PRAYING EFFECTIVELY

House of Prayer
Nov 15 · 5 minutes read

And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:41-46 NIV)

Israel had been reeling under the effects of a severe famine for three and a half years. The people, who depended heavily on the seasonal rains for their crops and food, were being punished by God for their unfaithfulness to Him and their pursuit of false gods. All this was taking place in accordance with the word of the Lord delivered through Elijah, His prophet.

Having brought the people finally to a place of repentance and surrender after a huge confrontation with the false prophets of Baal and Asherah on Mount Carmel, Elijah knew that it was now time for the famine to end and the rains to return. He understood very clearly that this was the will of the Lord for the nation. But he also knew that there were certain requirements he had to fulfil in order for this great plan to be birthed into reality.

The prayer of Elijah is an inspiration and example to us. James too, in his letter, draws out lessons from his life in order to help believers pray effectively and experience the fulfillment of God’s plans.

Elijah prayed earnestly (1 Kings 18:42).

His was no sloppy or ordinary praying. It was sacrificial and serious. First, he climbed to the top of the mountain; and then, he bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. In these two acts could be seen his heart’s attitude and aspiration. He was earnest to the core.

To see God’s purposes accomplished in our lives, we must seek the Lord ‘diligently’ (Hebrews 11:6).  Our prayer must be whole-hearted and sincere.  Repeatedly, the Scriptures tells us that the Lord is near to all who call upon Him ‘in truth’ (Deuteronomy 4:29; Psalm 145:18; Jeremiah 29:13). He satisfies the hungry with good things, and sends the rich away empty-handed (Luke 1:53).

When the apostle Peter was in prison awaiting execution by King Herod, the church got together and prayed earnestly unto God (Acts 12:5). Similarly, Epaphras, the messenger of the Gospel to the Colossians, constantly wrestled in prayer for them that they would stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured (Colossians 4:12).

Elijah prayed confidently (1 Kings 18:41, 43).

There was certainty in his prayer. Even before there was any sound or sight of rain, Elijah announced its onset to King Ahab and then directed his servant to go and look for its arrival. What gave Elijah this confidence and assurance?  It was his clarity or surety regarding the will of God.

To pray with confidence, it is important to discern and understand the heart of God. The Scriptures and the Spirit are two means through which God reveals His will and communicates His mind to us.

It is such prayer made with faith that will be answered by God. A person who prays from a heart filled with doubt and double-mindedness cannot expect to receive anything from Him (James 1:6-8).

Elijah prayed persistently (1 Kings 18:43-46).

It was a prayer made with the determination to see results.  Elijah pressed on in prayer till he received the answer.  Even though he had every reason to be disappointed and discouraged, he continued to send his servant to look for the sign of rain.  Finally, the seventh time, there was the report of a cloud formation in the sky.

Many ‘start praying’ but only few ‘pray through’. When the situation seems to get worse, despair and frustration sets in. The Enemy whispers his lies that praying to God is useless and will not make any difference. We must be on guard here and not give in to him.

Jesus taught us to be persistent in prayer, to pray and not give up (Luke 18:1). Infact, in the verse, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”, the words ‘ask’, ‘seek’, and ‘knock’ are in the present continuous tense- which implies the need to ‘continually’ ask, seek and knock till the prayer is answered (Luke 11:9).

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you!

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