The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. 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. James 5:16b-17
Rain-stopping prayer–that’s the kind of prayer life most of us would like to have. In reality, we often describe our prayer lives as inconsistent and feeble. I hear many Christians say that they would pray more if they knew what to pray for. A quick remedy for this would to be to check the latest news headlines. Truthfully, there is no shortage of things to pray for; what’s lacking is faith in God’s promise to answer our prayers. In these moments, our prayer should be “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).”
1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Perhaps the reason some of our prayer go unanswered is because we are asking that God would bless our will instead of “Thy will be done.” It is a tremendous blessing to be able to approach the God of the Universe through Christ in prayer. Not only that, but God hears us! With this in mind, may we boldly approach the throne of grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:16)
Make no mistake; prayer is work. It is glorious, worthwhile work, but it is work nonetheless. In the introduction of his book, “Christ in the School of Prayer” Andrew Murray writes, “when we learn to regard [prayer] as the highest part of the work entrusted to us, the root and strength of all other work, we shall see that there is nothing that we so need to study and practice as the art of praying aright.” Whether we are praying through Scripture, attending a prayer meeting, or praying quietly to ourselves for the soul of our neighbor, may we never lose sight of the power and privilege of prayer. It is essential to our spiritual formation.