July 19, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Christine Li, was first posted on August 2, 2014.  Christine, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, serves as a deaconess at Remnant Church in Manhattan, New York.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Why Is Our Prayer So Weak and Ineffective?”

James 5:16b-17

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

sincerely-media-uoV8VwLbCxU-unsplashWhat is prayer to you? Is it a chore? Is it fruitless whispering? James reminds us that there is great power in prayer, such great power that an ordinary man could pray earnestly to God and it would stop raining for three and a half years.

Do you consider yourself to be a man “just like” Elijah? I know that I don’t, and I also give a lot of complicated excuses for why my prayer life is not like Elijah’s: “He was a chosen prophet and what he prayed was probably more in line with what God’s will was. He probably had more faith than I do, too. Also, it sounds a little prideful to consider myself ‘righteous.’” It is very easy to look at all these reasons and attribute the inefficacy of my prayer life to these reasons. But what ends up happening is that I also dull the desire to engage God in prayer.

In making prayer about ourselves or our abilities, we fail to see that it is a powerful activity that shows us more of God and His power. First, we know that in Christ, every believer is counted as righteous in standing with God. If that is true (and as believers, we do believe it to be true), then our prayers are powerful and effective!  Second, let’s not neglect the idea that Elijah was “just like us,” and let’s really trust that Elijah’s life could seem not too far off a reality from each Christian’s life because the power that filled him is the same power that we have access to. In fact, we have more than just “access” to it: this Spirit resides in us (Romans 8:11)!

Do you think yourself unworthy to pray for your church, your pastor, or others? I hope that here, with James’ reminder, we will not only readjust our attitude towards prayer, but that we will act on it and begin to seek God in prayer even more actively. As He answers our prayers, He will show us even more of His power!

Prayer: Dear LORD, thank You not just for new life but for also making us righteous. We don’t always understand what implications it has for our life, but for now, please change our attitudes about prayer. Every day, LORD, teach us how to pray with faith, really trusting in the new nature You gave us and the free access we have to approach Your throne.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 12

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