13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
The issue of prayer can be complicated. For many Christians we do not want to be needy or whiny towards God. We don’t want to be selfish or demanding either. Yet at the same time we can forget to go to God when we really do need Him. There is a balance there somewhere and each of us are tasked with finding the balance through our long walk with the Lord. Over time it will work itself out.
We must also have faith that God will be answering out prayers and that we are not just praying in vain. James tells us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” This tells us two things; first, that God answers prayer and second, that a person who walks in the ways of the Lord and honors Him will have a more effective prayer life. We can speculate on why this is so but I think the underlying principle is that those who are obedient to the Lord will have favor with Him, just as our own children find favor with us when they are obedient. The prophet Samuel said of obedience,
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
Prayer is the most powerful tool in the Christian life. It is our main form of communication with God and it is also a way to show that we are fully surrendering our burdens to Him. Furthermore it is an act of us exercising our faith in showing God that we trust Him to answer our needs. Any time we have a worry, fear, or joy in our life the appropriate response is a prayer for help or thankfulness.
This passage points out that even the most Spiritual of leaders came to God with an earnest prayer. No one is exempt from coming to God with needs and requests. In verse 17 we see the example of how Elijah who was a great prophet and leader, yet he prayed earnestly. Elijah’s deep relationship with God did not make Him above anyone else he still needed to come to God in prayer and present his requests before Him.
It takes a great act of faith to fully trust that God is hearing and listening to our prayers. It takes even more faith to believe that He will answer them. Trust that God is working in our life and that He does listen and answer. Recall all the times in which you have seen or heard about God answering prayer in our life or in the life of another. He is faithful, come to Him with an open heart and allow for Him to do wonders in our life. He is a God that can be trusted.