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 5:17-18 NLT
James, from the text, singled out Elijah as an example of being a prayer warrior. In the first century, the Jews held Elijah in high esteem. In the New Testament, they regarded him as the forerunner of the Messiah. Malachi had prophesied and expected his return. “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives” (Malachi 4:5). Elijah’s name is prominent in all four Gospels. James says, “Elijah was as human as we are.” That remark by James signifies that Elijah was an ordinary human being like anyone else who had to cope with fears, periods of depression, and physical limitations (see 1 Kings 19:1–9). But just like Elijah, we are able to avail ourselves of the power of prayer. The Lord Jesus Christ mentioned in His sermon in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth how Elijah prayed that no rain would fall. “Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land” (Luke 4:25). Then James says referring to Elijah, “when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.” We do not have the power to change the weather. Nevertheless, James presents the prophet Elijah as a man who, through prayer, asked God who has the power to affect the weather. It seemed that Elijah prayed for some time and prayed earnestly. “‘The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, ‘I didn’t see anything.’ Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, ‘I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.’ Then Elijah shouted, “‘Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel’” (1 Kings 18:43–45). As a result of Elijah’s prayer, the drought ended. God listened to the prayer of his servant, ended the dry spell, and gave abundant rain to produce an eventual harvest sufficient for man and his livestock. It is true that we are not heard by vain repetitions, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again” (Matthew 6:7). What God wants from us is to be true, believing in persistence prayer.