Summary: Powerful prayer of the Elijah, a man just like us.
Powerful Prayer of a Simple Man
James 5:17, 18
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Elijah was an ordinary man but why was his prayer powerful?
What common characters do we share with Elijah?
Can our prayers be powerful too?
Or do we need to be a prophet for our prayers to be answered?
These are some of the common questions that come to our mind – this sermon will explore the nature of Elijah and the nature of his prayer.
One of the preliminary points that we need to understand is that a number of times we don’t know the power of our prayer. A story is told about a small village in Scotland which was known for its moral life since that little village never had a bar. It so happened that a business man studied the area and decided to run a bar and the turn out of people was great and the village started loosing its charm. The local church decided on a prayer rally and began praying for the bar to be closed and one fine day the bar burnt to ashes because of some mishandling of the fire equipments. The bar owner knew that the church prayed and that’s why an untoward incident took place so he lodged a complaint to the police and sued the church. The case came for hearing and the pastor was called to share his views and the pastor denied that they prayed. The judge listened to it and made a comment he said, “The bar owner believes in prayer whereas the pastor and his congregation did not.”
This is exactly what happens to some of our prayers we deny the power that our prayers can bring.
This puts us into the idea with Elijah we do share the common traits that Elijah had.
Elijah was like us…
1. Self-made: 2 Kings 1:8
They replied, "He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist." NIV
He was a self-made man with his own special appearance unlike the others I am sure almost all of us to some extent are certainly self-made we don’t try to look the way the others look or even think the way the others think either. This is because God wanted us to be unique. And therefore we are. Elijah was like us…
2. Self-hate: 1 Kings 19:3,4
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. NIV
The next aspect that we share with the prophet is self-hate. Like Elijah we also most of the time say we have had enough and we are not worth living and should die. A man who challenged the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah and won over them is at a point where he does not want to live any longer. The reason is he was no better than his ancestors so it is true with us also, we compare ourselves with others and we say we are no better than them and therefore it is quite ok to die. Elijah was like us…
3. Self-glorification: 1 Kings 19:10
He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." NIV
Self-glory is the next aspect we share with Elijah, when there were many others true prophets the Lord had preserved for Him; Elijah makes an exclusive claim that he was the one and only one who was zealous for the Lord. I am sure we too make such claims and are proud about it. Elijah was like us…
If Elijah was like us…in all these aspects what made his prayer very special let’s look at the application of the scriptures.
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain."
42 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.