“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”
Droughts happen when there is not enough rain for a long period of time, it’s not like a “dry spell” where there is little precipitation when a region of land starts to dry out, a drought occurs over a period of time to develop fully and is very difficult to predict.
A drought is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply whether atmospheric, surface water or ground water.
A drought can last for months or years, or may be declared after as few as 15 days.
During a drought rivers would dry up, crops would fail and green and pleasant land would start to look pretty desperate. In fact after just a year without rain, desert conditions would start to occur. … If there would ever be no rain for few decades, all water will keep vaporizing, and ultimately, there will be no water left on earth.
There is a similar phenomenon in we as believers in our spiritual walks when we hear someone say that they are “spiritually dry,”
We may even hear them define it as feeling distant from God or and struggling to grow spiritually, that they don’t see God working in their lives and they begin to feel discouraged, as if they are searching for God “in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1.)
This could be a time of spiritual dryness.
God sometimes allows us to reach a low point before intervening in a powerful way, and the time just before that intervention can feel spiritually dry.
The Israelite’s trapped by the Red Sea are a good example (Exodus 14). The people were caught between Pharaoh’s army and the sea. There seemed to be no escape, and yet it was during this time God chose to intervene with a miracle that is still talked about thousands of years later: He divided the sea to allow the Israelite’s to escape on dry land!
Israel had gone more than three years without rain as judgement for their idolatry, God also sent the prophet Elijah to confront king Ahab to challenge him to a spiritual showdown. This would be the culmination of Elijah’s ministry, where the miraculous fire from heaven consuming the offering was an answer to the prayer from Elijah.
God’s used the time of the drought to turn the hearts of His people back to Himself, to get their attention. No one who witnessed it doubted that the Lord was God. What followed was absolutely amazing because the Israelite’s repented and then, God opened the heavens with rain feat the land would drink the and come back to life.
James in the New Testament would later teach us that, “the effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) and he used Elijah’s prayer as a life lesson for all of us, especially for those who pray.
“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.”
Elijah’s life was amazing :
Ravens brought him food
God used a widow to provide bread for him in Baal’s territory.
Elijah prays and God raises the widow’s son from the dead.
Elijah wins a showdown against the prophets of Baal at Carmel.
Elijah calls down Fire from heaven; and strikes down 450 false prophets.
Elijah becomes a distance runner running seventeen miles from Carmel down to Jezreel, outrunning horses and chariots.
Elijah was like Moses whom he later appeared with at the Transfiguration of Jesus.
Like Moses, Elijah went eastward for a season, after an initial confrontation.
Like Moses, Elijah lived on God’s provision of bread, meat, and water (Exodus 16).
Elijah was also like John the Baptist, whom he is associated with in the New Testament.
(Malachi 4:5 -Luke 1:17).
Elijah is a mega prophet, whose coming was to “make a straight path” for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
And yet, In many ways, Elijah is NOT like you or me….
On the other hand, in the New Testament James makes an amazing statement when he says that Elijah was a “man….like us.”
Us? ….. Yes. because even though Elijah does hold a unique place in the redemption history, James focused on the fact that every believer can have an……effective prayer life…just like Elijah.
Now before you start scrolling, stay with me on this thread…
James also wrote that the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much.”
How easily we can miss the main ingredient in effective prayer….
I think what James is encouraging us in a nutshell is to pray because prayer is effective.
He’s not asking us to concern ourselves is how prayer is made effective, but that prayer is effective. Prayer is effective not because of great men or women who pray, but because of who we pray to, He is a great God who graciously, loving and hears His people. We pray as ordinary people who come to an extraordinary God.
“Effectual fervent” is one word in the Greek (energeo) that means, “energizing”….. to have great power as it is working.
The kind of person praying an “energizing” prayer is assumed to be “righteous” both standing before God through faith in Jesus Christ, having left no un-confessed of his own.
