One of the most destructive lies parents model to children is that we must be “decent” and inhibited in the presence of God. Once we suppress our joy and passion, our prayers are without life and power.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (in reference to 1 Kings 18)
Observations and reflections
- James teaches us much about prayer here. What do you understand about prayer that is (a) effective, (b) fervent, (c) righteous man, and (d) avails much?
- James writes that “Elijah was a man with a nature like us”.
- What does that imply about Elijah’s earthly life? What was his limitations?
- What does that imply of what is possible for us? What is possible for us?
- What should we learn from Elijah, according to these verses? (hint: look for the repeated F-word in verses 17 and 18)
Personal reflection and Application
God does not regard empty words – he responds to our hearts. Passionate prayer is powerful, because fervency unlocks the faith that moves us, then the mountains respond.
Talk to God about today’s lesson from James.
- Would you describe your prayers as “passionate” or “fervent”? Why/why not? When you read “fervent prayer”, what image does that conjure up? How do you feel about that image, and why?
- Recall an instance where you were infuriated about seeing / hearing of/ reading about a gross abuse or injustice. Tell God about the situation and the feelings. Allow yourself to relive that event, to feel those emotions. Now pray about that event with passion as the Spirit leads you.
- Note your feelings, your freedom, your faith in prayer.
- Pick one current situation you are passionate about, such as a relational or family situation close to home | A business or project you dream about | Someone’s health or healing | A work situation | Art or music | The drought | The political situation | A specific justice issue like human trafficking, poverty, malnourished children, etc | The persecuted church or advancing Islamic militarism…
Express your thoughts, feelings and desires to God about this, and allow your passion to be known.
- Ask God what you wish him to do – but ASK BIG and BOLD! (“Is anything too hard for God?” Jeremiah 32:27)
- Again, note your feelings, your freedom, your faith. Now ask God to fire up your fervency – to stir your passion in your prayers.
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