Praying Like Elijah

I am praying like Elijah for you!

A sister told me this once when I asked for prayer. I knew exactly what she meant.

The effective prayer of a righteous person will accomplish much. For Elijah was a man with a nature just like you and me and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and the rain stopped for three years and six months. Then Elijah prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.  James 5:16-18

There is never a hopeless situation if someone prays like Elijah!

James (the Lord’s brother), author of the Book of James, didn’t throw out this promise without first using the word “righteous.” Only a righteous person can pray like Elijah.  What does “righteous” mean? I recently heard a man in a movie say, “I did some bad and I did some good; I reckon that I will be okay when I see the Lord.”

Uhhhoohhh. The word “righteous” means “approved by God.” He determines what is good and bad and He already tells us that none of us are good (Romans 3:23).

If none are righteous, how can we pray like Elijah? James considered the “how” also since he was a sinner. Yet he prayed like Elijah, so he further explains:

And the prayer of faith will totally heal the one who is sick.  James 5:15

There is a certain nuance in the Greek for “prayer of faith” that indicates a sophistication, not of religion but of relationship, in praying. There are saints, like the sister who told me that she would “pray like Elijah”, who have a faith born from hours on their knees.

Two examples of “prayer of faith” saints:

My mother. She would pray regularly on her knees in her bedroom. When I was living like a pagan during my high school years, I used the bathroom in our house to get ready for a night out. I then had to walk past her bedroom to leave the house.  She would leave the door open and I would see her praying on her knees.

James, the Lord’s brother, had a nickname of “old camel knees” referring to thick calluses on his knees that came from praying.

Two examples of “effective prayers” by the “prayer of faith”:

My mother praying for me. Consider my last 49 years… my mother’s prayers?

James focused his prayers on the nation of Israel. He refused to denounce Christ and was thrown off the pinnacle of the temple. Soon after his martyrdom, the Roman general Titus came and burned Jerusalem. With James (the effective/faith intercessor for Israel) killed, the prayer covering was gone, and all Israel was destroyed!

I’m adding a new phrase this year when someone asks me to pray for them. I will say, “I’m praying like Elijah for you!”

I have confidence. I have a nature like Elijah; also, my mother, that sister who first told me that she would pray like Elijah, and all great intercessors. My nature is determined by the grace of Jesus, but my effectiveness in praying can increase through time on my knees.

This year, our country’s needs, stopping rain, raising the dead, healing the sick, salvation to many, and loving unity – all need effective prayers of faith. You and I can do this!

For other Interruptions on the Book of James look up 

#200, #206, #219, #224, #230, & #241 at

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