Learning To Pray First

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. James 5:17-18 (NKJV)

As unfortunate as it may sound prayer can be a last resort to many Christians.  Often times every other resource is leveraged before seeking our Lord for his help and His perfect will for what we are facing. Some people have always relied upon their own abilities to get themselves through every trial, while others may not choose to pray until it is a last resort, because they don’t feel their prayers have any real power.  

In the Book of James we can see two verses to correct any such thinking — verses to give hope to every Christian man and woman with respect to having a powerful prayer life. We are told that, 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 (James. 5: 17-18). 

When we think of Elijah we would naturally think of a mighty man of God — after all he had been used by God to bring a child back to life.  And then there was the time where he went head-to-head with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, to show them the true God (1 Kings 18:19–29).  But James tells us, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours” (Jas. 5:17).

What James was clearly implying was, Elijah was just as fallible as you and me.  He could be strong in his faith one moment, and then completely be defeated in fear the next moment.  For example, after defeating these 850 false prophets, he then ran and hid in a cave — he suddenly doubted God’s protection and began to fear for his own safety.  I think we can all tend to doubt when we look at things through our own limited abilities and understanding rather than thinking about how powerful God is (cf. Prov. 3:5-7).

I believe God wants every one of us to be used in amazing ways.  I believe He uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things, and prayer is the way we commune with all-powerful God — it is the tool He has given us to come in agreement with His perfect will and to access His tremendous power. When we pray, we are to put our faith in Him alone to accomplish His perfect will — we are simply coming in agreement with Him.  As we do this we can be assured we will see answered prayers. 

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these things today.  Choose to seek the Lord’s will to be done when you petition Him in prayer, and choose to trust Him completely.  Don’t wait until you’re out of resources or ability before seeking God for His will and help.  Pray first!

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures in this devotional, what can we learn about our prayers to God?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you asking for God’s will to be done in every prayer?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Choose to use prayer as your first resource for everything. 

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, thank You for allowing me to come boldly before You through prayer.  Thank You for reminding me about this important principle today.  Help me to know what I am to pray for as I face the day.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


Blessings upon your day, Scott



Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000