Elijah was human, just like us. He ate food. He worked. He bathed. He did chores. He had responsibilities, and emotional highs and lows. He sinned. He wasn’t perfect. He was made of skin and bones, having a nature like us. Yet, he was a man who sought after God.
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” James 5:17-18
The reason James mentions the name of Elijah is not so we can elevate Elijah to some supreme, super hip, ultra status. Elijah is mentioned to remind us that he was human too. And he prayed fervently. And God heard and answered his prayers.
How would you describe you current prayer life? Any chance the word fervent comes to mind?
Mr. Webster defines the word fervent as “having or displaying a passionate intensity.” In other words, it is something that I am serious about. It is something that in my heartest of hearts, I deeply desire.
That is much easier said than done.
I may want to be a girl who prays fervent prayers,
But there is a wrestling match going on in my head.
Even though I want my focus to be on Jesus, there are thoughts racing through my mind. Chores to be done. Errands to run. Kids to be fed and hurried out the door. And anxious thoughts twirling all about. If I’m going to be a girl who is serious about prayer, then I need to be radically changed.
What if we start here…admitting that we need God’s help? Telling God that we are desperate for Him.
In Jesus’ very first sermon, he reminds us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). It is actually a blessing to be dependent on God. When we change our perspective and see God as our source, we suddenly realize the necessity of prayer. When we see that we are nothing without Him, our eyes are opened to our great need.
We all fall short. We all sin. Unbelief comes knocking at our door. At its core, every sin reveals something that we do not wholeheartedly believe about God. And despite our shortcomings, we serve a gracious God with a bold promise. “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16a).
Confess your sins.
Pray for one another.
You will be healed.
We are ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God. May He be the focal point of our prayers. May we see confession as a priority in order to get over our ultra ego…and to realign our focus on God. More often than not, the problem is not that we think too little of ourselves, the problem is that we think too much.
“The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”
― Timothy J. Keller, The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness
Confession is a necessity because it helps us see our great need for God. Without needs in our lives, we would become self-sufficient, ignoring our need for a Savior. God has provided needs in our lives as entry points into our lives. Go ahead…admit that you need help.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
How has confession been good for you? What sin has it revealed? How has it drawn you closer to God?
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