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 earth. (James 5:16-17)
Elijah grew up unnoticeable (like many of us), and yet God chose him out of obscurity in order to confront apostasy publicly as the hearts of the nation were waning, they were in the middle of an identity crisis, not only couldn’t they know who they were but sadly all the people’s outside the faith couldn’t recognize them, they began to look like the world.
There used to be a song called, “These are the days of Elijah” and I do think the days we are living in are a lot like his days.
Elijah lived in a day, where people call evil “good” and good “evil.” You don’t have to go far on Facebook to see all the fake news, evil under-girded by twisted theology.
The people under Ahab’s reign wanted a little bit of everything — a little goddess worship, a little Baal worship, a little Yahweh worship, and throw in some male cult prostitution. Worship exclusive of God was absent in most places.
We live in a similar time, in which people worship a little bit of everything, but not the living God exclusively — a little God, a little horoscope, a little pop psychology, a few conspiracy theories, aliens, New Age, naturalism, humanism and much more.
And then comes the Drought Prayer as James describes the context found in 1 Kings 17–18. Appearing out of nowhere, Elijah speaks to King Ahab boldly:
“As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by My word.”
Drought was coming because of the people’s idolatry.
Although 1 Kings 17 never says Elijah prayed for a drought, we do find Elijah pictured in prayer in 1 Kings 18:42 for the drought to end.
I think the prayers of Eljiah preceded his proclamation to Ahab. Elijah had been before God in his prayer closet, before going before Ahab in the palace and because Elijah knew of the real King, before whom he stood, he did not fear standing before this mere mortal named Ahab.
What do we learn from Elijah’s prayer for this drought?
No doubt there are many lessons about faithfulness, persistently, and passion, all which I won’t go into in this post, but I want to underline one very important lesson.
Elijah taught us here to pray ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD. Elijah (respectively) simply claimed the promise of God’s word.
Why a drought ? It was because this came DIRECTLY from Scripture from Deuteronomy 11:16-17.
“Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land the Lord is giving you.”
Elijah KNEW his way around his Bible. He knew that the punishment for idolatry was famine. He could pray for a famine, and proclaim the certainty of the famine because God said it.
Elijah’s prayers were not rooted in his own imagination. Elijah wasn’t asking God to perform some neat tricks. Elijah was boldly asking God to act on His own word…….
For those of us who have seen the power of God move through prayer, you can take comfort that it’s okay to invoke God’s Word in your prayers and since ultimately by doing so we also are yielding to His sovereign will to operate, we can know with certainty that whatever or whoever we are praying for, that Romans 8:28 will become the ignition switch to answered prayer.
No doubt that Elijah is a model for those of us who love to see God’s omnipotent power unleashed whether visible or invisible.
We are living in evil days; and we need to be worshipping the Living God; praying according to God’s word.
Reading, praying, reading, praying, filling our prayers with the Word of God, and crying out to the Father to act for the good of others and the glory of His Name.
Elijah was like Moses.
Elijah was like John the Baptist.
Elijah is like us.…
There was someone else who knew what it was like to live on every Word that proceeded out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4).
Someone who was called out of obscurity to confront unbelief (John 1:46).
Someone who cared for the widow (Luke 7:11–17).
Someone who raised the dead (John 11:25).
Someone whose prayers were effectual (John 17).
Someone who also fasted forty days and forty nights.
There were some who thought Jesus was Elijah (Matthew 16), but Jesus was more than that.
Jesus, unlike Elijah, never sinned.
Jesus lived and died.
Jesus was raised from the dead, and is now interceding for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).
God has made a way for us to overcome spiritual dryness through prayer.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
Jesus taught in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 18:1).
Jesus promised, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
Living water from our Lord is a sure cure for spiritual dryness.
Yes, Elijah prayed. Yes, we should have a prayer life like Elijah. But what saves us is Jesus’s finished work, and what sustains us now is His prayer life, Jesus standing in the gap for you…. there is no better duty in life than to know at days end that we can have an impact on someone’s life by praying for them and knowing that our prayers bring hope and inspire more to become fervent warriors for Christ, like Elijah becoming runners for God running running boldly before the throne of God…..”to receive mercy and help, in a time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)