Read: I Kings 18:41-46 & James 5:13-16
Reflect: The prayer that intensely moved my heart was at the end of a woman’s Bible study. Some of the women were more shy than others in praying out loud so I left it up to them as to how they would participate. One special evening we came to the prayer time, shared prayer concerns, took volunteers for praying for the items and then the woman who was the shyest regarding public prayer piped up and said, “But Jacqui, no one is praying for you” and she offered to pray out loud for me. It touched my heart (in a lovely way) to hear her beautiful honest words blessing me before the Throne of God. She heard my heart and that’s how she prayed. That is the beauty of corporate prayer.
This is the miraculous power of a praying church exhibited in James 5. A church which is in the habit of putting everything on pause in order for members to pray for one another, regardless of whether the circumstances are grave difficulties or rejoicing. A church where there is honest confession of sin and spiritual healing and restoration. A body of believers where it is put into practice believing that: “The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].” (James 5:16b, AMP). Is this still true today, centuries later?
In II Kings 18 Elijah and Israel have endured 3 years of drought – God’s judgment had been on Israel and the drought had been instigated by the prayers of Elijah. In II Kings 18 there had been the showdown with the idol worshippers, God had miraculously displayed Himself, and now Elijah was told to pray for rain. If you read this account, you will note it shows a stubbornly persistent prayer. Elijah knew what God had planned and no matter whether Elijah’s servant saw rain clouds on the horizon or not, Elijah was not going to take “no” for an answer. He believed God would send rain.
The English evangelist, C. H. Spurgeon, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, on Thursday evening, July 2, 1868 used this text as an illustration of the small signs that precede a mighty work of God. He spoke of four “certain signs and tokens for good which prayerful faith clearly perceives when an awakening, a genuine revival is about to come.” Christians should regard the following things as clouds, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea:
- A growing dissatisfaction with the present state of things, and an increasing anxiety among the members of the church for the salvation of souls.
- When this anxiety leads believers to be exceedingly earnest and persistent in prayer.
- When believers begin to take counsel one with another, and to say, “What must we do?”
- When we shall see the doctrine of the individual responsibility of each Christian fully felt and carried out into individual action.
Apply: Is this how you currently carry out your prayer life? Are you chomping at the bit to bring before the Throne of God not only your own brokenness, but the brokenness of those around you, expecting God to do mighty things? Have you prayed in faith, based only on the sighting of “a cloud as small as a man’s hand, coming up from the sea”; absolutely believing that God’s answer is on the way? This is how honest prayer moves a nation and moves a world. Expect God’s torrent to be coming.