Many of the people I know are praying. One person’s prayer can have great impact. But it must be done in faith. “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:15). This does not mean that everyone will get healed. For all prayer is answered according to the will of God (I John 5:14, 15). But this doesn’t diminish the importance of prayer, which is an expression of our dependence on God.
The book of James gives an example of one who prayed and had great results, Elijah. He was a man just like us. “He prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit (James 5:17, 18). This is the example of how an “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
In verse 16 one Greek word translates the two English words, effective and fervent. Simply stated, the prayer of a righteous person is effective. Becasue of the circumstance, it led Elijah to pray earnestly (v. 17). Literally, ‘he prayed with prayer’. It was a Hebrew idiom to express intensity. He had no abilty to make this prayer happen. He couldn’t stop it from raining. He couldn’t make it rain. He was completely reliant on God for the outcome.
A righteous man is not a perfect man. But he is first of all in a right relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. As a result, he is one who is in a right relationship with others. Specifically, he is walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Gal. 5:17). That’s why there is an instruction for the elders to pray for the sick person. Not that all elders walk in the Spirit, but they should be walking in close fellowship with God or else they shouldn’t be elders.
Elijah’s prayer was not only God dependent, but it was also in the will of God (I John 5:15; I Kings 17:1, 18:1). The northern kingdom of Israel had severely departed from worshiping the Lord. Ahab was king. He had married Jezebel, a wicked servant of the false god, Baal. She influenced her husband and the whole nation to worship Baal rather than almighty God.
God would use the lack of rain as judgment on the nation for their evil. A lack of rain caused famine. Famine was one of God’s four severe judgments (Ez. 5:17; 14:21). The judgments were for the purpose of turning the nation back to God.
So Elijah prayed again according to God’s will and God eventually sent rain on the land (I Kings 18:1, 41, 45). That’s the result of one righteous man’s prayer, when prayed according to God’s will.
It’s not about how many people are praying. It’s really about the Lord’s will and the godly energized prayers of righteous men and women; those who are walking in a close relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Christians who love as brothers, are humble, and do not retaliate or revile; but rather bless, have the ear of God (I Peter 3:8, 9). “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” I Peter 3:12
Be a Christian who God hears for the welfare of others and for His glory!
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