Does prayer really accomplish anything? How do I have faith my prayers will be answered? Those are good questions that aren’t without an answer. James 5:16 tells us that the “prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” and then demonstrates the awesome power released through prayer using the story of Elijah, an Old Testament prophet.
Although Elijah was a mighty prophet, he was also human, just like you and me. He faced the same human emotions and weaknesses we face, yet God still worked miraculously through him. One minute, Elijah was calling upon God to send fire down from heaven, and the next minute he was in fear running from his enemies, forgetting the power of God he had just witnessed (1st Kings 19). Despite his human weaknesses, his prayers were so powerful and effective that when Elijah prayed that it would not rain, God answered his prayer by closing the heavens for three and a half years. And when he determined it was God’s will for the rain to fall again, he prayed one more time, and God opened the heavens.
Elijah, an ordinary person like you and me, opened the heavens with his prayers! His prayers accomplished much! They were effective because Elijah was a righteous man; he was declared right with God through his faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
Elijah was so confident in God that he not only prayed bold prayers but also believed that God would answer them. After Elijah prayed for it to rain, but before there was a single rain cloud in the sky, he told Ahab, the King, to “go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain” (1 Kings 18:41). He called things that weren’t as though they were; he saw the rain through his spiritual eyes: Elijah believed God would make it rain, and God made it rain.
Our prayers can be as powerful and as effective as Elijah’s. We serve the same God as Elijah. The same Spirit that rested on Elijah lives in us, and like Elijah, we are declared righteous through faith. Our righteousness comes through our faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.
So what kind of prayers will you pray today? Will you step out in faith and pray big, bold heaven-opening prayers – prayers for that breakthrough, prayers for that stronghold you need to be broken? Say, yes! God can and will DO IT!