Praying According to God’s Will
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 5:16b-18)
Closing out this section on prayer, James states how powerful prayer can be. Now, it is debated by translators on what exactly James was emphasizing, whether it was to focus on the effect of prayers by righteous individuals or that being righteous was required to pray powerful prayers, both of which can be applicable lessons. What we can for sure know about effective prayer are two things. One, a person who is righteous must be in prayer. Prayer allows the individual to learn God’s will for their life. With that knowledge, it is up to the person to obey God’s leading or not. Therefore, as Lea says, “A person must have a living faith shown by an obedient life.” Second, an effective prayer has perseverance. Anders states, “Effective prayer comes from the heart of a believer whose passion is to see the will of God worked out in life.”
James then gives Elijah as an example of a righteous person who had an effective prayer life in verses 17 and 18. Now, James notes that “Elijah was a human being as we are,” meaning that he had all the weaknesses and temptations that we all face. Yet, he “prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land.” This story is found in 1 Kings 17 and 18, in which Elijah followed God’s will and knew exactly how long to wait to pray for rain. Going back to Anders, “Elijah knew the will of God so intimately that he could understand the exact time when the divine purposes were to occur. He was able to perceive when God wanted to begin and end the drought.”
Just like Elijah, we too must walk with God daily, pursuing His will for our lives. And when we know what His leading, we should strive to be righteous as He is righteous and be obedient to His direction and leading.
Isaac De Guzman