e., an opportunity for rain).

What is especially interesting about this story is that it’s mentioned in the New Testament—specifically, in the book of James. The Apostle James wrote, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops” (James 5:17-18 NLT).

Wholehearted friends, we, too, must pray with earnestness—with sincerity, intensity, and persistence. Our prayers don’t fall on deaf ears; the Lord hears us when we approach Him with humble, repentant hearts. As James wrote, when a righteous person prays earnestly, those prayers have “great power” and produce “wonderful results” (v. 18). So don’t give up or grow weary of seeking God through prayer.

  Grace McCready enjoys spending time with her family, hanging out with friends, and watching her favorite TV shows. She is the author of Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like. She shares personal stories and Scripture to encourage young women on her blog, Tizzie's Tidbits of Truth.
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