We've been together for 38 weeks now, studying the lives of John the Baptist and Elijah. Thanks so much for reading along in studying their dramatic lives. Hopefully their courage and faith has been as encouraging to you as it has been to me.
This is our last experience with Elijah. He’s lived a life that left a legacy of faithfulness for us to follow. His intimate walk with God has become a guide for us of what to do when God asks the nearly impossible of us. We are to turn to God and let His strength accomplish the work through us.
James found encouragement in Elijah’s story as well. James is calling his readers to be prayer warriors. He himself has seen his prayers answered and wants to encourage his followers to also live lives of prayer and intimacy with God.
It’s the answer to all that ails you…
You’re suffering? Pray.
You’re happy? Praise.
You’re sick? Call others to prayer over you.
You’re sinful? Pray for forgiveness.
God’s promise through James is that the effective prayer of the righteous can accomplish more than we can imagine.
And here is where James recalls Elijah’s prayer life. Remember a while back when we studied Elijah on the mountain begging God for rain? He has just finished with the Baal worshippers begging their god to answer them. Elijah prays and God answers immediately. He knows His God is listening. He is begging God to break the drought that has come. Deep in prayer, he sent his servant to look to the sky and after several attempts, he finally sees a cloud the size of a man’s hand. Not much to go on, yet Elijah believed God was answering his prayer. He had seen God do it before, he was confident God would show Himself now.
And He did. The rain came. Elijah’s prayer was answered. When I was reading James, I thought sure he would have some nice wrap up about prayer in his passage, but I found no such thing. He did not need to. His point to make was that prayer is worth it because God is listening. What great point did he need to make outside of a story where a man of great faith prayed and God was listening?!
God is listening to you. He is hearing your prayers. He is delighted in every step you take in the direction towards Him. We have covered a lot of ground in our study of John the Baptist and Elijah. We looked at their history and their legacy. We have talked about how their faithfulness becomes an example for our own faithfulness. We have seen God answer prayers, love them well, give them courage, and perform miracles.
The question now becomes, how are you going to let the stories of God through these two men transform your life?
Take some time to look back through our notes together and recall the stories that inspired, challenged, and touched you. Now ask the Spirit to transform your heart through His power. Not your power, the Spirit’s.
Thanks for joining me on this journey. I’ve enjoyed every second.