2024 21 Day Fast Devotional — Day 12: Prayer is Used by Ordinary People
”…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.“ – James 5:16b – 18 (NLT)
No matter if you have been walking with the Lord for a short time, or many decades, there’s no doubt you will encounter situations that seem impossible and beyond your ability to pray. Even during this fast, you may believe God for a breakthrough in an area or healing, but your prayers may feel like toothpicks being thrown at the walls of Jericho.
One of the ways the enemy tries to discourage us from praying is to get us thinking that the Lord only answers prayers from those who have a PhD. in prayer, pastors, or spiritual giants in our minds. What is so affirming and encouraging about today’s text is that the Bible assures us that God uses ordinary people like us to pray in His power!
The writer James recounts an absolutely incredible story from 1 Kings 17-18, of how Elijah prayed audacious prayers, and with pleasure, God answered. It’s very easy for us to read these passages and say, “I don’t have the faith to pray like that”, or “Elijah must have had some special connection to the Lord for Him to answer like that.” But that’s what is so profoundly encouraging because the Holy Spirit wants us to know one thing first when we pray: Elijah was as human as we are. He was flesh and bones like us, and had weaknesses blind spots, and faced difficulties and temptations just as we do. But the Bible tells us that God uses the foolish things to confound the wise and the weak things of the world to put to shame the strong! God really uses ordinary vessels to display His power and glory!
So, from these short passages, what else does praying down God’s wonders take? We read that his prayers were earnest. Earnest means with energy, fervency, and work. This ordinary man prayed with fervor and passion. His fervency stemmed from his faith in God – that nothing was too hard for the Lord! Earnest prayers keep pressing into a matter until there is a breakthrough. When Elijah prayed for the rain to come back, it records that seven times he pressed in until the rain finally came. And lastly, we see that the Bible says that the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power. This doesn’t mean that we are expected to be perfect in order to pray, but a righteous person stays near to the Lord His ways and always allows the work of the cross to be the source of his righteousness.
Prayer and Reflection:
If you believe that your prayers hold no power and that God does not hear your prayers, take time to break agreement with that lie, in the name of Jesus. Don’t allow the enemy to keep you from praying, believing, and drawing near to Jesus. Then, take a prayer request that seems impossible and press into prayer for it. Return to that prayer as many times as necessary throughout the day and this week. God hears, and He loves to answer our prayers, offered in faith!