Do you remember my story about praying for rain to come in and cool the temperatures down for the prayer meeting? It’s okay if you don’t; it was in the first blog I wrote back in August, if you want to go back and read it. But here is another powerful story about praying for rain that happened more recently.
This past summer, we were in drought conditions coupled with extreme heat across much of the United States. That combination equates to high energy bills, dying plants, and health problems related to the heat. One afternoon, my dad Jay West was so fed up with the lack of rain that he prayed something along these lines: “In the name of Jesus, I command it to rain today. Don’t storm; don’t bring hail, thunder, lightning, or damaging winds. Just rain steadily and soak the land.” After praying that prayer, he went and took a nap.
Meanwhile, I was downstairs working on an earlier message for this blog, when I noticed it began to get darker and darker. Soon, rain drops began to fall. At first, I thought, Oh, this won’t amount to much. There wasn’t even any rain in the forecast. But it began to rain harder and harder until we had a good steady rain for probably fifteen minutes. No severe weather—just a good downpour. After the rain had stopped, my dad woke up, looked outside, and was amazed to see moisture remnants all over the ground! Scattered rain showers had formed all over the area; some areas received rain that day, while others remained dry. We were blessed to be in one of those areas that received the rain! Praise the Lord!
James 5:17-18 says, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” In the previous blog, we talked about Elijah and his experience in praying for rain on top of Mount Carmel. I believe my dad had the faith of Elijah at that moment. I believe I had a similar faith when I prayed for rain before my prayer meeting. Like Elijah, we prayed for rain, and it rained.
And what were Elijah’s qualifications? The same as yours and mine: He was a man with a nature like ours. He wasn’t some special superhuman. But there were some qualifications beyond just being a man. We find those in the verse prior, James 5:16: “Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” In addition to being a human like us, I believe Elijah’s prayers for rain yielded results because his prayers were effective, fervent, and righteous. Those are the qualifications of a prayer that accomplishes much.
In the next couple weeks, we will examine those three qualifications in opposite order, starting with righteousness next week. Stay tuned!
When we read about characters in the Bible, we almost tend to think of them as fictional, superhuman characters. Because of this, we reason away why we cannot ever possibly do the things they did. But these were not fictional characters, and they were certainly not superhuman. In many cases, they had seriously blatant flaws. And yet they did great things for God.
The point is this: Don’t discount yourself from being able to do the impossible by the power of God. If God can use Elijah, Moses, David, Abraham, and Jacob, He can certainly use you and me as well. Next time you pray, make it a point to actually expect that what you are praying for will happen! You cannot think too big for God. You cannot pray too big for God. Just do it!