Power in passionate prayer (Prayer day 22)

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.

Scripture

James 5:17-18

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

  1. 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?
  2. 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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  1. 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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Prayer 3 – God’s purpose: Prayer’s desire

The aim of this devotional study is to discover and/remember God’s promise for your life.

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Scripture

1 Kings 18:1-2, 41-45

 

1 And it came to pass after many days that the Word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.”  2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria.

(For the purpose of this devotional we now skip to verse 41 BUT if time permits do read the verses in between too. Not only do the account of Elijah and the Baal prophets make for wonderful entertainment but it serves as another example of someone praying to have God’s purpose met.)

41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of mount Carmel; then he bowed on the ground and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now and look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising from the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’”  45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.

 Observations & Context

 Ahab was the 7th and worst king Israel had. His marriage to Jezebel, a zealous Baal worshipper, led to the official endorsement of this immoral and idolatrous worship. Three years prior to this account Elijah told Ahab that there would be a drought until further notice. When the drought came Ahab blamed Elijah for the trouble and searched for him fervently.

This piece of scripture clearly shows us how God desires that His plans and purposes be prayed into being.

 Reflections

  1. God sends Elijah to Ahab, a potentially dangerous mission. Why was Elijah not afraid to go?
  2. Elijah had a promise of rain from God, yet he prayed for its fulfillment. What does that teach us about God’s promises for us?
  3. What posture of prayer did Elijah take up throughout his intercession? What prayer posture do you take up when you pray?
  4. Elijah prayed for rain because of God’s promise and yet six times the report from his servant was negative. What does that teach us about praying?
  5. Elijah announces the answer to his prayer even before he started praying.  What did it take from him to do that?  (Hint: James 5: 15-18)

Personal Application

  1. The promises of God come to us through His written word or through personal revelation through the Holy Spirit, such as prophesy or dreams.  Take some time to think back upon promises you have received from God.  Write these promises down again.
  2. Which of these have come into fulfillment? Praise God for His faithfulness to perform His purpose in your life.
  3. Which of these promises are you still waiting to see fulfilled. Have you lost faith in them ever being realized? How often do you pray about these promises?
  4. Repent of not believing God’s word for you and ask Him to restore your faith. Then start to pray fervently for God’s purpose in your life to be fulfilled. [Commit to do this for a season, as Elijah prayed seven times until the rains came].

[Thanks to Ester Venter for this devotional study, part of her series on Prayer].