Lord, Bring the Rain


“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. 17 Elijah was a human being as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit.” -  James 5:16-18

 

James was known by the early church as “Camel Knees” due to the rough callouses he developed through hours spent in prayer. Maybe you’ve known an incredible prayer warrior whose pleas seemed to have a direct line to the Father. You might not think your prayers are as valuable or meaningful. Read James 5:16-18.

When you read the word righteous, you might think, “That’s not me.” You’re right. “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). None of us qualifies. “…all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6).

The only One righteous is Christ. When He died on the cross, He took our sin on Himself, so that our sins could be forgiven. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains it like this: “He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Bottom line? If you are a follower of Jesus, you have been made righteous through only one thing: His sacrifice. Because of this, your prayers can be powerful and have a great effect.

James must have known his readers would struggle to identify as righteous, so he gives an example. Look at Elijah! A sinner, just like you and me. He had no righteousness of his own apart from God. “Elijah was…as we are…” and yet his prayers were powerful and accomplished much (James 5:17).

Elijah didn’t half-heartedly mumble a prayer. He prayed earnestly. Intensely. Elijah was so in step with God that God led him to pray for the rain to stop, and then for the rain to start, at the times God already had planned to do so.1 Elijah didn’t arbitrarily decide a drought should come. Rather, he allowed God to lead him as he prayed, and he was then able to pray within the will of God.

Consider your prayers. Do you take the effort to connect with Father, or do you just spout off a laundry list of what you would like Him to do for you? Do you take time to get to know Him? Do you ask Him to lead your prayers, and then pray in response to His leading?

These are hard questions. Don’t feel discouraged if your prayers are lacking. Rather, be encouraged—if your prayer life is dull and feels like a chore, there is so much more to experience! This is something worth seeking. James 5:16 in The Amplified Bible reads like this: “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].”

1 Thomas D. Lea., “James,Holman New Testament Commentary, (Nashville, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999).

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.