Prayer changes things!
When the fledgling church in Jerusalem gathered, they prayed, God heard, and things changed! In fact, “when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31, CSB).
When the two imprisoned missionaries prayed, God heard, and things changed! “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose” (Acts 16:25–26, CSB).
When Jonah, the runaway evangelist “prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish,” (Jonah 2:1, CSB) God heard, and things changed! (Yep, the fish ferried him to shore and then puked him out! It’s true! Really!)
And when Elijah prayed, God heard, and things changed! Remember?
During his twenty-two year reign as king of Israel, Ahab “did what was evil in the Lord’s sight more than all who were before him... Ahab did more to anger the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:29–33, CSB).
So, God sent a yet unknown prophet with news of devastating judgment. “Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord God of Israel lives, in whose presence I stand, there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command!’ ” (1 Kings 17:1, CSB).
When we read that Old Testament account, it appears that God unilaterally determined to act. But the inspired New Testament writer adds an undisclosed detail. In fact, God acted in response to Elijah’s prayer. “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months” (James 5:17, NKJV). When Elijah prayed, God heard, and things changed.
It is possible that God supernaturally appeared to Elijah, promising the extended drought. It is just as likely that the prophet believed what he read in the Bible. “Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain” (Deuteronomy 11:16–17, ESV). Regardless, Elijah boldly proclaimed God’s message.
Elijah was just a guy with no royal blood and without a bunch of initials behind his name... like us. But what makes Elijah a standout is his faithfulness to God and his willingness to pray bold prayers.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly” (James 5:16–17, NKJV).
I wonder... is God waiting for us to pray bold prayers?
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor