From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on James 5:17

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.               NKJV

Thank God that Elijah was just like us! He sat under a tree, as you and I have often done; he complained to God as we have often done, and expressed his unbelief—just as we have often done. Yet this was not the case at all when he was truly in touch with God. Though Elijah was a man just like us, yet “he prayed earnestly.” What is the lesson here? For the child of God, there is power in earnest prayer.

Climb to the top of Mount Carmel, and see that remarkable story of faith and sight. The man who had prayed for fire to fall from heaven could bring rain using the same method—prayer. Elijah bowed with his face between his knees (I Kings 18:42), shutting out all sights and sounds. He put himself in a position beneath his robe where he could neither see nor hear what was happening.

Elijah then said to his servant, “Go and look toward the sea.” (I Kings 18:43). The servant went and came back, and said, “There is nothing there!” We would likely say, “It is just as I expected!” and stop praying. But did Elijah give up? No, in fact six times he said to his servant, “Go back.” Each time the servant returned saying, “There is nothing!”

Yet the seventh time he went, the servant reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand.” What a fitting description, for a man’s hand had been raised in supplication before the rain came, and shortly afterward, the rain came down in torrents. This is a tale of faith and sight—faith cutting itself off from everything except God; sight that looked and yet saw nothing. Yet in spite of seeming hopeless reports received from sight, faith goes right on praying.

Do you know how to pray that in way—how to prevail in prayer? Let your sight bring you reports as discouraging as is possible, but pay no attention to them. The living God, our heavenly Father, is still the sovereign ruler over all of creation, and even the delays of answers to our prayers spring from His goodness.

Each of three young boys once gave a definition of faith that illustrates the importance of tenacity. The first boy defined faith, “taking hold of Christ”, the second as, “keeping hold of Christ”, and the third as, “not letting go of Christ.”                       L.B. Cowman

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