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 5:17-18
Elijah was a normal person. Sure he was an extraordinary prophet who called down fire from heaven and was taken up into heaven on an angelic chariot. But he was just a human being.
James takes one of the heroes of the Hebrew faith and pulls us into his company. The same advantages that made Elijah extraordinary now rest on us.
One of them, perhaps the most important, doesn’t even get mentioned in this passage. Elijah was given God’s Spirit to pursue God’s call for him and God’s mission on earth. Elijah’s prophetic work was work done in the power of God’s Spirit. And that same Spirit now fills each and every one of us who have placed our trust in Christ.
What’s more, that Holy Spirit gives us both faith and courage. Faith to believe that God can do remarkable things. Courage to pray that he’d do remarkable things right here, right now.
Elijah prayed earnestly for years. And his prayers had effects that lasted for years. This wasn’t one-off, in-a-moment praying. This was consistent, persistent, risky prayer. Unless God intentionally acted, the things Elijah prayed for wouldn’t come to pass. Chance, luck and coincidence had no chance of bailing him out. He had to rely on God.
And so do we.
We have to rely on God when we pray big, risky prayers. Pray for your kids or your boss. Pray for your city or your nation. Pray for justice and reconciliation. Pray for transformation. Pray prayers that are so big that there’s no way chance, luck or coincidence can bail you out.
Where are you praying big, risky prayers? Where is God calling to you to pray a bigger and riskier prayer than you’ve ever prayed before?