James makes a startling statement that all believers are like Elijah. That means all believers are similar or equal standing to Elijah. In our mind, we always have hierarchy of spirituality about people. Some are considered as super-heroes or heroes or great personality or spiritual giants. Generally, Elijah is considered as spiritual colossal. However, James makes it clear that all believers have same privilege and access to pray to God like Elijah. There are four aspects to consider:
1) Praying person: Anyone who approaches God should do so in faith. (Hebrew 11:6) Prayer is always in the name of Lord Jesus Christ. (John 14:13) Asking without His exalted name is writing email without ‘To’ column or posting letter without receiver address. There is a misconception that God does not listen to sinners. (John 9:31) God hears sinners’ prayers when sinner repents, God listens to his/her prayer and gives forgiveness. Believers ought to pray according to God’s will. (I John 5:14)
2) Prayer: There is another misconception that ‘prayer brings victory.’ Prayer is a set of words articulated. If no one listens, and if God does not answer the words are empty worthless words. Again, prayer is not a mantra with which we can control or manipulate God to do our desires.
3) Beneficiary: Prayer has one or more beneficiaries. Sometimes, it is prayer only for self or close circle. It could be nuclear family or extended family, church, organizations, other believers, friends, unreached, society and nations. Indeed, it is a privilege that we can help others: individuals, families, institutions and nations, by interceding for them.
4) God: Prayers are meaningful because we know God hears our prayers. He is living God who acts in response to our prayers. As Sovereign God, He need not listen to prayers of wicked or evildoers. He can reject prayers which is against His will, righteousness and justice. God chooses to immediately answer in certain circumstances and delay in others. Please remember God answers prayers for His glory and not human glory.
Do I value the privilege of prayer?