I’ve been leading a men’s study in I Kings this year—and we just finished the section (I Kings 18) where Elijah prays for fire to consume his wet offering (The prophets of Baal had also been asking their “god” for the same result!). But God answers Elijah’s prayer with a consuming fire—along with the destruction of the false prophets! Then, Elijah prays again—this time for rain (note: it hadn’t rained in 3 years!)…and God answered with a drenching rain!!
James tell us, speaking of Elijah, that, “The effective prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much!” (James 5:16). I am challenged with this small—but powerful statement, because my tendency is to trust my efforts—rather than “believe” that God calls me to Himself first (through prayer)…and that His work, accomplished through partnering prayer—has a POWERFUL effect!
I’ve heard it said, God calls us to seek him first…and most! I wish I could say that was true of me—but an honest appraisal of my prayer life would reflect a different assessment: I seek God when…I can’t make it happen–myself! Our study guide made this statement about prayer: “Prayer is raw spirituality; and most of us are not very spiritual!” It seems to me that there is too much of “us” in our belief system: We are too BIG—and Our God is too small!
I challenged our men this morning to NOT leave this lesson on prayer with a guilt- trip that causes us to declare our self-reliance again: I WILL PRAY more! I WILL TRY harder! We need more than self-reliance—we need God’s grace and His enabling power!
When the disciples witnessed Jesus’ prayer life (and compared it with their own) they asked Him: “Lord, would you teach us to pray?” (Luke 11:1). Our lack of belief in God—and our natural tendency to trust our own efforts—need to be brought before the Great Healer. We need to be “re-made and re-newed” by His redemptive power. Jesus is a great teacher when we see Him as He is—and when we recognize our weaknesses—as they are! May God change us as we ask Him for enabling-grace!