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Sunday, December 11, 2016
Serving God with Our Prayers - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotional 11 December Sunday
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 nlt
God often chooses to move through our prayers to accomplish His work. We see this when God told the prophet Elijah, “I will send rain on the land,” promising to end a drought in Israel that had lasted three and a half years (James 5:17). Even though God had promised rain, a short time later “Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees”—praying intently for the rain to come (1 Kings 18:42). Then, while he continued to pray, Elijah sent his servant to go and look out over the ocean “seven times,” scanning the horizon for any sign of rain (v. 43).
Elijah understood that God wants us to join in His work through humble, persistent prayer. Regardless of our human limitations, God may choose to move through our praying in amazing ways. That’s why the letter of James tells us that “the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results,” all the while reminding us that “Elijah was as human as we are” (James 5:16–17 nlt).
Elijah was human just as we are, but God responded to his persistent prayer. We also see the idea of persistent prayer in the New Testament. To encourage Jesus’s disciples to persist and persevere in prayer, He told them two parables. In Luke 11:5–13, a host persistently knocked on his neighbor’s door until his friend gave him food for his guest (vv. 8–9). In Luke 18:1–8, the widow was dealing with an unjust judge who had no compassion or concern for her. But he gave in and consented to help her to stop her pestering! In both parables, perseverance bore fruit. The question is not if God will answer prayer, for He most certainly will (Luke 18:8). The question is whether we will be found faithful in persistent and persevering prayer (v. 8; Rom. 12:12).